Miracle Factory e-Books

Addresses new and interesting links to other sites (not listed on the Genii website) that merit attention.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 12/22/12 02:21 PM

In case you didnt know, Todd Karrs Miracle Factory has some really fine eBooks available. The prices start at only $4.99. Most are $9.99 while some are $19.99.

There are over 175 titles and it seems like Todd is adding more all the time (sign up for his newsletter while visiting the sight, and he often offers great specials to his subscribers).

The subjects range from close-up to illusions, mentalism, history and biography, theory, and kindred arts. Authors include Annemann, Bertram, Robert-Houdin, Maskelyne and Devant, Blitz, Burlingame, Downs, Chanin, Thurston, Houdini, and collectors will want to check out all the titles by James Findlay.

Check it out at:

http://miraclefactory.net/zenstore/inde ... ex&cPath=6

Dustin
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 12/22/12 03:33 PM

.Pdf format only is a bit of a turnoff for those of us with smaller reading devices (e-ink or tablet).

I bought "The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings" pdf from L&L a while back, took about an hour to do a "quick and dirty" conversion of it to .epub and while it's not perfect, it's so much easier to read and works great on my 7 inch Nexus 7 tablet or even my nook e-reader.

While I realize conversion to .epub takes a bit of time (but not as much as some people would have you think) I'd love to see these people selling .PDFs take at least of few of the higher end titles and give them an .epub conversion.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 12/22/12 03:46 PM

While I prefer PDF, some people might be interested in the steps and software required to convert to epub.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 12/22/12 04:01 PM

It helps to have access to a fairly high end OCR software package. These generally aren't cheap, but I suspect some of the lesser ones would work in a pinch.

The better software automatically break down the text/graphics into discrete zones. At that point one quickly flips through the pages and adjusts any zones that might need it. As long as the source material uses a fairly normal typeface and layout, there shouldn't be too many textual errors.

Once this fine tuning is done (zones readjusted) the text needs to be run through the OCR engine once again. At that point, I output the text/graphics to a straight html format.

Since some of the graphics will no doubt be too wide for one's e-reader, it's important to find out the resolution of the device. Once that's known, I run a batch graphics converter on all the images (normally in one directory) to shrink them down to a size that will work on smaller screens.

Now I have a decent version of the book in HTML format. I use the open source (free to use) program "Calibre" to convert said .html files into nice .epub format. And that's normally all it takes.

If one wanted to fine tune the final product, that can be accomplished with the open source program "Sigil", which works quite well. Since I only wanted something "quick, dirty, and usable" in this case, I was able to use the .epub directly after I converted it via "Calibre".

while I would not recommend this to the average user, there are plenty of tech savvy guys out there who could do at least a reasonable job in a fairly small amount of time (contingent on knowledge and having the proper tools).
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Postby Gordon Meyer » 12/22/12 04:04 PM

It is easy if you're satisfied with "quick and dirty" results. One tool is Calibre. <http://calibre-ebook.com>

I can understand why publishers don't do this, as investing the time to make sure the results are worthy of a commercial product is not trivial. It's the final 20% effort that takes the vast majority of the time, and the design of the book is destroyed in the process.
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 12/22/12 04:08 PM

At the seven inch form factor, I personally don't care about losing the design of the book. I just want the data and images in a useful format. The 7 inch format is so tight that I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect beauty there in terms of layout.

It's true that the last bits are harder if one wants a more polished result, but once again, I'd say that it's still not outrageously hard. It's just a matter of using something like "sigil" or any good html editor (before conversion) to make the final tweaks. The tools available these days (even the free ones) are pretty spectacularly useful for anyone willing to learn how to use them.

For larger tablets (10+ inches) .pdf is reasonably acceptable, though probably not ideal.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/22/12 08:05 PM

Straight up pdfs are no problem on my iPad. I prefer larger type than is normally available on items formatted for iPad size, so I am always zooming and scrolling anyway.
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Postby mrgoat » 12/22/12 08:16 PM

Ian Kendall wrote:While I prefer PDF, some people might be interested in the steps and software required to convert to epub.


Indesign does export to ePub.

;)
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Postby Smurf » 12/23/12 10:46 PM

For those with Ask Alexander access, there are 15 Miracle Factory books available for reading. It certainly isn't practical for reading a lot of pages, but it can still be worth your time if you have something specific you want to investigate.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/27/13 05:15 PM

I see that Todd has added the Al Baker books to his inventory. If you don't have his Baker compilation book (or you want the material for your e-reader), this is awesome news. When you hear today's thinkers talk about studying magic's great past thinkers, Al Baker is one of them!

http://miraclefactory.net/zenstore/inde ... ex&cPath=6
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/28/13 11:14 AM

I get a "This Account Has Been Suspended" message from all miraclefactory.net links.
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Postby pduffie » 01/28/13 11:41 AM

I get this message, too.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/28/13 11:43 AM

I've always had trouble with the miraclefactory website in terms of speed, and access has been sporadic for me.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/28/13 02:39 PM

??? It was fine for me yesterday and it's fine now.
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Postby Mark Collier » 01/28/13 05:36 PM

Makes me nervous. He's had my money for the Impromptu book for years. I'm on the fence about asking for a refund because I'd rather have the book if it ever comes out.
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Postby mrgoat » 01/28/13 07:23 PM

Dustin Stinett wrote:??? It was fine for me yesterday and it's fine now.


It had a blip today where clearly the hosting bill hadn't been paid.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/28/13 07:38 PM

As of 3:30 pm PST "Oops Google Chrome could not find miraclefactory.net"
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Postby Pete McCabe » 01/28/13 08:46 PM

Got in at 4:45.
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