Jamy Ian Swiss review of "Annotated Slydini"

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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 01:44 AM

Ok, so it was a good enough review for me to go out and buy the book. I loved Jamy's comments about the "paper ball over the head" routine. This has been a favorite of mine since I saw Slydini perform it when I was about 13 (@$#$ 30 years ago!).
To my wonder the annotations included a description of how Slydini would use 2 linking rings placed over the assistants neck to hold the paper ball in place just as he did it when I saw it! :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/25/01 12:05 PM

The Annotated Magic of Slydini from L&L is REALLY a great book. Guess what? It's selling VERY slowly. All the dealers are sitting with their copies.
Hmmmmmmm........ :confused:
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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 01:16 PM

The difficulty is that The Magic of Slydini is also a great (and well-distributed) book. The annotations are not perceived to add the value associated with the price-tag on the new release....
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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 02:30 PM

Most of the consumers now driving the marketplace are young...or at least much younger than me and my generation. The newbies and young turks prefer to buy the New New Thing (whatever it may be), rather than the old, old classics, annotated or otherwise...
I hang with lots of the New Buyers who are not interested in books by the old guard Vernon, Marlo, Grippo, Rosini, Slydini, Goshman, et al). They want the latest from guys like Sankey, Ammar, and Hollingsworth...

The only older writer-thinker who seems to have allure is Tameriz...

So it goes...
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Postby Michael Edwards » 07/25/01 03:10 PM

Jon, I am not so sure that the challenges facing the annotated Magic of Slydini are just generational. Certainly Slydini's style was of another era and it is hard to imagine his persona resonating with younger magicians...particularly those who never had the opportunity to see him perform. But I think the challenges facing this volume are a bit broader and deeper. First, there is no dearth of Slydini material already in print. This particular book (albiet in its un-annotated form) has been widely available for many years. While the new annotated version certainly refines aspects of the work, these modifications are really at the margins. Moreover, it is augmented by a host of other wonderful Slydini books including the two 2-volume Fulves sets, the Nathanson book, and Tony's material in Stars of Magic. Second, as wonderful as this magic is, much of it is of limited use in many performing settings. Third, the strength of this book is in how carefully it tracks Slydini's approach, method, misdirection, and presentation. Yet Slydini was truly unique. Though he himself insisted that his students learn his routines exactly as he presented them, anyone attempting to mirror Slydini's style and presentation does so at his or her peril. This, of course, brings us to another thread in this Forum. Certainly slavish mimicry can result from videotape, but it can flow from personal instruction or even the written (and illustrated) word as well.

Yes, there is much to learn from the annotations and in some instances they correct real defects in the original descriptions, but the most apparent result is to bring the text into even closer alignment with Slydini's actual handling and presentation. This may be of great value to those who want to study seriously the thought and method behind this master's craft, but of little additional value to those who want to learn the fundamentals of his routines and adapt their handling to their own styles and abilities.

I, for one, believe this book to be an important addition to the literature. But I can understand why it may not be enjoying as widespread sales as some might have thought or hoped.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/25/01 03:21 PM

As one of the younger folks (I'm 21) I can say that, at least for myself, the older authors still hold an interest for me. In fact, thinking about the books in my admittedly small library, most of them are of the older variety. Hugard, Braue, Marlo, Tarbell, Stars of Magic, Allerton, Alan (his own booklets, as well as the new book - btw, 'In A Class By Himself' really served as a kick in the head as to what Don Alan meant to magic at the time. I have to admit that Close Up Time and Pretty Sneaky left me wondering what the big fuss was about him. In a Class by Himself really opened my eyes to his genius). And, while I do own Ammar's book, I can say that I don't own anything by either Jay Sankey or Guy Hollingworth or most other 'new' folks.

The reason that Tamariz probably still has some allure is because he's still around and people can see him perform. Then there's also the fact that his books are rather rare (it took me close to two years to get my hands on a copy of 'Five Points' at a price that I could afford...it'll probably take at least another two years before I can find a copy of "The Magic Way" in my price range..but anyway...), so that increases the interest, as opposed to the books on Vernon, Slydini, and Marlo, which you can get just about anywhere.

