How many Magicbooks are available?

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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/06/04 01:30 PM

Hello,

I was talking today with a magician friend and we were wondering how many magicbooks are available?Any idea where we can find this information?

I am curious to know how many books were written about magic till today...

Anyone?

Jacky
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/06/04 01:32 PM

Byron Walker might have the largest library.
Not sure how many books, though, perhaps 8,000?
If you include books written for the public, then the number would probably be larger.
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/06/04 02:06 PM

Thanks Richard!

We were guessing about 6000-7000 ... so we were not far!

I think Gary Darwin has about 7000 books, no?

All the best!

Jacky
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Postby CHRIS » 08/06/04 03:44 PM

I think you are both off by a factor of two. I think it is above 10,000 books. Then it is also a question of what you call 'a book'. Do you count booklets? Where is the boundary between a book and a booklet? Do you consider only English books or other languages, too? What about magazines and journals?

I think if do include all of these you easily get above 15,000 or more.

Just for the fun of it. If we assume 10,000 magic books, then Lybrary.com has preserved almost 2% in electronic form :-)

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Postby magicam » 08/06/04 06:43 PM

This is a fun topic for a bibliophile...

Chris W. has hit on the core of the question if one wants to estimate the number of books.

Let's assume a "book" means a book in English primarily devoted to magic, be it for us magi or the general public, be it hardbound or softbound. Let's also assume that a "book" includes pamphlets, but excludes so-called pitchbooks and periodicals. And finally, let's assume that we count each edition and variant imprint (a variant imprint, for example, might be the UK edition of Houdini's Unmasking versus the US imprint, and don't forget that many of the old and rare magic chapbooks from the early 19th century had slight variations in the name of the printer/publisher, as partnerships in those days varied often year by year), but exclude simple variations like cloth or paper color binding.

My guess is that there are at least 20,000 - perhaps 25,000 - books out there on magic. Sounds like a lot, but think about it: just for Robert-Houdin's autobiography, you could probably count 30 books by the simple guidelines set forth above. And what about the 20+ editions of Hoffmann's Modern Magic, etc.?

If we went by "unique" titles (i.e., we did not count every edition or variant imprint), Richard's guess might be close to the mark.

If we counted periodicals, take the number to 25,000 plus titles.

Just my ruminations.
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Postby Danny Archer » 08/06/04 09:12 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Jacky Kahan:

I am curious to know how many books were written about magic till today...

Anyone?

There are exactly 13,528 magic books ... no make that 13,529 (Jay Sankey wrote a new book as I typed the last sentence) ...
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Postby Nicholas Carifo » 08/06/04 11:34 PM

Interesting Question...

About 15 years ago I heard a statistic on this subject that has always stuck with me, however I have no way of verifying the info. If anyone here can verify it I'd be interested in knowing more...

If memory serves, I "think" that statistic was given by magic collector Ken Klosterman during a magic club trip I attended with other magi to his home to view his "underground" magic collection in Ohio about 1990 -- however i can't be certain my memory of the source is correct.


In any case....to paraphrase the trivia that stuck with me to this day:

"according to the U.S. Library of Congress, there have been more books written and published on the subject of MAGIC (in all of it's forms ala legerdemain, psychics, occult, witchcraft, etc) than any other general subject except for one: Medicine."

I would love to know more about this, if it can be verified by someone in the know at the Library of Congress, etc. If it is accurate, we also have to take into account the plethora of magic community publications that are self-published and sold without ever being registered with the library of congress. Very interesting if true.

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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/06/04 11:59 PM

Excellent!
thanks all for your replies!
I would consider everything expept magazines.
That is = Books, booklets AND lecture notes.
I would even consider small booklets describing a routine.

Would this consideration change the +/-8000 ?

cheers
Jacky

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Postby Joe Pecore » 08/07/04 06:20 AM

Just an FYI, the library of congress does have an online catalog at: http://www.loc.gov/
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Postby magicam » 08/07/04 08:55 AM

20,000- 25,000 titles - i'm stickin' to it until somebody proves me wrong :D
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/07/04 09:48 AM

Magicam!
Let's hope you are not wrong... :)

Also we might prove it in a few months when the magicbooks site will be complete :) (yes, let me dream)

We need all the help possible to update this Book project!

(Today we have more than 800 books/lecture notes available for research and growing every day...)

all the best

Jacky
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If 20 people would upload only 1 ToC a day (takes about 3 minutes), we would have 140 books more per week for extra research...
So... ;)
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/07/04 10:47 AM

One thing... many books (on magic) are printed in very small quantities... not that that means anything...
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/07/04 10:51 AM

You're right Pete!

That's why it's important to know about the existence of some rare books... at least that's what I believe...

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Postby magicam » 08/07/04 03:15 PM

Jacky: for what it's worth, a very large number of the truly rare conjuring books (i.e., antiquarian books) do not have tables of contents. In particular, the overwhelming majority of the hundreds of rare chapbooks from the early 19th century do not have tables of contents.

In connection with what Pete Biro wrote (re short print runs), I spoke with a friend who is fairly knowledgeable on lecture notes, and he told me that he wouldn't be surprised if there are 4,000-5,000 lecture note titles alone - surprising to me, but lecture notes are not my thing.

