Murphys rankings

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby 000 » 06/16/08 04:21 AM

I enjoy reading in Genii about the 10 top selling dvdees, books and effects. One item which I see has got legs is Alan Wongs Neckcracker,( a personal favourite) which whent from about number one a year ago, slowly descending to number ten, only to be climbing again. Anybody got observations on other items regarding ranking fluctuations and staying power?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 06/16/08 09:29 AM

My only comment is that I wish my books were on the list more often. :)
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Postby 000 » 07/01/08 04:49 AM

Would you be willing to give an indication of numbers (sold) when referring to a top selling ( or top 10) book?
Thanks.
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Postby David Regal » 07/01/08 10:38 AM

I'm pretty sure that Murphy's rankings are based only on items that Murphy's carries, which makes sense. I say this because people like Jim Steinmeyer, Mike Caveney and John Carney have sold many, many books direct. My own "Approaching Magic" has sold over 800 copies in just a couple of months.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/01/08 10:49 AM

I don't know if the following two "stories" are apropos, but reading the above just made me think of them. May make you think just a bit differently about "lists." First - I'm going back almost half a century. My first book on memory training (HOW TO DEVELOP A SUPER-POWER MEMORY)never made the NY TIMES best seller list. It sold over EIGHT MILLION copies! It sold more than all the books on the non-fiction lists combined, so why wasn't it on the Times best-seller lists? Because - the book sold mostly via mail order, and the Times didn't, doesn't, check that. It calls retail stores and goes by what they're told by those stores. My book, THE MEMORY BOOK was near top of the NY Times bestseller lists and although it did fine, it didn't sell a fraction of what HTDASPM sold.

Okay; second "vignette": I was doing a 30-city book promotion tour for THE MEMORY BOOK. Bookstores were telling me that I was paying their rent, etc. Anyway...walked into a large book store somewhere in the mid-west. I saw a worker standing on an impromptu "ladder" made up of many copies of The Gulag Archipelago (a well-known book of the time), you know, sort of pyramiding the large books to be able to climb up on them.

I was having coffee with the manager, in his office, when he took a call from the NY TIMES. I heard his end of the conversation. "Yes, as a matter of fact, Mr. Lorayne is sitting here with me right now, and yes, his book is still flying off the shelves, etc." Then, I heard, "And, yes, The Gulag is still moving better than most other books." He saw me looking at him strangely as he hung up. He knew I'd seen the "ladder" of the Gulag books. He said, and although I'm paraphrasing a bit, I'm really quoting, "Well, you know, Harry, if I keep the darn book on the Times bestseller list I may be able to get rid of some more copies. Sure, we can return books if they're not selling and not autographed, but the freight charges make it unfeasible. We just want to sell the copies we have." So, you see, in these cases, the lists didn't really tell the story.

Incidentally, yes, book stores can return books if they're not autographed. That's why when I was on a book-promotion tour (I've done quite a few) and did book store appearances, I would sign every one of my books in sight; that way, they couldn't ever be returned! HARRY LORAYNE. (PS: So feel better, Richie!)
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/01/08 10:55 AM

Right on, David. One example; my BEST OF FRIENDS, VOL. 2 was re-printed three times - and I have no more now. Never made any "lists." My HOW TO DEVELOP A SUPER-POWER MEMORY example above really says it, doesn't it?
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/01/08 10:58 AM

Incidentally, just to put a period to my story, re: the NY Times. Years ago, I was asked to do an article for the Times book review section. I wasn't too smart in those days (which is not to imply that I'm too smart now) but I wrote the Gulag Archipelago story. The Times never published it. Wonder why?!
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Postby David Regal » 07/01/08 11:25 AM

Oops...did I say I sold eight hundred copies of "Approaching Magic?" I meant to say "eight million."
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/01/08 01:52 PM

Yeah, don't we all wish that magic books for magicians would sell anywhere near sales figures of books for the public.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/01/08 02:47 PM

Harry, I think when Lorayne Classics vol.2 is released to dealers, you'll find it makes the top 10 book list.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/01/08 04:26 PM

Honestly, Richie, I don't know if it will be released to dealers, nor do I care much if it's listed on that list or not. I mean, c'mon, how could the first LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION not be listed? It's still, continuously, selling. (As are the non-listed BEST OF FRIENDS volumes.) Similar to my story above, re: HOW TO DEVELOP A SUPER-POWER MEMORY.