Anyhoo...that being said, since I don't own any of the Slydini books yet, the new, annotated book most definitely has a place on my "To Buy" list.

-Jim
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Postby Steve Bryant » 07/25/01 03:22 PM

The question facing buyers (with tons of new stuff on the market) is whether the annotations are worth $60. Matsura was almost too self-deprecatory in his comments in L&L's ad. Likewise with the Jarrett book:
Has $65 in value been added to the Jarrett book that Steinmeyer published via Magic, Inc.? If you never owned either book, then each of course is a must buy. But if you already owned them ...
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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 11:29 PM

As to the comments about younger and older buyers, with me I guess it is like musical taste: the older I get the farther back goes my interest in the magic literature.

I am more likely to be hunting down a first edition Hoffmann volume than purchasing the latest knucklebuster tome (though I did get DrwgRmDcptns by Hollingworth--maybe it was the "looks old" style?).

Perhaps most of the younger set buys off the TOP 40 Hits list while us "older guys" are stuck on the "Oldies" chart?

:cool:
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Postby Jeffrey Cowan » 08/12/01 01:12 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
The Annotated Magic of Slydini from L&L is REALLY a great book. Guess what? It's selling VERY slowly. All the dealers are sitting with their copies.
Hmmmmmmm........ :confused:


Richard: here is an issue that I don't recall either Swiss or Mike Close addressing in their reviews: how much additional information do the annotations contain that is not already in the Fulves books? Put another way, why would a non-collector who already owns the original Mgaic of Slydini plus the two Fulves texts want/need to get the new annotated text?
Much thanks for your comments.
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-- Jeffrey Cowan
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/12/01 02:45 PM

A question I've always asked is...Whether the sales of books is an endless "catch-22"?
Publishers claim the books don't sell well and therefore print few copies. In order to recoup exspenses and turn a profit, the books sell for anywhere from 35-75 dollars.
This is a steep price for a book. I am not questioning the value of any particular book, only a generalization of the prices. Are the prices to much for the average hobbyist, especially for someone not yet out of school and in the working world.
What would happen if the prices were dramatically cut? Would the books sell better and faster? Thereby neccessitating larger runs. Could some production values be eased and still satisfy the buyers?
I realize we could go round and round. I wish I had the money to take the gamble and answer this question. Maybe if enough people respomd with an opinion, Richard might be able give an insiders viewpoint.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/12/01 03:28 PM

I want everyone to read the post before this one in this thread and PLEASE respond before I do!
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Postby Guest » 08/12/01 04:45 PM

My experience is that, there seems to be less appreciation in general for stuff that comes cheap or for free, compared to when an individual has to part with a more substantial amount of money to acquire something of interest.

Just consider all the material attainable, more or less for free, here on the Internet. I wonder how many of us that actually use even a fraction of what we come across.

On a side note. I like books a lot. To be more precise, I love my books. If books in the future are going to come cheaper, the production costs would have to be cut down somewhere on the line. I do not want ugly, poor quality, cheap looking books to save me a couple of bucks.

Then again, if I'm totally wrong about all this, and there is a way to solve this "problem" while maintaining the quality, my wallet will thank the publishers big time. ;)
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/12/01 06:46 PM

As someone who just graduated college, I am familiar with not having enough money to get the tricks, books etc due to lack of funds.
However if we lower the price, this will increase sales. It also increases the number of people who know the secrets and cheapens whats inside. How many newcombers to magic overlook good stuff because the market is flooded with a sleight or trick? Knowledge of magic should be artifically high so those who really deserve to know it invest themselves into it.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/12/01 07:42 PM

With regards to comments as to who "deserves"
to know the secrets, or wether that knowledge cheapens are craft. I can tell you that after a performance is someone asks me to teach them a trick(provided they don't ask for something from my show, or specifically from someone else's), then I do teach them something simple. My feeling being that if they really want to learn, they have just as much right to be taught as you or I. If they really aren't interested in the hobby, whatever moves I teach them will be forgotten ten minutes later.
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Postby David Acer » 08/12/01 09:58 PM

"Knowledge of magic should be artifically high so those who really deserve to know it invest themselves into it."
Brian Marks

First of all, with regards to Brians comment, how much someone "deserves" knowledge should not be proportional to his ability to pay for it (this is class-system thinking, though in fairness to Brian, I suspect he was referring more to a potential buyers willingness to spend the money, rather than his ability. The problem is, high-pricing doesnt distinguish between these).

