"I Hate Card Tricks" by Magicbob

Talk about what is being written in other magic publications.

Postby Spellbinder » 03/03/08 11:23 PM

Magicbob missed his self-proclaimed deadline of Valentine's Day for finishing up his second book: "I STILL Hate Card Tricks." However, he has decided to release the seven effects that are complete and has a special discount for those who want to preorder the book. Book 2 contains some more stage illusion type card tricks, but also has some that do not follow the stage illusion theme.

So far, the list of new effects includes: The Origami Queen, In Over His Head, Royal Interlude, Jack B. Quick, The Fifth Beatle, Totally Blown Away, and Girls Gone Wild!
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Postby Alexander Crawford » 03/18/08 08:05 AM

Dear Spellbinder

I am sorry to have caused offence which was not intended. I was not panning the book and have neither reason nor capability to do so. I am sorry that misinterpretation of my message caused such a sarcastic response.

I was however expressing a strong view about the pricing policy which surprised me. I believe that with a different pricing policy the author could generate greater sales and greater interest in what may be a wonderful set of ideas. I am a relatively high spender on books and e-books and suspect I should fall squarely in your target marget. Unfortunately with the current pricing policy you have certainly lost one sale - my wife at least will thank you. Maybe others think differently and it is a run-away success.

Once again neither this message nor the previous one purported to review or comment on the quality of the e-books (other than the apparent speed of production, which could never be more than an indicator), but just on the pricing policy.

I wished the author well in my last post and I do so again. I trust that this will not be read as offensive - it is not meant to be, but perhaps the harsh background of the internet makes any subtleties in tone difficult.

With very best regards

Alexander
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/18/08 09:43 AM

Alexander Crawford is right: $40 for an e-book with 10 tricks is horribly expensive. He has no reason to apologize. Compare all of my books, properly printed, and the huge amount of tricks they contain, for a similar price.

Spellbinder's sarcastic response is out of line and frankly should serve as a warning to anyone who is thinking of buying Magic Bob's e-books!
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Postby Bob Farmer » 03/18/08 11:05 AM

I AM NOT MAGIC BOB! I AM NOT MAGIC BOB!
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Postby Cugel » 03/18/08 04:18 PM

Spellbinder wrote:Alexander: We are honored to receive your very first post on the new Genii Forum, panning a book you have never read and which you have no intention of ever reading.


We're not really talking about a book here, though, are we? I mean, this little monicker "ebook" is so much [censored]. What we're really talking about is forty bucks for an email from some kid who made up a few tricks. I don't care how snazzy the layout on your pdf is, it's never going to be a book until you print it on paper so people can pick it up and then read it. That's a book.

Ebooks. Meh.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 03/18/08 04:54 PM

Cugel wrote:We're not really talking about a book here, though, are we? I mean, this little monicker "ebook" is so much [censored]. What we're really talking about is forty bucks for an email from some kid who made up a few tricks. I don't care how snazzy the layout on your pdf is, it's never going to be a book until you print it on paper so people can pick it up and then read it. That's a book.

Ebooks. Meh.


Be careful about confusing the medium of conveying the information with the quality of the information itself. Unless you've seen the e-book (pdf, e-mail, whatever...) in question, it's probably best to avoid making statements about its quality (e.g., "...some kid who made up a few tricks.").

If you want to get into a discussion of the relative merits of "real" books vs. e-books, we've covered that ground pretty thoroughly in the past. But don't for one second assume that simply because an author chooses to transmit his information via electronic rather than physical means that the information is, therefore, less than desirable. I could give quite a few of counter examples, (e.g., Tom Baxter, Bill Kalush, Tom Stone, Chris Wasshuber).

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Postby Evan Shuster » 03/18/08 05:38 PM

I'm really sorry to see this thread take such an ugly turn. It would be an unfortunate mistake to confuse Spellbinder with Magicbob, and subsequently dismiss the clever and well produced pdfs included in this ebook. I stand by my original review of the items. Granted, I purchased the first "book" when it was selling for half the current price, but that didn't stop me from purchasing the sequel, as well. Like anything else, this is not for everyone, but if you enjoy the process of printing and cutting and gluing and playing then you will more than likely be quite satisfied with the material you receive.
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Postby Cugel » 03/19/08 02:29 AM

Jim Maloney wrote:
Cugel wrote:We're not really talking about a book here, though, are we? I mean, this little monicker "ebook" is so much [censored]. What we're really talking about is forty bucks for an email from some kid who made up a few tricks. I don't care how snazzy the layout on your pdf is, it's never going to be a book until you print it on paper so people can pick it up and then read it. That's a book.

