CARDWORKS By Richard Kaufman

Your doorway to those rare collectibles that everyone is searching for: books, props, posters, cards, and paper ephemera are all here for you to buy and sell.

Postby Rennie » 10/22/10 12:53 AM

On Ebay with no reserve:

EBAY
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve is not !!
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Postby Kent Gunn » 10/22/10 01:05 AM

If the minimum bid is 35.00 and there haven't been any bids yet, how is that different from a reserve.

I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm asking a question that's bothered me for a while.

Thanks,

KG
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Postby Joe Pecore » 10/22/10 07:45 AM

I think the theory may be that if you do a reserve, you could change your mind after the auction if the reserve was not met and still offer to sell to highest bidder.

Also the low starting bid, with a reserve, probably attracts more views.
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Postby Rennie » 10/22/10 09:01 AM

Kent,
If I Start the bidding at $35.00, but I will not sell for less than $100.00, I would set the reserve at $100.00. Meaning of course if you bid $75.00, the reserve was not met and I do not have to sell it. That is how the reserve works. I do not list anything with a reserve. I feel Ebay should remove that option.
As Joe says "Also the low starting bid, with a reserve, probably attracts more views", it only attracts more views until the bidder realizes he is not getting close to the sellers "usually" high reserve price. I usually start at a reasonably low bid with no reserve, many get a way better deal this way.
Hope this helps.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/22/10 10:48 AM

I had copies of CardWorks up for sale here a month ago for a low price: none sold. It would be easier to sell my grandmother's old underwear.
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Postby erdnasephile » 10/22/10 11:33 AM

I agree. Reserves don't seem to offer much of an advantage to the seller (you don't save any money), and they always leave me with a "tease" feeling as a buyer. I much prefer to set a minimum bid for what I am willing to take for an item. It weeds out the non-serious buyers, and doesn't waste everyone's time.

With respect to Richard's grandmother's old underwear, I'm not sure why CardWorks isn't selling. Swain, Latta, Dingle, Ortiz, Schwarzman, Lorayne, Krenzel, Walton, Marlo, etc. Tunnels, Fusion, Stapling... What's not to like? (Plus, you get a couple of bonus pics of RK and friends from the 1980's :) )
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Postby Keith MacDonald » 10/22/10 11:45 AM

Card works for sale! If I had seen it, would have bought.
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Postby Denis Behr » 10/22/10 12:20 PM

Here's the full Table of Contents, if anybody doesn't know what's in the book: Cardworks.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/22/10 12:24 PM

Nobody cared about CardWorks when I published it. Sold poorly. No one cares about it now! Maybe I'll sell a few when the ebook comes out for $15.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/22/10 12:30 PM

Richard, You still have a new copies of CardWorks? I'll take one.
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Postby Doc » 10/22/10 01:51 PM

I had copies of CardWorks up for sale here a month ago for a low price: none sold. It would be easier to sell my grandmother's old underwear.

Actually, Cardworks is a cakewalk compared to the Bill Tarr Now You See It, Now You Don't! Notebook.

Now that is more difficult than selling your grandmother's old underwear...a truly Sisyphean task. ;)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/22/10 02:41 PM

I have to agree.
I put the unsold copies of CardWorks in a box and stuck it somewhere in the attic.
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Postby Bob Cunningham » 10/22/10 03:57 PM

"Maybe I'll sell a few when the ebook comes out for $15"

You will sell one for sure!
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/22/10 04:42 PM

I thought I had missed Cardworks when you had it for sale. You took it off the list and I assumed you sold all of them.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/22/10 05:08 PM

It would be easier to sell my grandmother's old underwear.

Unfortunately, Ebay won't let you sell used underwear.
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Postby Rennie » 10/22/10 10:09 PM

"I had copies of CardWorks up for sale here a month ago for a low price: none sold. It would be easier to sell my grandmother's old underwear."
Richard as I recall you listed 2 copies for $50.00 each. My copy is $35.00, and I think it is a really great book with some super effects.The last effect in the book is worth the price alone.
Rennie
P.S Not sure it would be that easy to sell your grandmothers underwear though.
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Postby Rennie » 10/22/10 10:11 PM

Doc,
I feel the hardest magic book to sell is Mysterious Stranger by David Blaine. I offered it for $0.99 and it DID NOT sell.
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Postby Doc » 10/22/10 10:56 PM

Rennie,
You are correct about that.
I keep a stack of Mysterious Strangers, Bill Tarr Notebooks and Andrew Mayne booklets beside each fireplace to burn on cold mornings.

