Criss Angel – Quarter Through Soda Can available for rental!!!!

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Guest » 03/07/06 10:17 AM

Zip.ca, Canadas equivalent to Netflix, is offering Criss Angels coin in can DVD for rental.

Thanks Criss. Good job keeping secrets within the magic community. This is the first and last product I will purchase of his.

Im looking forward to Zip.ca receiving Criss Angels Levitation DVD which will save me a wad of dough.

Hey, I might even suggest that Zip.ca purchase all of the magic DVDs onthe market, which will save me even more.
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Postby JC Stardust » 03/07/06 10:50 AM

This is really sad to see that some video clubs or on line services such as zip.ca can offer "specialized" DVDs.

Is there something we can do?

Can we actually write to Criss Angel and/or zip.ca and ask them to remove it from the list of DVDs ?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/07/06 11:00 AM

Originally posted by pierredan:
...Good job keeping secrets within the magic community....I might even suggest that Zip.ca purchase all of the magic DVDs onthe market, which will save me even more.
Where is the boundary between the "magic community" and open society?

A muggle can walk into a magic shop and pick up that DVD and all the rest they can afforded for mere dollars. The example cited above is just "free trade" in action.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/07/06 11:19 AM

Why would you blame Criss? The company probably just ordered some copies like anyone else.
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Postby Guest » 03/07/06 11:51 AM

Richard,

My frustration with Criss has everything to do with what many complained about in the first place: this effect is too good for the general public.

I believe the review in Genii was somewhat along the same lines. This effect should have been made more exclusive in order to protect this wonderful and novel method.

Many arguments were presented for both sides. People justified Criss decision to market this DVD directly to the public by reasoning that anyone who would spend $30 plus shipping (lets say $35) would most likely have a serious enough interest in magic to not reveal the secret to everyone (assuming they dont during the performance).

Well, Zip.ca and Netflix changes this situation. People pay their monthly membership and scramble to rent anything that may peak their fancy. So there is no more need to hunt down a store that sells the coin in can DVD, shell out $35 to possess this secret. All you have to do is click on send me the DVD, watch it in fast forward to find out how its done, brag to your friends you know how Criss does this trick and move on the next movie rental in you Zip list.

I was under the impression that Criss wanted to be known as the next big name in magic. Maybe the next David Copperfield (maybe not the best example, but Criss has definitely had a lot more exposure than DC lately).

By selling these master secrets so easily to the public, I am getting the impression he wants to become the next Michael Ammar, master merchandiser of magic (no offence to MA, I buy all of his stuff).

Did DC ever market the close-up effects that he performed on his TV specials? Sure, some were available from the magic dealers but DCs picture wasnt on it and you couldnt just order it anywhere. You had to know where there was a magic dealer and go hunting for it.

I wonder if more people will begin to feel like I do once their $100 DVD on Criss levitation is available for rental.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/07/06 12:43 PM

And how do you know the $100 DVD will be available for rental? I'd wait until you actually see it before you start talking about.
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Postby Guest » 03/07/06 06:53 PM

Wow, the way you are reacting I would have thought you invented the trick...I think the person who did, and Criss Angel, have the right to do with it as they please...it may upset you, but thats the deal, sounds like you are just upset that something cool can't be just yours. And I don't really think that too many people are going to be getting the DVD via rental anyway, at least no more than those who would take a magic book out of the Library...Oh that must be bad too huh, wouldn't want any way to get more people interested in magic. Try taking in a deep breath and realizing there is not a thing you can really do about this, and let it go, Criss Angel is doing things differentlly yes, Like DC? no. Like MA? uh nope. he is leading us in a new direction and while it seems like some ideas may be a bad choice, he has a great team helping him drive and I am sure there will be bumps in the road, but I think the destination is going to be something great, I for one can't wait to see how all this changes magic.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 03/07/06 07:11 PM

Pierredan, my good man, out of devious curiosity I looked up Mr. Angel on Netflix, and the only product listed is the compilation of Season 1. This, of course would contain the performance, but not the explanation of Quarter in Soda Can. May I respectfully ask whether what you saw listed is the actual instruction DVD, or merely the series compilation?