Ebooks. Meh.


Be careful about confusing the medium of conveying the information with the quality of the information itself. Unless you've seen the e-book (pdf, e-mail, whatever...) in question, it's probably best to avoid making statements about its quality (e.g., "...some kid who made up a few tricks.").

If you want to get into a discussion of the relative merits of "real" books vs. e-books, we've covered that ground pretty thoroughly in the past. But don't for one second assume that simply because an author chooses to transmit his information via electronic rather than physical means that the information is, therefore, less than desirable. I could give quite a few of counter examples, (e.g., Tom Baxter, Bill Kalush, Tom Stone, Chris Wasshuber).

-Jim


You're right. Some good material can certainly be found in emails.

My complaint, and I will never waiver from this view, is that the price reflects what you'd pay for an actual book. But you don't get a book. Just the file that the printer uses to make the book. Some bits and bytes. Minus the book. No book. You see the distinction?

Selling an email for the price of an actual book is a terrific scam. Defending the practice by citing the quality of the tricks is hooey. If it's all about the tricks, then why publish books at all? Or paper magazines?

I know that one or two people have put out ebooks as an expedient to get credit and head off the fast-moving "credit drift" that plagues the internet. I can understand that. But at the end of the day if you don't print it and sell it as a book, you're just in it for a fast, low-overhead buck. We all like to make money but where have our standards gone?

The fact that many of these guys put out an email, sorry... ebook a few times every year or so is just an indication that they are churning out low-grade untested material and passing it off as something of a higher standard. It used to be the case that people published a book after developing material over a decade or more. Not anymore it would seem. Now we get magazine fodder for the price of a hardcover book.

But without the book. Did I mention the lack of a book issue?

Bah, humbug. Time for my nap and some cocoa Etc.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 03/19/08 10:11 AM

Cugel,
Let me reiterate: You're again making assumptions about the quality of the material simply based on the delivery method ("they are churning out low-grade untested material"), without having seen the product. You're also making assumptions about the motivations of the seller ("just in it for a fast, low-overhead buck").

I can understand your frustration about the pricing structure: after all, e-books are considerably cheaper to produce than a physical book. This is a valid complaint. However, your argument loses some strength when you get into speculations about quality and motivations. It also looses strength when you imply that the product is somehow less valid simply because it is not in a physical form.

If you want to complain about the pricing as it relates to the overhead, that's fine. The rest of your argument, however, betrays an obvious bias.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/19/08 11:16 AM

Cugel is someone who's been tossed off the Forum before for causing trouble, so I'm not surprised at his behavior here.
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Postby Jim Maloney » 03/19/08 11:42 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:Cugel is someone who's been tossed off the Forum before for causing trouble, so I'm not surprised at his behavior here.
I just took a look at his profile and realized who he is. Yeah, he's been kicked off before, but I don't think he's really causing trouble here -- just displaying an obvious prejudice against e-books.

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Postby Spellbinder » 03/20/08 12:18 AM

My earlier statement, while it may seem sarcastic to some, still stands because it is true. Those posting negative comments in this thread have never seen, and are not likely to ever see any of Magicbob's e-Books, or any other Magic Nook e-Books, for that matter.

The question of whether the e-Books are worth the asking prices can only be answered by those who have actually purchased them. I invite you to look around all the forums to which you belong... surely there must be some disgruntled customers by now (we've been in business for four years) rather than disgruntled non-customers who complain about prices they will never pay anyway.

Our regular customers usually complain the opposite way, that we charge too little for our e-Books and they are afraid the secrets will be accessable to every Tom, Dick and Harry Houdini. This thread should put their minds at ease.

My thanks to the few here who have not seen our e-Books, but who can still keep an open mind.
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Postby Cugel » 03/20/08 06:25 AM

Okay, maybe I was overly sarcastic. I can't help it. I'm a born bibliophile and I can't stand to see great material not recorded in a worthy format.

My apologies if I stirred folks up.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/20/08 08:03 PM

I can give you lots of reasons to hate e-books, and perhaps you will see why, as a publisher, I like them so much.

You can't legally resell, trade, or even give away an e-book; doing so always involves copyright infringement. However, a paper book can be resold, traded and given away as long as you don't involve a copy machine. The author receives nothing on such transactions and can't even haul you into court.

You can't hold and caress an e-book, dusting it off and arranging it neatly on a shelf. On the other hand, an e-book will never be affected by dust mites, mold, mildew, humidity, fire, floods or natural disasters short of the world coming to an end (I'm speaking of Magic Nook e-Books, of course, which can always be replaced to the original purchaser on record - I can't guarantee that other e-Book publishers will offer that warranty).

