Cugel wrote:Look, my point is: knock yourself out with ebooks. I just don't believe they should attract the same sale price as an actual book. Just as a drawing of a set of multiplying billiard balls shouldn't have the same price as an actual set of 2 inch Fakinis.
The price should reflect the product. Of course, my opinion is irrelevant since supply and demand will be the true decider on the day - and there seems to be a lot of super-heated demand from minute to minute on the forums, so I'm confident that ebooks are a lucrative line for some folks.
Our particular line of e-Books are lucrative for only one person... the author. This is a shocking revelation for some of you, but the person who actually has an original magic idea and sits down and does all the work of writing it up, taking photographs, drawing diagrams and otherwise explaining how to perform his effect, gets diddly for all this work if it goes into a paper publication.
I don't know how much Richard is paying his Genii authors these days, but most magic magazines pay nothing but "prestige" for the privledge of sending them fully developed articles. Try to feed your kids on prestige sandwiches sometime. The magazine publisher is able to charge a relatively low price per copy only because he sells lots of advertisement space to pay the costs of layout, printing, delivery and so on.
For those who author print books, the price of each book has to be shared with the publisher (who rightly deserves his or her share, having put forth the front money to have the book laid out, printed, and distributed), the magic dealers who sell the books (who rightly deserve their share because they take a chance on stocking a book that it will actually sell the number of copies they have to buy). However, the author in those cases usually gets a flat fee up front, and turns over all rights to the publisher to "have his way with them." So the author makes some money at the start, but gets zero on all subsequent resales, trading, etc.even if his book sells for hundreds of dollars as a "rare book" on e-Bay.
This thread is about MagicBob and his first e-Book, "I Hate Card Tricks!" so let's get back to that topic.
When Magicbob sells a single chapter of his e-Book, he receives $5.00 (less the small fee that PayPal charges for credit card processing). Have you seen the amount of writing, photos, diagrams and references that goes into a single MagicBob chapter? No, of course you haven't and probably never will; I forgot. But any actual purchaser can assure you that it is a scholarly effort and well worth $5. Because MagicBob chose to publish it at The Magic Nook, he receives the entire amount paid for the e-Book directly into his own PayPal account.
I know, that's a shocking and revolutionary thought, but we, as publishers, although we contribute to Magicbob's efforts through editing and proofreading (as well as nagging, pleading, bargaining, midnight instant messageing, etc.) receive nothing from the transaction. MagicBob gets it all. Hurray for the author... he actually wins this time and his kids can eat peanut butter with prestige on the side!
Let's talk about that $5.00. Back when I was a yonker, a prestigeous Magic Society determined that all magic secrets should not be sold for anything less than $2.00. This was to keep secrets out of the hands of the riff raff curious public. When I first started publishing the on-line Wizards' Journals in 2003, I based the price of the Journal on that old concept: each journal contained 10 effects (actually 11 in most cases) and sold for $20.00, or $2.00 for each secret. I figured times had changed since I was a yonker, and so I sold individual secrets from the Journals for $3.00.
By 2005, I seriously considered closing down the Nook because I wasn't making enough from sales of my own secrets to buy bread, let alone peanut butter. However, Jim Gerrish had convinced me to sell HIS PVC Pipe Illusions e-Book for $5.00 per chapter and he was sharing his peanut butter with me, occasionally bringing over a jar of jam. That convinced me that the world had changed since the old $2.00 secret days, so in 2006, I brought up the price of everything to reflect the new reality.
Everyone on forums keeps talking about how e-books are free and the Internet is free, but that's hogwash unless you live with your parents or do business from the public library's computers charging everything to your parents or to the taxpayers.
If you want me to keep churning out secrets, you have to pay to keep me and my computer alive, so I raised the price of my individual secrets to $5.00, with a discount for quantity - 10 effects for $40. Magicbob got in on the tail end of that decision, so that's why some early fans of his remember paying less for his e-Books back in 'da day.
MagicBob has figured out that he can offer deeper discounts to those who pre-order his e-Books, so his latest deal works out to $3.50 per secret if you buy 7 chapters of his newest e-Book ("I STILL Hate Card Tricks!"). Pre-orders will get the last 3 chapters for free, making the total $35 instead of $40. That will last only until midnight of the day he writes the last chapter, which is coming up fast.
In the OLD Genii published by the Larsens, Pete Biro had a column called "The Reel Works." Under his by-line was always included this statement:
"If the reel doesn't work you're in trouble. The following is dedicated to those who think. A close friend of mine recently said, 'There are about twenty people thinking for all the rest of magic.' Many of those twenty will contribute to this column."
I think there have always been a lot more than twenty people thinking and inventing magic, but Pete's point was that it's a small number compared to those who benefit from their thoughts and inventions. It's time that those who choose to share their thoughts in writing, we call them magic authors, get paid for doing so. At least, that's how we, at The Magic Nook, feel about it.