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Postby odomenech » 03/07/06 07:15 PM

Correct me if I am wrong, but it would be illegal to rent a dvd without permission. When you purchase a dvd you aren't purchasing the rights to do with the material as you please, you are purchasing a license for private home viewing of the material on that dvd. It is not legal for you to buy a dvd and then show it in a movie theatre. Neither is it legal for you to rent it out. The Masterminds DVD's are sold for private home use only, not for rental. If this is being done, it is being done with Criss Angel's permission or it is being done ilegally. Can anyone contact Criss Angel's management? This may be something they don't know about and are interested in putting a stop to.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 03/07/06 07:27 PM

Bill,

He said Zip.ca the Canadian equivalent of NetFlix. He didnt say it was available at NetFlix.

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Postby Pete Biro » 03/07/06 07:49 PM

I just went to www.zip.ca and searched "Criss Angel" and yes the coin in can DVD is online.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 03/07/06 08:03 PM

Guys, I went to Netflix for comparison purposes. I didn't check out zip.ca because I'm lazy, and don't have it bookmarked as I do Netflix. For those who might care, I'm not that big a numbskull to realize in the USA one can also access Canadian web pages. Thus my second DUH of the day . . .
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Postby Guest » 03/07/06 09:01 PM

I don't have the Criss Angel DVD, but looking at other magic DVDs many carry the statement Not Available For Rental. Was the Angel DVD not marked in this way? It would seem you'd lose money if it was being rented on a large basis.
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Postby CraigMitchell » 03/08/06 03:50 AM

Well - this DVD plus many more are available for immediate download on the file sharing networks. I don't know whether this should be an even bigger cause for concern ?

When piracy reaches the world of magic - as it has done in music & movies - what are the implications ...
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/08/06 11:53 AM

... the implications is that we must become better at our art.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/08/06 12:42 PM

Originally posted by Craig Mitchell:
Well - this DVD plus many more are available for immediate download on the file sharing networks. I don't know whether this should be an even bigger cause for concern ?

When piracy reaches the world of magic - as it has done in music & movies - what are the implications ...
There always were (photo)copyists, and likely always will be. Thanks to the internet the discovery time of junk and poorly produced items is MUCH faster.

Fortunately those who respect themselves and understand what that means as far as other people go (golden rule) always have and will still buy products they find of use.
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Postby John Wilson » 03/08/06 01:47 PM

I would agree that Mr. Angel and the effect's creator can do with the item what they wish. However, when this item is sold to magicians it comes with the normal, inflated price of magic dvds. Is there some other single disk dvd that you would pay $30+ for? I wouldn't, but I frequently pay the inflated prices for magic dvds and books. If you are going to sell it to the public, then go all out and sell it everywhere. Offer it for rental, make t-shirts explaining the effect, but don't market it to me as a magician. The magic dvds and books that I purchase from magic dealers come with the expectation of at least a little bit of exclusivity.
If I were to purchase his $100 dvd and see it available for rental at blockbuster (I am of course aware that this is not so as of yet), I would never purchase anything from the man again. I would feel betrayed.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/09/06 08:16 AM

It's sentences like this that make me wonder why I killed myself for 25 years writing books:
"inflated prices for magic dvds and books."

If you had any idea of the time and effort it takes to write, illustrate and/or photograph, and publish a magic book when you're doing it all yourself, and for the piddling amount of copies you sell, you'd never make a statement like that.
People who publish magic books are lucky to be able to pay their bills.
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Postby Bill McFadden » 03/09/06 11:00 AM

RK,

As my sixth grade nun used to say, "Joke 'em if they can't take a f***!" :D

Yer pal,
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Postby David Alexander » 03/09/06 11:43 AM

I'll second RK's sentiment. I was a niche publisher for the Alexander Technique community for over ten years and actually got complaints that I was charging "too much" ($9.95) for a book that had been out of print for 40 years. I thought I was doing the community a favor by putting it back in print, but some thought I was unjustly "enriching" myself....at $9.95 a pop. Sheesh!

Few realize the amount of time and work and MONEY that goes into producing a book - all of which must be put up front for profits "later." Often the profits take a year or two or three to appear.

Then, of course, there's the dealing with wholesale customers who don't pay their bills on time and other impediments to making a decent living. I look back and wonder why I bothered, since my time would have been better spent performing.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/09/06 12:03 PM

Good grief! Let's get real. I looked at the site and the DVD in question is buried in almost 600 other titles. I suspect the company simply bought a package or ordered everything with Criss Angel's name on it. How many people are willing to PAY a rental fee and go to the trouble to find out the secret of a close up magic trick?