There will never be an old e-Book Antique store or seller in a cluttered shop where you can browse for hours, stealing secrets as you pretend to be looking the books over.

You will not be able to legally rent or freely borrow e-Books from public libraries without violating copyright laws.

Yes, there is much to despise about the e-Book. Long may they last!
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Postby Cugel » 03/20/08 08:28 PM

Spellbinder wrote:I can give you lots of reasons to hate e-books, and perhaps you will see why, as a publisher, I like them so much.

You can't legally resell, trade, or even give away an e-book; doing so always involves copyright infringement.


Good point.

However, a paper book can be resold, traded and given away as long as you don't involve a copy machine. The author receives nothing on such transactions and can't even haul you into court.


This is true of any book and has always been so. I'm okay with it. You can also sell your car or furniture and "not be hauled into court". It's a common law tradition and it works in Western democracies...

You can't hold and caress an e-book, dusting it off and arranging it neatly on a shelf. On the other hand, an e-book will never be affected by dust mites, mold, mildew, humidity, fire, floods or natural disasters short of the world coming to an end (I'm speaking of Magic Nook e-Books, of course, which can always be replaced to the original purchaser on record - I can't guarantee that other e-Book publishers will offer that warranty).


What if you drop dead and all your business records are lost? Your customers are screwed, I guess, if they suffer a loss of your file.

Horrible thought, but just as alarmist as your comments. Also, bear this in mind, every single ebook you sell can and will be hacked and cracked and ported by some scriptkiddie and hosted somewhere and shared with many more than would be the case if some person xeroxed a book, and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it. Thousands will have instant access. It's a fact. Indeed you can score ANY commercial DVD you want for free if you are an evil immoral type, within days of them being released commercially - just look for a torrent site.

It's easier to pirate and share a digital file than an actual book and to believe otherwise is naive. I think both activities are criminal, but I think it's less of a risk with an actual book and happens less frequently than people consider to be the case.

There will never be an old e-Book Antique store or seller in a cluttered shop where you can browse for hours, stealing secrets as you pretend to be looking the books over.


There doesn't need to be if you can have anything you want for free direct to your desktop in seconds. You don't have to leave the house.

In any case, your statement is an exaggeration. Most good magic books for low bucks in 2nd hand book stores don't sit around long enough for someone to read them.

You will not be able to legally rent or freely borrow e-Books from public libraries without violating copyright laws.


True, but see above re: torrent sites.

Yes, there is much to despise about the e-Book. Long may they last!


Indeed.

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.

No doubt this particular ebook has some great stuff. Shame it's not presented in a book, is all.

I'm out of here before I get struck by BBS lightning.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/20/08 11:14 PM

I don't know why you are under the impress you can't sell or give away an e-book. That's ridiculous. You can give away anything you purchase as a gift. You can also resell it to someone else.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 03/20/08 11:18 PM

Spellbinder wrote:You will not be able to legally rent or freely borrow e-Books from public libraries without violating copyright laws.
That's a load of [censored]. My local library (and I'm sure it's not the only one) does just that.

Legally.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/21/08 12:29 AM

I've bought a number of CD-ROM ebooks. It's completely legal for me to sell or transfer them away.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/21/08 08:33 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:I don't know why you are under the impress you can't sell or give away an e-book. That's ridiculous. You can give away anything you purchase as a gift. You can also resell it to someone else.


In all of my comments on e-Books, I am referring to Magic Nook e-Books, and the key word is "legally". None of our e-Books are sold on CDs, but are digitally delivered. Therefore, in order to transfer it to anyone else for sale or otherwise you have to make a COPY of it, which immediately infringes the RIGHT of the copyright holder. Public Libraries know this and deal only with a different type of e-Book. They would not stock or deal with ours.

An e-Book on a CD can be sold or traded without infringing this right, as long as it is the original CD being sold, and not a copy. I hope this clarifies several testy comments to my post from others that follow yours.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/21/08 08:53 AM

Cugel wrote:What if you drop dead and all your business records are lost? Your customers are screwed, I guess, if they suffer a loss of your file.

Horrible thought, but just as alarmist as your comments. Also, bear this in mind, every single ebook you sell can and will be hacked and cracked and ported by some scriptkiddie and hosted somewhere and shared with many more than would be the case if some person xeroxed a book, and there won't be a damn thing you can do about it. Thousands will have instant access. It's a fact. Indeed you can score ANY commercial DVD you want for free if you are an evil immoral type, within days of them being released commercially - just look for a torrent site.