Secondly, with regards to Larrys initial comment, reducing the price of magic books will not increase sales enough to make the price reduction worthwhile. The market is simply too small. If you sell 10 copies at $50, you would likely only sell 12 copies at $40. Remember what kind of numbers were dealing with here. If you move 2000 copies of a magic book, its considered a best-seller (1000 is quite respectable). And that generates very little profit for the publisher. A few books have exceeded that (Im told Klauses In Concert sold around 4000 copies, as did Ouellets Close-Up Illusions, and The Books of Wonder), but for the most part, there just arent enough potential buyers out there in such a specialized field to apply many of the marketing laws that work when youre dealing with demographics in the millions.
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/12/01 10:22 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by David Acer:
[QB]"Knowledge of magic should be artifically high so those who really deserve to know it invest themselves into it."
Brian Marks

First of all, with regards to Brian's comment, how much someone "deserves" knowledge should not be proportional to his ability to pay for it (this is class-system thinking, though in fairness to Brian, I suspect he was referring more to a potential buyers' willingness to spend the money, rather than his ability. The problem is, high-pricing doesn't distinguish between these).

I apologize for wording it wrong. I am referring to someone's willingness to spend the money
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Postby Guest » 08/12/01 11:20 PM

I understand David's remarks about the market size, but personally speaking, I would buy more magic books if they were cheaper
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Postby Guest » 08/13/01 01:15 AM

Taking the monthly circulation of say Genii or that other MAGICzine as the "english reading literate magic universe" puts a total available market for books at what: 6-10K tops? So 1K copies would represent 10-17% penetration, 2K is 20-34% and so on. If the price of the book was lowered, maybe the best sellers would not sell more (after all 34% is already 1 in three available buyers) but the "non best sellers" would. And maybe the pricing curve could better reflect relative value of the work (or at least its wide appeal) instead of the relatively high fixed cost of production.
Speaking of which: what about alternative sources of media, like say e-books? If you eliminate the printing cost (so as to allow for a lower selling price) would the "Annotated Slydini" releases generate greater sales? ;)
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/13/01 02:56 AM

Question; How would everyone feel about good material in soft cover as opposed to hard cover books? Richard, would this lower the price?
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/13/01 09:24 AM

As I am sure Richard K. will agree, the production value of books (and videos!) is a small part of the overall retail cost. Most non-magic retailers expect a 50% margin on the goods they sell, that means doubling the cost. Magic goods typically have a 40% discount to the "jobber," the wholesaler who distributes to the retailers. Figure out the dollars yourself. How much of a markup is the final retailer making? How much goes to the publisher for distribution to the producers of the book?

Now look at the publisher. A book can take 1 to 2 years to complete. The magician must assemble the material, the author frequently videoapes the magician performing and explaining the effects and writes up the 20 to 50 tricks. The draft is edited (by some poor schlub editor) and photos are taken for illustrations to be made by an artist. The book must be laid out and designed. Then it must be advertised and distributed and unsold copies stored in a warehouse. Most of these people expect to be compensated for their time, as well as the publisher, who must front the money.

Cheaper books? Not bloody likely.

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Postby Guest » 08/13/01 01:33 PM

First, I love books. I always have, and most likely always will.
Being relatively new to the art of magic (practicing), I have found, again, that books are invaluable learning tools. Not to mention the enjoyment that comes from reading them.
I have purchased a few books with high dollar amounts. I have chalked that up to the author/publisher making a living.
What I refuse to do, is be held hostage by e-bay and pay outrageous amounts for out of print materials.
I think that if the publishers were to reprint older titles (and charge accordingly)
they will have a market (however small the press run is)
So, if I have to pay $40 - $50 for a reprint or "annotated" version, and it is material that I want to study, I will save up and try and purchase it.
But, on the other hand, if a cheaper version was made available (softcover?), I would not hesitate for one minute to purchase said materials.