They are all cheaper than kindling. :D
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/22/10 11:10 PM

I'm glad Bill Tarr isn't alive to read this thread!
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/23/10 02:21 AM

Where does Professional Close-Up Volume One by Carl Dreher stand on the list?
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/23/10 12:52 PM

Probably just under Simply Harkey, Dustin.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 10/23/10 01:11 PM

I can't imagine that many copies of Lim Tricks sold. Hopefully, it was a small print run.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 10/23/10 01:21 PM

Quoted from Ryan Matney: "Probably just under Simply Harkey, Dustin." (The quote feature seems to be broken.)

I don't get why people "diss" this title. David's work was very creative yet simultaneously commercial. He had an artistic approach with a craftsman's eye. David sometimes liked to push people's buttons to get reactions, but the published material lacked this quality and the booked was wonderfully produced...

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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/23/10 01:26 PM

You must be friends with him.
Most of the book is half-baked ideas that won't really work. The rest is weak tricks that do work.

I even bought Pocket Cache when I was a kid, another piece of crap.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/23/10 01:29 PM

Lim-Tricks was not a small print run. And, no, it didn't sell many copies. It is, however, a good book for what it's supposed to be. Simple tricks for kids taught through amusing limericks.

I've published three books that were dead on arrival:
1. Lim-Tricks by Jeff Sheridan
2. Much Ado About Something by Karrel Fox
3. The Now You See It Now You Don't Notebook by Bill Tarr

All three authors thought they were producing good titles. I took a chance. I crapped out!
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/23/10 01:35 PM

Richard,

I'm curious, did YOU think those books were bad when you first published them. You have said that you didn't think much of Strong Magic but it sold really well.

I've read and heard people throw off on the Bill Tarr book, did you think it was terrible when you first read it?
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 10/23/10 01:47 PM

You must *not* be friends with him. (Isn't that a ridiculous argument?)

Other than hosting his lecture years ago, I wouldn't exactly call us friends. I guess I found a higher percentage of usable non-card material that played to commercial audiences than I have found in many other magic books.

If you want card tricks, you didn't find many of them, but for quirky pieces with personality and unusual character I can't think of any finer source.

It is all what you are looking for...

Can you recommend other, better, sources in print with a variety of non-card material that plays well for stand-up work with a contemporary style?

We can go back to the big four--Tarbell, Mark Wilson, Henry Hay and Bruce Elliott, but other than Steinmeyer, Regal and Carney (with a dashes of Seabrooke & Lovell thrown in) general collections of good, direct-with-an-intriguing-premise stand-up material seem few and far between...

Of course Pocket Cache did not work... for a kid! What child carries a money clip? As a recognized object that a man (not kid) might carry with them, it used a gaff in the way gaffs should be used: a normal object that accomplishes what needs to be done and is then discarded leaving little or no suspicion in the minds of the audience...

Once again, it depends on what you are looking for. I am interested in material that features "me" and plays a purpose (illustrates if you will) an exploration of deeper of topics initiated by the performer. I am not interested in blatant adventures of the props that I can't tie into a larger concept...

There are many books in my library that I dismissed when I was younger and inexperienced that I have revisited and found full of value to me today.
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Postby erdnasephile » 10/23/10 01:50 PM

I thought I recalled that Simply Harkey actually sold pretty well when it first came out. I could be wrong, but it seemed like Mr. Harkey was being hailed as the next Paul Harris in some quarters back then. (Actually, it is serendipitous that Doc's joke and Simply Harkey appear in the same thread. See: Totally Out of Control, pg 104)

I have to agree though--some of the stuff published just didn't seem real-world practical (e.g., doing a shuttle pass with a full soda can and a collapsable can).

I do think he had a very nice approach to graphic design.
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 10/23/10 02:03 PM

Semi-funny semi-related story...

I used to mix Harkey and Jay Sankey up in my head (I probably should have included Sankey in my earlier post). Both lectured at my magic shop in NH and stayed in our guest room (although "suite" is probably a better term). When I flew to Toronto to interview Jay for my Continuum column in Reel Magic Magazine we joked about it a bit (part of which made the final edit)...

Jay and David had similar quirky approaches, Jay being the more prodigious in term of output (as well a perhaps a better "filter" for what would sell to magicians).

Haven't heard from Harkey in a long, long time. Last I heard he was paying his mortgage and feeding his family through performing in the Northwest for "non-magicians"...

I agree with the graphic design comment...
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/23/10 02:44 PM

made a guess, not an argument. But it is not a rediculous one. Friends defend one another.

You asked the question for books with better material and answered it yourself. I believe you were trying to limit my choices for an answer but you really did a good job of answering the question. Even Lovell has better tricks than this book.

But if you really love this Harkey book so much, can you name two tricks that you have actually used from it? Two tricks that you are very familar with.