It's easier to pirate and share a digital file than an actual book and to believe otherwise is naive. I think both activities are criminal, but I think it's less of a risk with an actual book and happens less frequently than people consider to be the case.



You make two points upon which I would like to respond, but I will do so in separate posts.

While I may drop dead, my business continues through my children and grandchildren who take possession of my copyright holdings as part of my estate. The system is easy. If someone claims to have lost a file I sold them, they can look up the purchaser's original e-mail order, and if it exists, they then send them the file without any further charges or fuss. I wonder if Richard would send me a new copy of an old Genii if it burned up in a fire? Somehow, I doubt it, but I have no problem with that because in his case, it would cost him actual money for a new printed copy and postage fees, etc. For me (or my heirs) it's just another e-mail to the same address from which the purchase originated.

Your hacked and cracked comments do indeed apply to video material on DVDs, but happily, I have decided to stay out of the DVD business and concentrate on magicians who can read and follow written directions. Because all my customers are magicians, not kiddies, that implies a certain ethical behavior when it comes to magic secrets, which is what I am selling. The DVD crowd has to look elsewhere. Thank you for your concern.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/21/08 09:58 AM

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.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/21/08 10:23 AM

Cugel wrote: 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.


One last point, and then I'll relinquish my soapbox (however there isn't exactly a long line of people waiting to step up on it at 5:00 AM).

True, a drawing of a set of billiard balls should not have the same price as an actual set of Fakinis (unless it was drawn by Picasso). However, drawings and detailed writings about how to manipulate billiard balls in a new and original way ought to be worth $5.00. That's what we charge for Stephen Christopher's "Multiplying Bubbles" article in The Wizards' Journal #12. Of course, it's only of interest to someone who performs a billiard ball routine, and would be a waste of money and time for a beginner who just got a magic set.

A collection of 10 such articles might well be worth the price of a set of Fakinis ($50) to someone who is looking for billiard ball manipulation effects that would put his act in a class by itself.

If you're going to make an analogy, make one that is relevant.
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Postby Denis Behr » 03/21/08 01:12 PM

Cugel wrote:I just don't believe they should attract the same sale price as an actual book.

Despite the Fakini analogy, I believe this is true. The equation is pretty simple: If you buy an actual book, you pay for both the information and the physical production values. If you buy an e-book, you pay only for the information (and sometimes for a decent layout - usually not, though).
Therefore it makes no sense to charge the same amount of money.

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Postby Cugel » 03/21/08 05:32 PM

Denis Behr wrote:
Cugel wrote:I just don't believe they should attract the same sale price as an actual book.

Despite the Fakini analogy, I believe this is true. The equation is pretty simple: If you buy an actual book, you pay for both the information and the physical production values. If you buy an e-book, you pay only for the information (and sometimes for a decent layout - usually not, though).
Therefore it makes no sense to charge the same amount of money.

Denis


The core issue in a nutshell.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/21/08 06:52 PM

Ebooks cost almost nothing to create. There's no production expense. Since the cost of an item is in part based upon its cost to make, the cost of an ebook should be commensurately lower than a physical printed book.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/21/08 08:21 PM

I'm going to assume that remark about e-books costing "nothing to create because there is no production expense" as directed at other publisher's e-books which are largely text, with no layout, no photos, no diagrams, no research, no citations, no references, no professional editing, no proofreading, and no lifetime updates. Anyone who has seen Magicbob's e-books knows that he doesn't just think up these card effects and write them down. He builds each one, photographs each step, overlays the photos with diagrams, etc. There is a great deal of production time and work involved, for which you, Richard, would have to pay someone a great deal of money to produce for Genii. Do you do all that work yourself? The fact that Magicbob does all this work himself with editing, proofreading and Web layout work from me does not make the process cost-free.

But just for argument, let's say Magicbob wanted to turn just one effect into a printed book, using a low cost Internet service like lulu.com. Let's just use "The Mismade Queen" from his book "I Hate Card Tricks!" as an example. That e-book is 20 pages with 20 color photos/diagrams. Converting it to a comparable printed book with Lulu, we use the U.S. Letter Color, Plasticoil binding (8.5" x 11") to make it comparable with many other magic publications. Lulu's handy-dandy little cost calculator reveals that the COST per unit would be $7.35. You get a discount when you have more than 25 books printed, but the COST is still going to be more than $5.00. That's what Magicbob would have to pay for the prestige of providing you with a printed copy of his e-book. Let's say he managed to get the best discount by ordering thousands of copies of this 20 page book and his cost is $5 per book. He still has to package and ship the book to you and store boxes of just this single chapter of his book in his house. If we use the cheapest possible packing and shipping (plastic bag-slow boat magazine rate) it's still going to add about $2.00 to his costs, even if he does all the work himself. So far the cost of the printed book is $7.00. 40% profit is usual, so give him $4.60 for himself. You would have to pay $11.60 for that single chapter printed out as a book. Instead, you pay $5.00 for an e-Book; Magicbob gets to keep $4.50 after PayPal processing costs.