Incidently, who decides what material is reprintable? I have been trying to obtain a copy of Frank Garcia's Encyclopedia of Sponge Ball Magic. And the prices are OUTRAGEOUS! Is this book really worth it? Or am I falling victim to the e-bay conspiracy.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/15/01 08:38 PM

People, we need some more comments and opinions regarding the pricing of books(as per this thread). This will enable Richard to give us some informed answers, which will take into account the views of the buying public.
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Postby Guest » 08/15/01 11:33 PM

There are many magic books out there that I would love to buy. Now that I have been out of the trick buying phase for a while, I have turned to collecting books for both reference and new knowledge. The problem for me is that books are too expensive to buy. If I had a way to get books for less, there is no doubt that I would buy many more. I think the problem is that the price of books are, at least for me, just over that threshold amount where I really have to consider whether or not it is worth my investment. To put things into perspective, I would have to say that I have probably spent a lot more money on lecture notes since they are usually between 10 and 15 dollars. Because the cost of lecture notes is small, I don't worry as much about whether or not I will find things that I will use. Its not a big loss. On the other hand, I have a few books that I paid 40 or so dollars for and have gotten nothing out of. That makes me a little more selective before I buy more. On the other hand, since I have thought about publishing in the future, I think that 40 dollars or more is not enough to pay for the lifelong work, creativity, and originality that a book represents to its author. It is also for this reason that I buy lecture notes, since I know the money goes directly to the creator. Also, if there is book I want, sometimes I will wait to meet the author at a convention and buy it directly. So I don't mind paying more if I know that my money is going to the author and publisher who worked hard to bring the material to the public. It doesn't seem right that a magic dealer should make 40-50% without really doing any work, not even a demo. Don't get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of magic shops/dealers. I have yet to buy a trick from the internet, I always wait to buy it at a shop. But for some reason, I don't like to buy books that way. So yes, I would buy more books if they were cheaper, but needless to say, price is not the only factor in any purchase.
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Postby Guest » 08/16/01 01:54 AM

OK, to complete the e-book idea: maybe magic book releases should be more like movies: "Test Market" each book (similar to movie sneak previews) for example either by determining pre sales orders or by making a limited "on demand" printing , then decide whether to release "theater saturation" (moderate to big print run), in "boutique theaters only" (stay with "on demand" printing with higher price/lower volume) or release "direct to video" (ie: e-book release at lowest price). The "e-book release" could also be used as a second release for books which have had a successful first printing but cannot sell a full second printing or for long out of print books (I think this may already exists to a certain extent with some public domain magic material?).

I realize none of this will reduce the non-printing preparation costs of the book but by determining demand upfront and then setting the appropriate release media profits can be maximized, losses can be minimized (a total bomb need not go through full print run only to sit on the shelf/in the warehouse) and the "pay $40 for a book with no good material" dissatisfaction experience can be reduced/eliminated.

Those still awake after reading this, please go get yourselves a cup of coffee! :eek:
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Postby Guest » 08/16/01 12:06 PM

An important factor that needs to be empasized (but that Brian Marks and Karl Hein touched on) is that the value of a magic book is NOT soley based on price to the consumer. Part of the value is its exclusivity and the overall quality of the contents. How many times have we purchased a book with the thought in mind "if I'm the first in my magic club to have this—I may fool the pants off of them next month." There have been many times where I would have gladly have paid even more than I did knowing fewer people would own the book. (I am thinking of Harry Riser's book specifically). Knowing you would have paid more for certain books (or other items) gives a value proposition that most people don't consider often.

The same point goes for out-of-print books. My most prized magic possessions in the mid 90s were copies of "Malini and his Magic" and "The Leipzig Book" because none of my peers had copies. I honestly wouldn't have thought that way if they hadn't been out of print/hard to find for a while.

