I'd like to preface this by saying I am not a card expert. I am, however, a student of card magic. I have many of the classic, must-read books on card effects, but I believe that J.K. Hartman's "Card Craft" took me to the next step. It is for the advancing/intermediate student and performer.
In the "Buyers Guide" preface to Card Craft, Mr. Hartman points out that his book contains "260 separately titled items with over 1500 illustrations by Joseph K. Schmidt." At 669 pages, the book is huge. For me, the clear, concise descriptions and Mr. Schmidt's fine illustrations made this material very accessible to me.
Is a copy of Card Craft worth the $412.00 someone just paid for it on E-bay? I can't say, since I don't routinely spend that much on any books. Would I part with my copy for that amount? Only if I was desperate to put food on the table, and I was somehow unable to perform or work.
I would like to retract my earlier statement here, when I said that I hoped the book might not be reprinted. That was unnecessary. My feeling was based on my experiences when I spent years searching for a copies of particular books, paid relatively high prices for them, and then devoted time to learning and polishing their routines. At that point, many times the books are then reprinted, or the hard-to-find material is cherry-picked in the "Easy to Master" mode.
My feeling now is that good magic books, a rare commodity in today's world of instant publishing, deserve to remain in print. The "real work" secrets will remain hidden in their pages, because as Jeff Haas pointed out, "Joe Magic in the local club wants a video." :o
"No Dough, No Show" - Stan Kramien
"What the mind harbors, the body manifests." - Tohei Koichi