This is not the end of Western Civilization....

There are a few other things to be concerned about as opposed to getting a rope and hunting up Criss with an angry mob.

The general public still manages to be fooled by the Linking Rings even though it's been exposed in children's magic sets for decades. The public is still fooled by the Center Tear, even though it's been exposed in beginner magic books for years. Etc., etc.

Dunninger deliberately exposed his own methodology in a nationally distributed magazine to stop the sales to magicians of a manuscript that detailed his method and presentation. The sales dried up but Dunninger, a very smart guy who knew how the world worked, continued with great success for decades.
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Postby John LeBlanc » 03/09/06 12:42 PM

Originally posted by John Wilson:
Is there some other single disk dvd that you would pay $30+ for?
Yes, there are. Plenty of them as a matter of fact. And they all fit the same profile as magic DVDs and books: specialized knowledge offered to a limited market. I can think of two titles right now that cost over $125 each and worth ten times what I paid.

Originally posted by John Wilson:
I wouldn't, but I frequently pay the inflated prices for magic dvds and books. If you are going to sell it to the public, then go all out and sell it everywhere.
I'm going to share a quote I hear often enough. I think it fits you like a glove: "John, you need to get out more."

Are some things over priced? In my opinion, yes. But not all, and not most. (But that's just my opinion.) I actually take the time to research a purchase and rarely get stung when I do so.

If there's some way on God's good, green earth you can justify the sweeping generalization that magic DVDs and books are over priced, I'll point out there's a simple way around that: get another hobby.

John
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Postby Guest » 03/09/06 04:51 PM

I appreciate you folks publishing material so that I may learn magic. Thank you.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/09/06 09:24 PM

Originally posted by John Wilson:
However, when this item is sold to magicians it comes with the normal, inflated price of magic dvds.

John, let me explain something to you that you apparently do not understand: Magic is a tiny market.

Magic books are almost always printed in editions of 500 or 1,000. Most of the time there is no second edition. There are a few titles that have done extremely well - some have become classics that remain in print - but, like most books, nearly all magic books have a finite life of limited sales to a tiny market. There is no financial incentive for additional copies.

I know some of the sales figures of a leading magic publisher. I won't break a confidence, but his sales, in comparrison to a large publisher, would be considered a fly speck, hardly worth desk space in a New York publisher's office.

That's why most magic publishing companies are one-man operations....or, at the most, tiny operations with a few supporting individuals who do order taking and fulfilment.

Magic DVDs, books, and videos are not overpriced. If anything, they're underpriced. As an example, my most recent purchase, "The Magic of Paul Potassy," is ridiculously priced at $45. For that paltry sum you get the summation of a man's 50+ year career... material that has been audience-tested for decades, effects and presentations that earned him a substantial amount of money...all detailed so they can be rehearsed and performed. The value received to the price paid is absurd....and yet you complain about "over pricing."

As an example of dealing with people who know the value of things, a leading corporate performer is a friend of mine. He was interested in material developed and presented by another friend some years back. I put them together and a sale was arranged. A 25-minute routine, complete with props, DVDs explaining the work and a multi-year exclusive: $5,000.

That's how it's done in the real world by people who know the real value of things.
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Postby magicam » 03/10/06 02:10 AM

Bill McFadden wrote
As my sixth grade nun used to say, "Joke 'em if they can't take a f***!"
Wow, that sixth grader sure made an early career decision! :D


Speaking as one who has gained a little (emphasis on little) experience in publishing, I can vouch for how time consuming it is, and (for me) how its not a very profitable venture. Its a great feeling to have someone write and thank me for the effort, because thats about the only external reward there is. But I do it for fun, not to put bread on the table, so thats a little different and much less stressful than the businesses of professional magic publishers.

Is it just me, or have others here observed that the message is often seemingly tied to the messenger and/or person being discussed, and processed and responded to accordingly?

Here we have a guy who has vociferously protested the widespread public availability for rental of a relatively expensive (for one trick, at least) DVD which explains an apparently pretty nifty magic trick, largely because (I gather) he bought the DVD thinking that it would only be available to other magicians through the typical distribution channels. He has also assumed that Zip.ca is offering the DVD for rental with the blessing of Criss Angel, which may or may not be true and thats a pretty important part of this discussion, it seems.