I read these posts with great interest, because I had written my masters thesis on pricing strategy. (I promise not to bore you with the details)
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Postby David Acer » 08/16/01 01:32 PM

I wonder if theres a market for annual, bound versions of The Best of The Genii Forum, encapsulating the most interesting threads from the previous year. End transmission.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 08/16/01 02:11 PM

Hi, David. I'm not against it but I think it might change the informal mood of the forum, which is more like talking among friends than writing something that will go on record.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 08/16/01 02:29 PM

Regarding Larry's comments on prices of books, I'd give a big no to soft-cover, unless a book is published in both formats. One thing to consider is too many books lie unread in our libraries. There are just too many. To really get the return for your investment, you gotta read the book. If you actually read it and it's acceptably good it will be well worth your money.
I've shown stuff from great, best-selling books (like Hamman's or The Vernon Chronicles) to many magicians, and hardly anybody recognizes the stuff. And people do it to me all the time as well. Now ask the same people if they have read the Hamman book and they'll go: "Oh yeah, Hamman." Incidentally, I might finish it one of these days.
See what happened in the Royal Monte thread. It's from a highly important classic book (Stars of Magic) and it seems very few were familiar with the trick, probably because it's near the end of the book.

[ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: Rafael Benatar ]
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Postby Guest » 08/16/01 05:58 PM

A lot of magicians complain about the price of magic books, but actually they are cheap or at least comparable to books serving other professional markets, such as medical, legal, scientific, academic, etc. In my day job, I publish a healthcare newsletter. Annual subscription price is $480. People subscribe because they simply can't get the information anywhere else and they know it's worth every penny.
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Postby Guest » 08/16/01 08:21 PM

I don't believe the price of books is enough (ducking for cover). Sorry, but in many cases, you could earn a living with the magic contained in some books. Hardly relative when the price is considered. It only takes one trick in a book to spark something creative in you and the new trick, that is your own, is created. Perhaps it's the trick that sells 1,000,000 copies, perhaps it's the trick that gets you on t.v. or hired for a show.

Take Apocolyse for instance. You just can't complain about the 70-80 price tag on each volume. There is a lifetime of magic on each volume. What's that worth to you? To me, it's worth the $160.

Spending 40 years developing sleights and illusions only to be gathered into 300 pages and sold for $20 hardly seems the right thing to do, in my opinion.
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Postby Michael Edwards » 08/16/01 09:21 PM

I must say that I am somewhat dumbfounded by the notion that magic books cost too much. I do understand that there are many, many magicians of limited financial means who find it difficult to purchase all of the books they would like and from which they might benefit. I wish I knew of a way to help alleviate this constraint. And I know that we would all like all of our purchases to cost less. But the fact remains that good magic books remain a true bargain given the information that's imparted, the value to the reader/performer, and the relatively small publication run for even the most succesful of magic texts. Take a look at this week's New York Times bestseller list. The average price of the ten top selling fiction hardcover books in America is over $24. These books are generally light, if engrossing, reads with no continuing value except whatever momentary pleasure the reader may have gained from the tale. Their production demands are relatively simple: just text and a dustjacket...no illustrations or photographs. And they are produced in very substantial quantities, allowing enormous economies of scale. Yet even at these prices, they can sell tens of thousands of copies to individuals whose only interest in their contents is passing time on an airplane or in a deckchair at the beach. Sure there are magic books that aren't worth the paper on which they're printed (anyone want to start this interesting and provocative thread? ;) And I can't say that every magic book is worth the price...but generally speaking, they are a great value.
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Postby Guest » 08/16/01 11:46 PM

More than most Magic Books, and a lot less lasting:



  • A round of Golf at a good course, including cart & balls,
  • A mid-range restaurant meal with wine & tip,
  • Watching the Clippers (Buccaneers, Nuggets, Devil Rays, Blues, etc.) with parking & junk food,
  • A half-year's newspaper subscription,
  • A half-year's cable subscription,
  • Crappy movie with freeloading guest, parking, popcorn & drinks (and babysitting makes it more than just about any Anthology),
  • Haircut, and month's worth of dry cleaning,
  • A pair of running shoes,
  • Don't even get me going on a month's worth of Designer Coffee,
  • If you smoke, you already know,
  • A day in Disneyland/Epcot/Six Flags/Raging Waters – name your poison,
  • Software you had to have and never used.

Need I go on? In the past year and a half I've “listened” and “talked” online with magicians two stereotypes emerge; they are cheap and they are ingrates.

Most books represent a magician's life work, provide more method and ideas than are ever assimilated, and to this day remain a bargain to be had.