You think that the cost of an e-Book should be commensurately lower than a physical printed book? It is.

The full book, by the way, which is 230 pages in length with 20-30 color photos per chapter, would have to be published as a hardbound book to hold together. The COST of publishing a single book of that size at Lulu is $48.50. That's not what YOU would pay, that's what Magicbob would have to pay. Applying the same math, biggest discount, cost of packaging and shipping plus adding on a 40% profit for the author/publisher ends up making YOUR cost $75.00 and Magicbob's profit $30. For the e-Book you pay $40 and Magicbob gets to keep $38.

You think that the cost of an e-Book should be commensurately lower than a physical printed book? It is.

Do you want to make Magicbob a better offer than he could get from Lulu.com, Richard? I'm sure he would be interested, but I doubt he would be getting $4.50 per effect and $38 per collection of ten effects with any print publication.

Prove I'm wrong and I'll eat a Hat Ring.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 03/21/08 09:23 PM

Color is nice, sure. But I've never seen a card related book that really needed it. Many classic card magic books (most?)have no color at all and do not suffer from that.

The assertion that a hardcover is needed to hold 230 pages is ridiculous. Have you been to a bookstore lately? Ever read a large trade paperback?

Go to lulu.com and price out a perfect bound b/w book of 230 pages (trade b/w plasticoil is the same price) and production costs are $9.13/ea and that's not using any volume discount. Lulu.com is "print on demand", so no inventory need be held, no shipping/handling on the part of the author and there's plenty of room for profit there.

Others (including Mike Close with his huge (650 pages/5 books) Workers compendium) have used Lulu in that way quite successfully. Your argument remains ludicrous.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 03/21/08 09:38 PM

Spellbinder wrote:You think that the cost of an e-Book should be commensurately lower than a physical printed book? It is.


[censored].

In order to make the argument that $40 is commensurately lower in price in comparison to a real book, you have to do precisely what you did here: apply an inflated set of requirements and quote it by a non-traditional printing method, none of which I suspect matter very much to people who, for some reason known only to God and maybe the ghost of P.T. Barnum, will voluntarily pony up money for YAFBOCT.

But, this is a free market economy. If you can actually sell an email for $40, written by someone named "MagicBob" and marketed by someone who allegedly legally changed his name to "Phineas Spellbinder" -- I say knock yourself out.

As Mr. Pokhis is known to say, "America: what a country!"

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Postby Cugel » 03/21/08 09:48 PM

Spellbinder wrote:
You think that the cost of an e-Book should be commensurately lower than a physical printed book? It is.

Do you want to make Magicbob a better offer than he could get from Lulu.com, Richard? I'm sure he would be interested, but I doubt he would be getting $4.50 per effect and $38 per collection of ten effects with any print publication.

Prove I'm wrong and I'll eat a Hat Ring.


I think it's an admirable objective: to maximise the creator's return on their energies and investment. But actually there are two sides to the coin and the other side is the expectations of the customer. It's one thing to say you want to pour dollars into the coffers of the author, but the customer would also like to get VALUE for their money. An actual book is the undisputed, established industry benchmark for delivering intellectual property to a magic customer base. When you charge the exact same price for a digital file (and usually one of around 30 to 40 pages!), you are effectively short-changing the customer in terms of the product you are delivering.

I know you have stars in your eyes over this low-overheard, profit-maximization delivery method, but if you can't see that plenty of magicians feel they are not getting their money's worth, then you are in denial.

Does sir want cracked pepper with his hat ring?
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 03/22/08 12:12 AM

Ah, now I remember "Spellbinder" and his literary endeavors.

Seen here pimping a book allegedly written by his 8 year old prodigal grandson "Eleazar Goodenough".
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Postby Bill Mullins » 03/22/08 01:03 AM

Spellbinder wrote:In all of my comments on e-Books, I am referring to Magic Nook e-Books, and the key word is "legally". None of our e-Books are sold on CDs, but are digitally delivered. Therefore, in order to transfer it to anyone else for sale or otherwise you have to make a COPY of it, which immediately infringes the RIGHT of the copyright holder. Public Libraries know this and deal only with a different type of e-Book. They would not stock or deal with ours.