There appear to be two primary issues here (besides the interesting sidebar about the difficulty of making a living by publishing magic books): (1) exposure and (2) exclusivity. The pros and cons of exposure have been debated here and elsewhere ad nauseum. So theres not much to say on that topic, except to add that excusing Criss Angels assumed actions because they are within his legal rights has absolutely nothing to do with the question of what he ought to do vis--vis the mores of magic.

By the exclusivity issue, Im referring to the exclusivity expectations that a magician-purchaser might have when buying a DVD or book which explains tricks and in this case, apparently good ones at that. I could be wrong on this, but I think its fair to say that most magicians who purchase how-to books or DVDs published outside of the mainstream (i.e., published by dedicated magic publishers such as Kaufman, Hermetic Press, L&L, etc., and not major publishing houses) expect that such books/DVDs are not going to be advertised and actively made available to the general public. In other words, these purchasers expect that the book/DVD in question is limited in distribution to magi only its exclusive to the magic community.**

Taking it one step further, even within our tiny magic community, there is exclusivity, as evidenced by extremely limited edition publications. So, for example, if an edition of 100 copies is published, then the buyers expectation is that only 100 magicians can have access to the secrets within. The same idea applies when a publisher claims that a publication will not be reprinted (although, as we know, sometimes this no reprint promise is broken). There are hundreds of examples of publications which have been issued over the decades which have just such an appeal: exclusivity. So it seems to me that, whether or not its often discussed or made an express part of advertising, the concept of exclusivity is a very real element of the magic psyche and economy.

To some, this concept of exclusivity translates to value for the dollar: theyre willing to pay more if they think that few others will have access to this or that secret. And for a professional, exclusivity is sometimes crucial and worth paying a lot of money for. That was one of Davids points, if I understood him correctly.

So, to the extent that the likes of pierredan and John Wilson are in effect saying, hey, we expected that distribution would be limited to magi only, it apparently isnt, and were disappointed about that because we paid a lot of money for that single secret, after whatever perceived hyperbole has been stripped away, dont these guys have a point here? Sure, the issue of exclusivity expectation can be debated: is it realistic? is it reasonable? Etc. But can it be effectively dismissed with such facile reasoning as free trade in action, Criss Angel can do with it as he pleases, and youre just upset because something cool cant be just yours?

How would people feel if a magic publisher issued a killer book (like Robert Harbins classic) in a very limited edition of 150 copies, charged $500 per copy because it was worth it (and the buyers thought so too, because the edition quickly sold out), and then turned around 6 months later and sold a library edition on the cheap to all the public libraries in the U.S.? This example is admittedly extreme. But it makes the essential point, and the only difference between the foregoing hypothetical and the Criss Angel DVD situation is one of degree assuming he sanctioned the sales to Zip.ca. So would we who defend Angels right to sell and distribute the DVD to anyone he likes and who chalk this episode up as a tempest in a teapot, etc., respond the same way to this hypothetical? I tend to think the response might be very different.

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**Yes, of course, a resourceful layman who really wants to get his hands on a certain magi-only book or DVD can do it, but I suspect such instances are fairly rare, and theyre not germane to this point anyway.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 03/10/06 03:32 AM

Originally posted by Craig Mitchell:
Well - this DVD plus many more are available for immediate download on the file sharing networks. I don't know whether this should be an even bigger cause for concern ?

When piracy reaches the world of magic - as it has done in music & movies - what are the implications ...
Well the music and movie industries have industry bodies with lawyers that look after their interests.

Magic doesn't.

Piracy already is rife in the magic community:

P2P as Craig mentioned - A friend of mine says he can download ANY magic teaching DVD I can name for free.

Some shops I will refrain from naming have "rented" out videos with a complimentary blank tape.

Some clubs I will avoid naming have extensive video and DVD libraries and not only turn a blind eye to members borrowing and making copies for themselves, but the club librarians make duplicate copies of DVDs to loan out in case the originals were to go missing.


I agree it's sad that Criss's DVD is available for rental, I wish it wasn't, who knows what Criss thinks until someone asks him.

But who are we to kick up a fuss when we can't even look after our own.
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Postby John Wilson » 03/10/06 03:52 AM

First, let me just say that I am surprised my post created such an uproar. Secondly, let's define inflated...