I actually had the pocket cache when I was 15 or so. You are right, kids don't carry money clips. In fact, nobody does. Did you ever try to use it? I did. Try holding up a single layer of bill or playing card in a leather clip and telling people it's a whole card or bill. They will laugh at you. They will laugh harder when it fails to retract properly to make the switch.

I may be wrong but it sound like you are bragging at the end of your post. You are a 'deeper' and more 'serious' 'personality-driven' performer so you got more out of 'Simply Harkey' than I did. I guess I'm not so deep, I was just looking for good card tricks.

This reminds of movie fans when you put down a favorite 'artistic' film they all say "You don't get it because it's over your head. That's why you don't like it."


So if you are a deep thinking serious performer, you can do crap magic and people will like it? Now that is a rediculous argument.

It doesn't matter how quirky something if it's lame. In fact, I think you read more into that book than is even there. "material that features "me" and plays a purpose (illustrates if you will) an exploration of deeper of topics initiated by the performer." WOW.

You can do that with any trick, you know. That's your job, take a good trick and put your personality in it.

Here's what I think, I think you are confusing originality with quality. Yes, the book has many non-card and non-coin tricks. Yes it has off beat plots and methods and original thinking. But it's still incomplete thoughts, half baked methods, and weak tricks.

Just because something is original does not make it good.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/23/10 05:19 PM

I remember when Harkey tried that Shuttle Pass with the soda cans at Fechter's--we all thought he was nuts because it was plainly visible.

I certainly would never compare Sankey and Harkey. First, Harkey came after Sankey, and Sankey's material was ground-breaking and brilliant (at least the stuff I published). I certainly wouldn't say that about Harkey's material. Also, Harkey had an enormous ego and that put a lot of people off. The book seemed so self-important, and could anyone have more clearly copied my style of illustrating and movement lines? I wouldn't say he's greatly missed in the magic world.

Now, to Ryan's question.

I thought, and still think, that Lim-Tricks is a clever book. Marketed for the public with full-color illustrations from a really talented artist it might have done well.

I was disappointed in the Karrel Fox book, but the guy was old and sick and couldn't find anyone else to publish it. I did him a favor.

The Bill Tarr book is a different story: I didn't see the manuscript until after I'd paid for it, and it had been fully written and illustrated. The only way to recoup my investment was to publish it. I did, but it never earned back the investment. Bad business decision: I should have just taken the loss. Incidently, a famous magician who shall go nameless told me that one of the best things he'd ever read in a magic book is in there. He wouldn't tell me what it was, but said he'd been using it since first reading it, and that it was worth many times the price of the book.

As far as Strong Magic--I've regretted publishing from the day the manuscript was delivered. I only wanted to publish Card Shark, but was forced to take Strong Magic and publish it first as part of the deal. I was embarrased to publish Strong Magic because I felt the information was so misguided. Life, being completely unpredictable, saw Strong Magic sell very well and need several printings, while Card Shark sold poorly and I never had to reprint it. Just shows that, as William Goldman wrote about the movie business, "Nobody knows anything."
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Postby Doc » 10/23/10 06:39 PM

The Bill Tarr book is a different story: I didn't see the manuscript until after I'd paid for it, and it had been fully written and illustrated. The only way to recoup my investment was to publish it. I did, but it never earned back the investment. Bad business decision: I should have just taken the loss. Incidently, a famous magician who shall go nameless told me that one of the best things he'd ever read in a magic book is in there. He wouldn't tell me what it was, but said he'd been using it since first reading it, and that it was worth many times the price of the book.

I know exactly precisely what he meant. I read it myself..it was, The End. :D

Do you ever regret not printing a couple of thousand more copies of Swami and Mantra? :confused:
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Postby Andrew Pinard » 10/23/10 07:49 PM

Sorry for the delayed response, I had to go out and sing for my supper.

I certainly didn't intend to come across as a "deep" and "serious" performer. Those who have seen my work realize that I am as shallow and lackadaisical as the next guy.

While I try not to treat myself too seriously, I do take the work I do seriously. I hope that my audiences walk away with a deeper regard for magic as a result of my performances, but not because I am "deep" and "serious".

I am certainly not going to defend Harkey; no need. I expressed a question as to why some choose to denigrate the work.

I am still of the belief that, as a species, we have limited perception based on our current stage of experience. What works today may not work tomorrow and vice versa.

Performing is part art and part craft. Unfortunately, experiencing many magic performances is like eating too much chocolate cake. Very rich and tasty yet ultimately lacking in nutrition (and, in sufficient quantities, will make you ill).

I aspire to provide audiences with an experience that leaves them wanting more and hopefully gets them to consider more than simply "how".