An e-Book on a CD can be sold or traded without infringing this right, as long as it is the original CD being sold, and not a copy. I hope this clarifies several testy comments to my post from others that follow yours.


If I own a book, I can sell it. That's settled law -- the "first sale" principle.

If I "own" a Magic Nook ebook, apparently I can't sell it. Therefore I don't own it. At best, I'm buying a license of some sort.

This is one major benefit of a book, and why people resent paying as much for an e-book as a book. You don't receive as much value as you would if it were truly a book.

You've made they argument several times, though, that it's worth $40 regardless. Are you saying, then that it's the same value as a physical, ownable copy of any of the books the Chief Genii would sell you for that price?

Aftercraft: More Card Trickery (J.K. Hartman) $40
Arcade Dreams: Non-Card Magic of Ed Marlo (Jon Racherbaumer) $40
Discoverie of Witchcraft (Reginald Scot) $40
Duffie's Card Compulsion (Peter Duffie) $35
Feints & Temps of Harry Riser (Ed Brown) $40
Five Times Five: Scotland (Peter Duffie) $35
Folding Money Fooling (Robert Neale) $35
Gary Kurtz: Unexplainable Acts (Richard Kaufman) $35
Great Balloons (Jean Merlin) $35
Greater Artful Dodges of Eddie Fields (Jon Racherbaumer) $35
Jennings '67 (Richard Kaufman) $40
Looking Glass (Complete File of 4 Issues) $40
Lou Gallo: The Underground Man (Kaufman/Phillips) $35
Magic of Edward Victors Hands (Rae Hammond) $40
Magic of the Hands Trilogy (Edward Victor) $35
Now You See It, Now You Don't Notebook (Bill Tarr) $35
Performance of Close Up Magic (Eugene Burger) $35
Sankey Panky (Richard Kaufman) $35
Secrets Draun from Underground (Richard Kaufman) $35
Stanyons Serial Lessons in Conjuring (Ellis Stanyon) $35
Street Magic, Hardcover (Jeff Sheridan/Edward Claflin) $40
Trickery Treats: Card Craft Continued (J.K. Hartman) $40
Vis a Vis, A Jack Avis Book (Jack Avis/John Derris) $40

And since the value of an ebook is wrapped up in the information it contains, not in the format, it's fair (it seems to me) to compare it to the used book market. These books sold or were offered lately on the forum for <$40. Are you saying your product is a better value than:

Amazing Miracles of Shigeo Takagi, The - Richard Kaufman - $35
The Cervon File - Bruce Cervon - $30
The Classic Magic Of Larry Jennings - Mike Maxwell - $35
Drawing Room Deceptions, A Collection of Guy Hollingworth - $30
Encyclopedia of Silk Magic Volume 3 - Harold Rice - $40
Five Times Five - Japan - Richard Kaufman - $40
Flashpoints: Ed Marlo's Full Tilt & Devilish Miracle -Jon Racherbaumer -$30
Flicking Fingers: The Book or Don't Forget to Point - $35
Lou Gallo: The Underground Man - Richard Kaufman & Mark Phillips - $30
One Hundred by Warlock - Elizabeth Warlock - $35
JENNINGS '67 NO DUST JACKET. FIRST EDITION $35
GENE MAZE AND THE ART OF BOTTOM DEALING $30 mp
SECRETS OF BRO. HAMMAN KAUFMAN EDITION $35
CARD COLLEGE #5 PERFECT SHAPE $30 mp
MAGIC AND METHODS OF ROSS BERTRAM $30
THE PERFORMANCE OF CLOSE UP MAGIC FIRST EDITION EUGENE BURGER $30 mp
THE NEW MODERN COIN MAGIC (ripped DJ) $10 f
13 STEPS TO MENTALISM $20 f
MAGIC WITH CARDS GARCIA & SCHINDLER $10 f
ULTRA CERVON $30 f
GARY KURTZ: UNEXPLANABLE ACTS $40 f
DAVID ACER NATURAL SELECTIONS $30 f
A Close-Up Kinda Guy, Paul Harris, hb dj in mylar $30.00
The Award Winning Magic of John Cornelius hb 1st dj in mylar $35.00
The Artful Mentalism of Bob Cassidy, 1st ed hd dj in mylar $40.00
Card Cavalcade Jerry Mentzer HB $20.00
Card Cavalcade: Finale Jerry Mentzer HB $20.00
Cardworks, Richard Kaufman, HB dj in mylar 1st ed $40.00 **SOLD**
Close-Up Card Magic Harry Lorayne copyright 1976 dj in mylar 1st ed third printing $30.00
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/22/08 02:01 AM

Chris Aguilar wrote:Color is nice, sure. But I've never seen a card related book that really needed it. Many classic card magic books (most?)have no color at all and do not suffer from that.