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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/07/04 03:24 PM

Magicam,

I know that lot's of old books have no table of content.. that's why... we create them... so we can make research... there are already about 40 books/boolets that lack a table of content, that was submitted on magicbooks.be

all the best!

Jacky
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Postby Bob Kentner » 08/07/04 09:11 PM

Originally posted by Magicam:
20,000- 25,000 titles - i'm stickin' to it until somebody proves me wrong :D
I'm going to need a bigger room for my library. Not to mention a bigger paycheck to buy it.
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Postby magicam » 08/08/04 01:03 AM

Jacky Kahan wrote: "I know that lot's of old books have no table of content.. that's why... we create them... so we can make research..."

Jacky, I misunderstood that part of your web project, in which case I dare say the ambitiousness of the project surely equals its merits. In all sincerity, power to your project!

But when you wrote that it only takes about 3 minutes to upload 1 table of contents, IMHO, those books lacking a table of contents would surely take much longer to document and upload, no?

The idea of uploading a ToC for a book which does not have a ToC also raises the question of accuracy (the old "garbage in, garbage out" problem that plagues all researchers), and even, perhaps, the subjectivity of the compiler/"uploader." For it seems to me that scanning in and uploading an existing ToC from a book is a far different animal than compiling a ToC from scratch. I believe in a private e-mail you indicated that people would be double and perhaps triple checking the uploaded work? If thats the case, not only does this raise issues of time intensiveness for the quality control folks, but in the case of rare books, it seems to assume that those who are doing the double-checking either own such rare books or have ready access to them. This could be a problem.

I'm not trying to throw cold water on the project - far from it. Rather, because I perceive that you are serious about providing a useful reference tool for researchers and magicians, IMHO I believe these are issues/problems to consider.

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Postby magicam » 08/08/04 01:15 AM

Bob:

If you follow Byron Walker's lead, your home serves as the library - the only places books are not located are the bathrooms (water and steam wreak havoc on books, which is a shame for if there's only one place in a house a book is needed it must be the john!). My guess is that Byron has about 1200-1500 books in his smallish dining room alone. Definitely food for thought... :D

Or you could do what I'm doing in my modest digs, and that is line up bookcases along all three walls (covering a window), with bookcases in the closet and a center row of back-to-back bookcases - thus creating a cave-like atmosphere. Which is why I give miner's hats to my visitors. :eek:

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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/08/04 01:31 AM

Clay,

You are right,
But when you wrote that it only takes about 3 minutes to upload 1 table of contents, IMHO, those books lacking a table of contents would surely take much longer to document and upload, no?
Of course, books that have a Toc takes really few minutes.
For instance, I've scanned last week a book with about 10 pages of 'Toc's and it took me less than 10 minutes all in all , scanning , editing and uploading ! (a good OCR package of course)

You are right that it will not take 3 minutes to upload a "created" Toc, but... many booklets or old books have very few chapters...and Titles.. And if it takes time... we will be patient! :)

Now, on the other hand you are also right regarding the "accuracy" of the contents... That's exactly why i chose a Forum based tool, so people can give their comments and correct mistakes...Since the begining of the MagicBooks.be project, i receive at least 2/3 emails per week regarding updates, corrections and so on... So i believe it really works..

at least I hope it will! :)
I'm not trying to throw cold water on the project - far from it
Don't worry, I like constructive critisim !

all the best!

Jacky
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Postby Bill Mullins » 08/09/04 09:12 PM

I'm not a bibliophile in any sense, but it is difficult for me to take something that can be made with a xerox and a stapler in ten minutes and call it a "book".
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Postby magicam » 08/09/04 11:36 PM

Bill:

By your post and in deciding what makes a book a "book," were you referring to how the "book" is made, how long it takes to make it, the quality/worthiness of the text, the length of the text, or some combination of the above?

Your brief comment raises some interesting issues (at least for me), depending on your answer.

I don't want to prejudice your answer (if you have the time to answer), but consider what printers and bookbinders might say about modern electronic printing on offset presses and perfect binding. Would they argue that modern books aren't "books" because it takes a comparative fraction of time to produce them nowadays? Also, many of us might be surprised to hear that the lines between true "printing" and super high quality copying are quite blurred at the moment (and will probably converge in the future), since copiers are so advanced nowadays that it's difficult to tell the difference between a printed book and one produced by a copier - at least for me.

Best wishes, Clay

P.S. If you like books, you qualify as a bibliophile.
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Postby Jacky Kahan » 08/10/04 12:36 AM

Yes indeed! very interesting !

Bill said :
I'm not a bibliophile in any sense, but it is difficult for me to take something that can be made with a xerox and a stapler in ten minutes and call it a "book".
I think that there is a lot of "crap" in many/few (depending on your level of perfection) of lecture notes. But if we want to keep track of references, this is the only way to start, collect all the information available. I agree that a few stapled pages do not make a book... that's why we call it Notes... But some notes have really good, interesting and knowledgable information.

And we did not speak about Ebooks...

At least that's my opinion :)

best,

Jacky
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Postby Ryan Matney » 08/10/04 08:49 PM

I'm more comfortable calling my recent offering a manuscript. Book carries more heft as a term for me.

But still, Fulves and others have offered some great books recently that were printed on a minimal budget.


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