Randy Campbell
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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 07:24 AM

$50 is a small price to pay if an effect from the book you purchased played well in your hands and landed paying gigs as a result. For the working magician, the magic book is a necessary tool that can (or should) help gain future employment.

In other words, a good magic book could pay for itself many times over (if you want to perform professionally, of course).
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/17/01 09:11 AM

Here's one more thought. Open up your drawer -- your "magic drawer" -- and take a gander inside. How much have you spent on pure crapola that you bought, fooled with, and put to rest in that graveyard. One or two of these worthless items is as much as you pay for a book filled with dozens (usually) of effects which you can adapt, use as a stimulus to your thinking, even perhaps add to your repertoire.

Remember the Ariston Arising cards? The signature duplicating card thingy? Anyone using these $50 tricks today, raise your hand.

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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 10:00 AM

I was hoping Richard Kaufman would write his thoughts being a publisher of magic books. It seems he is still holding back. So I will share my opinion and experience.

Are magic books too expensive or too cheap? My answer to this is that the market determines the price, and has done so in the past. If the price is too high they wouldn't sell, the publisher would go out of business. If they are too low the publisher would as well not make enough profit and sooner or later go out of business or find better ways to invest his money. In some sense it is a self regulating system. This also means that there are always some who think they are too expensive and some that they are too cheap.

Let's consider some facts. A typical hardcover book with a run of ~2000 costs ~$5/copy to print. The problem with printing is that loading and setting up a printing machine is time consuming and costly. That is why a run of less than 1000 books doesn't make much sense to begin with. If less than 1000 books are printed the prices have to be considerably higher. Take a look at my last book published under Springer Verlag. You have to shell out $125 for it and it has just under 300 pages.

Is there a way to make books cheaper? Yes there are ways. One is larger print runs. But we know already there is a limit to it in the magic market. Another one is cheaper production (softcover). But all of these would only shave off a few dollars. Not a significant reduction, because the biggest cost are in the distribution chain of books. Books are heavy and take up space.

You have the publisher, then the distributor, then the dealer. Everyone and rightly so has to make a profit to be able to run his business. And there are real costs associated with running any business or service. So for you to be able to walk into your local dealer and browse a book you pay about 5x to 7x more than what the book really costs to produce.

The answer to making books a lot more cheaper but still compensate the author higher are - you guessed it - EBOOKS. And there are several reasons why this is so.

i) No large print runs neccessary. Meaning there is much less money to put up front to finance an ebook.

ii) Distribution cost can be held very low due to the possibility of electronic distribution through the internet. Even the CD distribution the way my shop (Lybrary.com) is favoring is much cheaper. We can pack literally hundreds of ebooks on one silver disk and our customers pay only the distribution for a single disc and not a several pounds heavy package.

iii) Direct sales chain from publisher to end consumer. There is no need to involve distributors or individual dealers. Read why Dell Computers was so successful. It was direct marketing through the internet cutting out distributors and dealers. The same thing I am doing with Lybrary.com. Our CDs and ebooks are only available through us online. This means you do not have to pay any profit margins of distributors and dealers. This also means that I am able to pay much higher royalties to authors than a regular publisher does and can.

iv) Storage costs are low for the publisher as well as the consumer. Any medium to large publisher knows that running a warehouse incures a significant cost to operate. Ebooks are stored on hard discs or tapes which do not cost a whole lot. Even the consumer can save a lot of money storing his books on a few discs rather than having to dedicate a basement or library for his books.

The economics are the reason why ebooks will in the end win over books, or at least become just as important and large a market as books are now. Certainly, this will not happen overnight due mainly to the human inability and desire to change. All the other reasons which are usually put forth, such as the small available ebook selection, and technological considerations are minor issues compared to the human aspect.

To put it very clearly. If you want to get cheaper magic books and at the same time ensure that the author receives more money per sold copy, buy ebooks.

Chris.....
Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 02:11 PM

Chris,
I really don't care for e-books. They strain my eyes, you can't make notes in the margins easily, and they're not convenient. Print books: open it and read it. E-books: boot up devise, load book, click around, read flickering screen. Besides my books never crash.