1. undeservedly great: greater than is justified or normal
Encarta World English Dictionary & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

That is...more than is normal for DVDs. I have no problem paying regular prices for magic books/DVDs (so no new hobby is necessary, thank you). Of course the market is smaller and the work required for production is greater for magic books/DVDs...that is why they cost more. Anyone who thinks one pays as much for non-magical literature/DVDs is mathematically retarded (or seriously ill informed and should themselves get out more). I thought this difference in price was ridiculously apparent, but, unfortunately, such is not the case. No one is suggesting that magical literature/DVDs should cost less, but, rather, that literature/DVDs available to the non-magic community should not cost more when purchased by magicians. If you enjoy paying more for an item (on the order of 1000%+ more, assuming a $5 rental fee as compared to $50 purchase fee for most magical books/DVDs), then continue paying increased prices for items which will be available to the non-magic public at a great discount.

I would also point out that I agree with Mr. Kaufman on one point. Anyone publishing magic books expecting to become rich and famous is a fool. No layman can name a single writer of magical literature. If you are upset with this profession...choose another. You are destined to be acclaimed only by the readers of magic books, which, as stated earlier is a very small group.
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Postby magicam » 03/10/06 04:39 AM

John: I suspect the respondents misunderstood your post. I know I did, but I was focusing on a different point I thought you were making. Clay
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Postby Guest » 03/10/06 07:22 AM

Magicam,

Thank you for attempting to put this discussion back on track.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/10/06 11:15 AM

John Wilson claims that he should pay "normal" prices for magic DVDs and books. He uses a dictionary definition of "inflated" - "undeservedly great: greater than is justified or normal" but does not bother to define what he thinks is "normal" for the magic market.

Is he comparing the prices of music DVDs and books for the mass market to magic books? Seems to, but he is unclear. He's willing to pay "regular" prices for DVDs and books, but doesn't say what he thinks a "regular" price is.

I notice that he did not address my example, the Paul Potassy book where a man's 50-year performing repetoire is detailed for only $45. Is that price "undeservedly great: greater than is justified or normal" or is it cheap information, considering what is being obtained for a small fee?

Again - the market for magic is tiny. A "normal" (mass marketed) DVD will sell tens or hundreds of thousands to the public. Because of that large number the cost of production, marketing, etc,. is spread out over tens or hundreds of thousands of units. Not so in magic where the production, cost of sale, profit of a book, must be realized with an edition of 1,000, on average. Anything beyond that is a surprise and a bonus for the author (if he's getting royalties, which is not always the case) and the publisher.
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Postby Mark Collier » 03/10/06 12:23 PM

I think the cost of a quality magic book is an excellent deal. If you don't agree, take a stroll through the nearest college book store and check out the textbook prices.
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Postby magicam » 03/10/06 01:55 PM

Mark Collier wrote:
I think the cost of a quality magic book is an excellent deal. If you don't agree, take a stroll through the nearest college book store and check out the textbook prices.
Mark, I don't disagree with the notion that a quality magic book can be a good value, but IMHO the student text book market is not a good comparison to the magic book market, at least (and most certainly) when it comes to relative elasticities of demand.

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Postby Edward » 03/10/06 05:09 PM

So why buy any of CA's DVDs? Just wait until you can rent them for less.

This just reinforces, to me anyways, that a known name in magic can do this and none of the other known names in magic do not condemm for this action. If anybody else tried this people would scream about it. Just take a look at how many screamed "exposure" when the masked magician exposed secrets to the public.

Jonathan, are condoning what CA is doing?
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Postby David Alexander » 03/10/06 08:47 PM

The intelligent "names" in magic are not condemning CA because they know how the business works and they don't know CA's deal. Does he own his own DVDs? Does he distribute them? Did he sell all rights or did he assign all rights to someone else who is handling the business? Was this a mistaken order? Lot's of unanswered questions and a lot ignorant prattle and finger pointing at Criss without any evidence.

I don't know the answers to the above questions and neither do you. So, until you know that Criss is responsible, stop the nonsense.
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Postby magicam » 03/10/06 09:32 PM

Well David, without fail, you make sense. I would, however, submit that there are some concepts/issues in this entire exchange which can be discussed without reference to any purported bad actor(s) at least thats the path I was trying to take. Clay
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Postby John Wilson » 03/10/06 10:47 PM

John Wilson claims that he should pay "normal" prices for magic DVDs and books. He uses a dictionary definition of "inflated" - ... but does not bother to define what he thinks is "normal" for the magic market.