I pay the mortgage and feed my family through performing (and have done so for almost twenty years). What works for me may not work for others, but I hope, for the long-term health and prestige of our craft, that performers use magic as a way to communicate with audiences a diverse variety of topics of deep interest to them. To share our perspective in a way that educates and entertains. To have a dialogue with audiences that results in an exploration of ideas that are relative and enrich their lives.

Oops, there I go again, being "deep" and "serious".

Forget about that, share your love with as many people as possible and try to avoid gorging on chocolate cake.

I have a different perspective than most because this is how I make a living. I am not necessarily looking for cool tricks that appeal to my magician side, I am looking for items that will appeal to my audiences. In regards to items from Simply Harkey that I have used (and continue to use) for paying audiences I can list several: Dirty Pool, Sitting Pretty, Pop Art, Transpasm, Sweet Talk (which I performed all the time in restaurants) and Kicker which I used to end formal close-up shows on a regular basis.

I will confess it has been a number of years since I have cracked the book and undoubtedly there are real clunkers in the book, but the signal to noise ratio for me was quite high...

I have found several books that were not to my taste when I read them initially, and several where I was enamored of the material at first and brutally dis-illusioned when I tried to perform the "clever" material for paying audiences and found it to play flat. Whether the authors are or are not my friends doesn't matter...

Ultimately *I* am responsible for the quality of my performances and denigrating a book simply because it is not to my taste or doesn't meet my requirements provides a disservice. Have I read any crap magic books? Sure, plenty. Often, I learn more from the pipe dreams...

I can understand Richard's reactions, as Harkey made what appears to be a deliberate effort to reproduce his illustrative style (which has since been adopted by most of the illustrators in the field) at a time when Richard was the top illustrator in the field. This should not diminish Richard's accomplishments in the least, but I understand having a negative emotional reaction... I also understand that the soda can shuttle pass probably didn't play at Fechter's for a large group of magicians (most of whom typically witness magic performances differently than laymen), but with appropriate misdirection for smaller groups it certainly can work...

Ultimately, it is the off-the-cuff, simplistic denigration of of a performer's work that I object to the most. I have been guilty of this myself. After I had performed the Anderson Newspaper Tear for a number of years I rotated it out of my repertoire (suffice to say the trick wasn't good/bad, it was simply not working as a performance piece for me at the time). A year or so after this I made a somewhat snide comment to another performer friend asking whether or not he was "still" using it. He replied, "of course, it is perfect". I felt appropriately guilty about my "superior" tone and it was only later that my mind filled in "for me". I realized that there is no point in being dismissive of another's work and I resolved to looking for material that works "for me" (to which I have later added "for my purposes").

Some may interpret Harkey's work as trivial, pretentious, egotistic pipe dreams, but others may see his work as unique, compelling, poetic, aspirational performance pieces.

Having different approaches broadens our appeal and increases public interest.

What's wrong with that?

(And no, David Harkey is not my friend...)

Off to learn a new card trick!

ajp
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/23/10 08:16 PM

I printed Swami/Mantra several times! If there was enough demand for it, I would reprint it now. I'd say that dollars to doughnuts it will appear as an ebook!
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Postby Rennie » 10/24/10 01:00 AM

"I'd say that dollars to doughnuts it will appear as an ebook!"

Now that is too bad. I hate ebooks!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/24/10 01:08 AM

Unfortunately not enough people want to buy a reprint done in a conventional manner.
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Postby James Cotton » 10/24/10 04:16 PM

"As far as Strong Magic--I've regretted publishing from the day the manuscript was delivered. I only wanted to publish Card Shark, but was forced to take Strong Magic and publish it first as part of the deal. I was embarrased to publish Strong Magic because I felt the information was so misguided. Life, being completely unpredictable, saw Strong Magic sell very well and need several printings, while Card Shark sold poorly and I never had to reprint it. Just shows that, as William Goldman wrote about the movie business, "Nobody knows anything.""

The history of publishing is littered with many similar examples of works that publishers didn't realize were classics and either published reluctantly or rejected. Thank goodness your judgment wasn't the final arbiter, or one of the greatest books in magic would never have seen the light of day. Instead, it's been published and reprinted numerous times in several languages. History has proven you wrong, but I think it's cool that you can write frankly about it after the fact.
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Postby Max Maven » 10/25/10 03:05 AM

History has not proven Richard wrong. His statement had to do with the quality of the book, not with its sales.
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Postby Amos McCormick » 10/25/10 08:47 AM

No one wanted John Grisham's A Time to Kill when he first tried to get it published. It eventually seemed to do pretty well, so never give up hope.
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Postby James Cotton » 10/25/10 08:57 AM

"History has not proven Richard wrong. His statement had to do with the quality of the book, not with its sales."

Excellent. It doesn't get better than this.
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