Maybe it's because magic is mostly a hobby for me, but I'd rather pay more for the convenience of a book. Besides, I believe content is what drives price, not delivery vehicle. (Dell, by the way, is the high-price vendor. It's cheaper to go to Staples and buy a Compaq)...
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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 03:43 PM

Several folks have mentioned the possibility of getting a good effect from a ~$40 book, and adding to your performance, thus making the book a bargain. This is true, but I (and I believe most consumers of books/videos/lecture notes/etc.) am not a working pro, so the logic doesn't apply to me. I read magic books for entertainment, just like I read mass market fiction. But I can get discounts of up to 40% on fiction best sellers, so the comparison for me is $40 for Simon Aronson's new book, vs. $15-20 for the newest Grisham or Stephen King (or $6 - 8 if I wait for paperback). This doesn't address the "value" of what is inside, it just outlines the decision making process that I, a consumer of magic books, go through.

By the way, I'll end up with Aronson's new book, and a whole lot more this year. My 5 foot shelf is now up to about 18 feet.

Also, on Ebooks, I can take a hundred year old magic book and read it just as easily as Houdini could have. But in my office, I have 8" and 5-1/4" floppies (formatted for several different sizes), Bernoulli (of 3 different sizes) and Syquest removable drives, all less than 20 years old, that I can't read. I've got 100 meg, 250 meg, and 1 gig Zip/Jazz drives that are likely of limited life. My Fiance works for Nasa, who regularly throws away data from Voyager/Pioneer/etc missions that cost billions of dollars to obtain, because there are no machines that can read the tape. CD's seem to have a little longer lifespan than some formats, but I bet dollars to donuts that in 20 years, data on CD's will be an anachronism. Keep printing paper books.

Bill Mullins
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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 04:20 PM

Bill,
The content of the book is the key. Price is based in part on whether you are able to get the information anywhere else. It's not just about whether there is a professional application vs. just enjoyment. My mom paints for a hobby, and buys these art books from places like MOMA and Met for $50, $60, $100 a pop. True, you can get a Stephen King book for $6, but there are many more substitutes than there are for that Aaronson book you're about to buy.... :)
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Postby Guest » 08/18/01 12:05 AM

Talk about timing. I got home today only to find that CD from Lybrary.com had been delivered. So when I read the last few posts I popped it into my PC. I now have a 5mm shelf of books! ;)

While I agree browsing an e-book will never replace the tactile experience of combing through a book, and while I already have a few suggested improvements for "e-bookdom", I have to say that this, my first experience with e-magic-books, leads me to believe that they have a place in the magic world and won't go away.

I ordered it by pointing and clicking on the books I wanted; The cd came a few days later. With high speed internet connections coming, I suppose we can eventually just download directly and save the shipping costs!

So here's a view of the (perhaps not so distant) future: Log onto your favorite "e-publisher" website. Click on your favorite author/magic creator and then read the latest trick descriptions. Click again and view a streaming video presentation of the trick. Like it? Click and order it; and have it your way: download a PDF file to view on your PC or print out at home (and make all the margin notes you want without worrying about defacing the book!) or click on the "video" instruction option and download that to your PC for viewing and learning.

When you have finished clicking on all the great new tricks you want you can even choose another option: Get a "customized/personalized" bound copy of the "book" of tricks you have chosen printed on demand. Maybe even a whole routine you create yourself as you browse.

You get only the stuff you really want. There is more royalty $ for the creator and more profit and less upfront costs for the publisher. Pricing can better reflect real value of the material, and you the consumer end up with more choices and better return for a $ invested in books.

Guess what: it can all happen today.....

:cool:
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 08/18/01 04:59 AM

I'm lousy with computers, and maybe someone can explain the following to me.

After an e-book has been sold and delivered, how is an author or a publisher going to prevent the possibility of further spreading of the contents of the e-book over the Internet? I am well aware of that a book equally can be copied by any ruthless individual, but it seems to me as if e-books are more likely to be distributed without authorization. Are there already means to prevent this? If not, why should anyone want to publish material on a CD-rom or via the internet.

Peter Grning

[ August 18, 2001: Message edited by: PGroning ]
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