Sorry David, but I was under the impression that we were all paying the same prices for magical media, and, therefore, some general feeling for "normal" price structure would be understood. Usually, my magic books (not rare, out of print books, mind you, but books readily available from a major dealer) tend to cost anywhere from $40 to $250. Magic DVDs usually cost me around $35 to $60. I find these prices acceptable provided they are not available to non-magicians at a 1000% discount.

Also, I was under the impression that we were all paying the same prices for non-magical media (of course some of my textbooks do cost more than the average for other, non-magic books). Non-magic DVDs go for around $18-$30 and books around $20-$40 (with some pulp and B movies for much less). I find these prices acceptable with the understanding that they are not available for serious discounts for people not seriously interested in the subject matter.

Does anyone honestly think an item should come with a 1000% increase when purchased at a specialty store or by a special group(NOT just the CA item....ANY ITEM)?

Have you finally come to understand my point, or are we to hear more accusations of me having a problem with paying too much?

This all seems really very silly to me.
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Postby David Alexander » 03/11/06 12:48 PM

John, now that you've finally explained yourself clearly, I understand your complaint.

What you seem to be reluctant to understand is that when you buy a book or a DVD, you have no contract with the seller/publisher/author that the material will not be made available to other people in other markets at a lower price. Any expectations you might have are worth the paper they're written on.

I'm sure the people who had subscriptions to the The Phoenix, edited by Bruce Eilliott, were not thrilled when Bruce put some of that material into "Classic Secrets of Magic," one of the best books on magic...and in hundreds of libraries all over the country.

Nor could people have been overjoyed when Karl Fulves put out a series of books on "self-working" magic, published by Dover, all aimed at the general public, that gave away some good effects. Dover also put out Annemann's Practical Mental Effects in an inexpensive paperback as well as reprints of the Hugard Card Manipulations series, etc. Information that was restricted to the "magic community" was more widely available to the general public for a fraction of their original cost.

Then there's Bill Herz's "Secrets of the Astonishing Executive," a mass-market paperback aimed at businessmen who wanted to do a little magic...quite a bit of good material available to the general public there, cheap.

Dealers will sell anything to anyone who has the money. It's their business and now we see dealers discounting magic, something previously unheard of in the industry.

I could go on, but why? Amateurs continually fail to understand that "exposure" has been a part of magic practically since the beginning and magic as both a hobby and a form of theatrical entertainment seems to survive, indeed thrive, despite the easy access to magic "secrets."

I suspect it will survive this as well.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/11/06 01:25 PM

Thank you, David--well said.
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Postby John Wilson » 03/11/06 10:23 PM

Few realize the amount of time and work and MONEY that goes into producing a book
John, let me explain something to you that you apparently do not understand: ....
Lot's of unanswered questions and a lot ignorant prattle and finger pointing at Criss....
What you seem to be reluctant to understand....
I could go on, but why? Amateurs continually fail to understand....
David,
Thanks for telling me what I don't understand once again. Why is it that you continually assume that amateur magicians have no knowledge of the business world (or of the world at all)? Just because you don't recognize my name, don't assume that I am entirely devoid of knowledge. My original post was not a request for enlightenment about the magic business, it was a statement about my feelings regarding the topic of magic video rental (for items previously sold through magic shops). I assure you my knowledge of the world is formidable, and your supposed lessons about the magic business are less than revelatory. Sorry for writing such large amounts of "ignorant prattle", but I'm just trying to defend my status as an intelligent life form.
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Postby magicam » 03/11/06 11:42 PM

David,

You and I see eye-to-eye on most things (I do not find fault with your analysis here, for example), but I think perhaps in this case you are giving short shrift to John Wilson, et al. As I see it, he is merely offering his opinion on what is right and what is wrong. Its certainly not unreasonable to analyze a set of facts or a persons actions in the context of legal rights but its not the only way either. You and I could probably find many examples of cases where something is perfectly legal, but yet not at all countenanced socially or morally. In rereading John Wilsons posts, for example, I could not find a claim by him that what he was complaining about is illegal he just thinks its wrong, unfair, etc. So to disagree with him on a legal-rights argument seems to me a bit like tearing down a straw man, at least thats how I see it in reading the exchanges here. Some may not agree with John, but of course thats the way of the world and the beauty of intercourse on forums like this.

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