Now,I know that there'll be a raft of posts re: my ego, and all that silliness; that's fine. But I know what my books are worths, as do all those who buy them as soon as they're released. They need no "lists."

Sorry; I'm having my pre- pre-dinner, drink, and my fingers type without my brain being present. I'm sure I'll be sorry about this post tomorrow!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/01/08 08:33 PM

It's not a question of The Classic Collection not selling, but whether there are other books which have sold more copies that month. Murphy's is my exclusive distributor, and when I reprint a book, it hits the list for a month or two and then drops off. Few books other than Card College 1 are a perennial on the list (though if the list had been published monthly in 1962, Close-Up Card Magic would have been on it every month that year). Ditto for my book CoinMagic--it would have been on the list every month for several years. But, those times have passed. I just hope Mr. Jennings makes it up for at least two months.
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Postby 000 » 07/02/08 09:07 AM

Are the Murphy rankings audited, or do they act a bit like 'market makers' ala recording lists of days gone by? ( to be clear, without implying any dishonesty on their behalf)

And what would be the top selling 'magic books" of all time?

And Harry, amazing to hear that with 8 million copies sold you dint make bestseller status?!
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/02/08 09:24 AM

000 wrote:And what would be the top selling 'magic books" of all time?

If you restrict the list to books not generally available outside the magic community (a distinction harder to maintain nowadays)
I'm guessing that the first six spots would be occupied by Tarbell 1-6 in that order, with Bobo, Greater Magic, Card College 1 and Close Up Card Magic up there somewhere. If you remove the restriction that they only be available to magicians, then surely Erdnase would be first on the list (the current Bible edition holds two spots on our website's cumulative top ten list!), with Royal Road to Card Magic and Expert Card Technique (which was originally restricted to the magic community), and Scarne's two magic books high on the list.
I'd be interested to know as well how the Murphy's list is generated: is it a snapshot of sales during a certain time period (and what period would that be? The previous 7 days? 30 day?)? Our website's "top ten" list is cumulative from the begiing of our website, making it hard to crack and fairly stable, alas. PURE EFFECT has been out of print several years, but will be hard to dislodge from our list (I could remove it by making that title inactive, but it brings a fair amount of traffic to our site!). Ours would be more interesting if it were a snapshot of a more recent period, I think.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 07/03/08 02:56 AM

000 wrote:Would you be willing to give an indication of numbers (sold) when referring to a top selling ( or top 10) book?
Thanks.


As the author of the current top selling book -- this is my favorite post on the Genii forum ever -- I can tell you that in the last 7 months Murphy's has sold a bit more than a thousand copies of Scripting Magic, which has been enough to make it #1 for four of the last five months.

But these lists, while fun, aren't the most important thing about publishing a book. The most important thing is that copies of the first printing of Scripting Magic are still available directly from the author by paypal: $45 (inside US) or $50 (international) to pjmccabe@roadrunner.com. Let me know if you want the book signed and if you want the "u".
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Postby 000 » 07/03/08 03:27 AM

Interesting, thanks, and good luck further with the book!
Anyone able to comment on top selling dvd and trick numbers?
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Postby Jeff Haas » 07/03/08 11:59 PM

Richard - Where would "The Mark Wilson Course in Magic" and "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" fit into your list?
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/04/08 12:14 AM

Jeff, the Wilson course (especially if you include all the sliced and diced variants) would be way up there among the general public books. I suspect Hay's AMH might be as well, it certainly enjoyed a long publishing history. I suspect some of Bill Tarr's books would be up there, too. Possibly some of Bruce Elliott and Bill Severn's books as well.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 07/04/08 05:56 PM

Among books sold only in the magic community, Jerry Mentzer's
"Counts,Cuts,Moves,& Subtlety" has done very well.

I believe that it has been reprinted at least 15 times or more.
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Postby 000 » 07/24/08 05:08 AM

Gene Anderson's Newspaper Magic? 12th printing I believe.
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