The assertion that a hardcover is needed to hold 230 pages is ridiculous. Have you been to a bookstore lately? Ever read a large trade paperback?

You are comparing apples to oranges using a surious argument. Because you have never seen a card magic book that needed color, you assume that color is not needed. You obviously haven't seen one of Magicbob's effects, but most require that you use a color template from the e-Book, direct to your computer, so that you can print out the gaffed card(s) used in the effect following his detailed instructions for doing so. Lulu.com does not allow for a publication that has a mixture of color photos and black and white photos, so since color is necessary, not only for Magicbobn's color-coded diagrams, but also for his templates, the only solution is to go with all color pages. Granted another publisher might be able to mix B&W with color photos, but then you would still have the awful prospect of having to transfer the color photos from the book into a computer via a scanner in order to produce the gaffed cards. Our goal is to make our customers happy (we have no control over the happiness of our non-customers) and this method of publication would not.

A 230 page paperback (even a 655 page paperback) is fine for reading, but not for working with. Magicbob's audience does not merely read his e-Books, they use them to make his effects. Anyone who has ever tried working with a paperback cookbook in the kitchen knows how quickly the book breaks apart when you open it and hold the page flat while you are beating up the eggs with one hand and searching for the next ingredient with the other hand. All of the effects we work with at The Magic Nook are "Do-It-Yourself" magic effects, and Magicbob's are no different. Folding a paperback flat to try to get the templates from a scanner, or try to hold it flat so you can work on one part of the effect and read up as the glue is drying, etc. will end up with a seriously damaged paperback.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/22/08 02:15 AM

John LeBlanc wrote:But, this is a free market economy. If you can actually sell an email for $40, written by someone named "MagicBob" and marketed by someone who allegedly legally changed his name to "Phineas Spellbinder" -- I say knock yourself out.

As Mr. Pokhis is known to say, "America: what a country!"


Thanks! Since this seems to be as close as I'm going to get to a positive posting from a non-customer on this Forum, I say "America; the land of the free and the brave!"
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/22/08 02:19 AM

Cugel wrote:
I think it's an admirable objective: to maximise the creator's return on their energies and investment. But actually there are two sides to the coin and the other side is the expectations of the customer. It's one thing to say you want to pour dollars into the coffers of the author, but the customer would also like to get VALUE for their money. An actual book is the undisputed, established industry benchmark for delivering intellectual property to a magic customer base. When you charge the exact same price for a digital file (and usually one of around 30 to 40 pages!), you are effectively short-changing the customer in terms of the product you are delivering.

I know you have stars in your eyes over this low-overheard, profit-maximization delivery method, but if you can't see that plenty of magicians feel they are not getting their money's worth, then you are in denial.

Does sir want cracked pepper with his hat ring?


You only get me to eat a hat ring by disproving my calculations in hard cash, not by arguing your philosophy as to how things ought to work because they have always worked that way in the past. Hold onto the cracked pepper, however, since Richard has not weighed in yet.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/22/08 02:40 AM

Chris Aguilar wrote:Ah, now I remember "Spellbinder" and his literary endeavors.
Seen here pimping a book allegedly written by his 8 year old prodigal grandson "Eleazar Goodenough".


My grandson is now ten years old and still contributing magic ideas to The Wizards' Journal, but not as prodigiously as he did in the past. These days, magic is competing with his music (clarinet, trumpet, and guitar) and sports (mostly baseball) and videography and 3-D cartoon drawing (science fair project on optics). His six year old sister may have to take over writing his Hat Ring book in order to finish it. That is, between her violin, oil painting:

Image

and other kindergarten craft projects she keeps bringing home.

But thanks for asking about him and I'm sure you'll be hearing about Wilhemina Goodenough's magic endeavors soon enough, so you'll have even more to grumble about.

"Oh, don't the day seem lank and long when all goes right and nothing goes wrong?
And isn't your life extremely flat when you've nothing whatever to grumble at?" ... W.S. Gilbert
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Postby Cugel » 03/22/08 02:40 AM

Spellbinder wrote:
You only get me to eat a hat ring by disproving my calculations in hard cash, not by arguing your philosophy as to how things ought to work because they have always worked that way in the past. Hold onto the cracked pepper, however, since Richard has not weighed in yet.


I'm not actually interested in getting you to eat your ring.

My only interest in all of this is pointing out that an ebook is a book before someone actually prints it. But it ain't a book and, therefore, it logically follows that it isn't worth the price of a book of similar word length.

That has been proven time and again in this thread and any sophistry or tapdancing around it will never change the fact that if $40-50 is the industry standard for a magic hardcover, then you are getting gouged if you pay the same amount for someone's password protected PDF.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 03/22/08 02:57 AM

Spellbinder wrote:
Chris Aguilar wrote:Color is nice, sure. But I've never seen a card related book that really needed it. Many classic card magic books (most?)have no color at all and do not suffer from that.

The assertion that a hardcover is needed to hold 230 pages is ridiculous. Have you been to a bookstore lately? Ever read a large trade paperback?

You are comparing apples to oranges using a surious argument. Because you have never seen a card magic book that needed color, you assume that color is not needed. You obviously haven't seen one of Magicbob's effects, but most require that you use a color template from the e-Book,
So then you'd be passing the cost of printing out those expensive color templates on to your customers on top of the $40 you're already charging them for the privilege of receiving a pdf in their e-mail. Great value there.

For the price you charge ($40, as much as many professionally printed hardcover books), I'd think you could throw in some hard copy templates (or some of the gaffed cards) or sell a hard copy of the book (with a low production cost (b/w plasticoil or perfect bound)of $9.13/copy) and make the color templates available as a download.


A 230 page paperback (even a 655 page paperback) is fine for reading, but not for working with.


Oh [censored].

You could offer it plasticoil which lays flat. lulu.com's "print on Demand" offers coil binding effective up to 470 pages.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/22/08 03:01 AM

Bill Mullins wrote: You've made they argument several times, though, that it's worth $40 regardless. Are you saying, then that it's the same value as a physical, ownable copy of any of the books the Chief Genii would sell you for that price?

(LIST OF BOOKS AND PRICES ELIMINATED AS IRRELEVANT]

And since the value of an ebook is wrapped up in the information it contains, not in the format, it's fair (it seems to me) to compare it to the used book market. These books sold or were offered lately on the forum for $40. Are you saying your product is a better value than: (LONG LIST OF BOOKS AND PRICES ELIMINATED AS IRRELEVANT]


Yes.

Why is Magicbob's e-Book a better value than any of the books in the long lists you felt compelled to provide (really, one or two examples would have been sufficient)?

Reason 1. Because none of those books is available in a large print edition for those of us with aging eyes. Any e-Book can be instantly resized to fit the reader, and photos can be magnified without reaching for a magnifying glass.

Reason 2. (Already mentioned above) Because Magicbob's e-books do require color photos, and they do allow you to print out your gaffed cards so they look like the real thing and not some black and white imitation.

Reason 3. If you feel the need to make a hardcopy to have on your table as you work, you can print out just the pages needed instead of the entire book, and lay them perfectly flat so they don't get in your way.

Reason 4. If you lose the files on your computer due to flood, fire, acts of god or otherwise, you just e-mail Magicbob (or me, if he's on vacation like he is right now), identify yourself as a purchaser, and we send you another copy.

Reason 5. If you are reading through the e-Book and you don't understand something, it's poorly written or otherwise unclear, you e-mail one of us and we either walk you through the problem step by step, or we rewrite the entire sentence or passage as needed.

Reason 6. If you point out an error that requires us to rewrite a section of the e-Book, every former purchaser is also sent an up-dated copy with the correction or addendum.

Reason 7. If you are searching for a particular spot in the e-Book and can identify that spot by a unique word, just use the "Find" feature on your computer to get right to the spot. Better than an index.

I don't want to make this list too long, so I'll stop here and allow you to locate one of the books in your long lists of printed books that has comparable features.
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Postby Spellbinder » 03/22/08 03:15 AM

This is fun, boys, but pointless. We both know that the nay-sayers here will never, ever, see a Magic Nook e-Book. We also know that the majority of our customers are repeat customers who look forward to getting our latest e-Books.

I'll come back from time to time to see if anyone has an argument worth eating a hat ring over, but if you're just going to go around in circles with the same old arguments based on not knowing what you are talking about and refusing to ever investigate Magicbob's e-Book(s), you'll have to go play by yourselves, as I have work to do.
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Postby Cugel » 03/22/08 03:19 AM

Whatever. They're still not books. Cost as much, though.
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