Very large magic books

Discuss general aspects of Genii.
User avatar
Matthew Field
Posts: 2822
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Slydini
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Matthew Field » May 6th, 2003, 6:57 am

One thing big, fat magic books and e-books have in common in my home is that I rarely look at them. Why?

To sit at the computer screen and try to read is no pleasure for me, and magic is something I do for pleasure. To sit (or lie) with a big, fat book on my lap or belly is also no pleasure -- just taking the thing off a shelf is an effort. So I'm reading the Robert-Houdin book(s), but more slowly than I might if it were more portable.

Heading into the small, tile-lined combined shower/reading room, I'll often grab one of those great 40 page, soft-bound, saddle-stitched (stapled) books from the past, something by Bill Simon, for example. Or lecture notes -- Lubor Fiedler, or Jay Sankey, or Gary Kurtz perhaps.

Still, I love the big books -- the Robert-Houdin is a masterpiece of bookmaking art, and Chris W. knows I've placed my order for the digital Sphinx. But as for readability -- I've bemoaned the fact that I haven't spent more time with the Eric Lewis notebook that his son Martin issued as a CD-ROM a few years back.

I did not throw out my Jerry Hartman softcovers when "Card Craft" came out, nor did I chuck my Kabbala and Heirophant small volume collections when Jon R. published these as big compilations. I didn't toss my Paul Curry originals and I'll hold on to Ed Marlo's shuffle and faro books and the slim Al Baker volumes as well.

Of course I am painfully aware of the downside of this -- I'm in the proces of moving (out of New York City) and I have 30 boxes of books (and videos) to ship. 30 boxes! Plus more boxes of magic crap, I mean important paraphernalia. How can I argue with my wife, who thinks I'm nuts?

I'd love to have all this stuff on discs, if I were able to believe I'd ever derive pleasure from it again in that form. As Chris implied, we're waiting for technology to catch up to our demands.

Matt Field

Dave Egleston
Posts: 429
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Dave Egleston » May 6th, 2003, 7:20 am

Mr Corrie makes a valid point, one that I've been dealing with for the last couple of years.

With so many great books coming at us so fast - The problem for me is finding the time to read them, not so much purchasing them, the reason I can afford to buy them is the reason I don't have time to read them.

What happens to ebooks when your computer is rendered useless by a virus? Does the publisher give you a replacement if you've lost or deleted it in cyberspace? I have my books insured for loss or theft, costs an extra 12 dollars a year because I have 5 of my books specifically covered over and above the rest of my library - and I supplement the list I give to my agent every so often.

Can I sell an ebook I find is not to my liking? When I die, can my wife sell these ebooks? I've only got a few books that have declined in value after being bought - will ebooks hold their value?

I think Mr Kaufman hit the nail on the head - Ebooks are going to be a valuable resource as a research tool, especially when a magazine such as SPHINX or ideally, GENII is indexed and cross referencedand printed out (displayed?)

Kind of makes me feel guilty about contributing to the GENII index page lately

Dave

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25160
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC
Contact:

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 6th, 2003, 7:55 am

Chris has missed my point entirely about Greater Magic. If Greater Magic's FIRST publication was as an e-book, then it would never have received the attention and acquired the reputation it has. It's "super book" status is partially due to its sheer physical size and weight.
e-books have no size and no weight, and they're no damn fun, either.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 8:18 am

Originally posted by wert:
My point is that current technology doesn't give you 300 dpi in a portable reader, much less 600 dpi. You use them nearly interchangeably not seeming to realize that there is a major qualitative difference between even 300 and 600 dpi. Until inexpensive portable e-book readers offer 600 or more dpi, IMHO, they will not be as easy on the eyes as a well typset printed book. Can you point us to any currently available dedicated readers that give us the sharpness and clarity of a properly typeset book?
I thought I was pretty clear when I stated that research shows that people read 25% slower from screen. So I am not arguing that screens are as good as printed on paper today. My argument is that they will in my opinion reach print quality or near print quality in the future. Currently screens have a resolution of 70dpi to 120dpi. Once they make the jump to 300dpi it will be very noticeable a clear and major improvement. A 300dpi laser print out is already easy to read. And there is no reason why screens shouldn't reach resolutions of more than 300dpi.

I do hope you're correct as I feel that POD is the solution for those of use who detest reading our books from a screen. I want the POD stuff to give a binding that won't be too fragile. The few POD books I've seen had bindings that were quite unimpressive.

Do you have any actual links to companies that manufacture the machines that have the specs you claim? I'd be interested in doing a bit of research on them. I found some stuff here at the following link, but it doesn't give as much info as I'd like.
There are several POD machine manufacturers. Xerox is probably the leading. Look for DocuColor and DocuTech at the xerox website.

Regarding binding. I have seen several good shops not very knowledgable on binding. Today the best glue is Polyurethan based. If one applies this glue correctly and takes care of the fiber direction in the paper one can get bindings which are as durable as saddle stitched. The main reason for glue binding to deteriorate is because the book is a softcover. But there is no reason why one couldn't do hardcovers with glue binding. It is a matter of cost, not glue.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 8:44 am

Originally posted by Dave Egleston:
With so many great books coming at us so fast - The problem for me is finding the time to read them, not so much purchasing them, the reason I can afford to buy them is the reason I don't have time to read them.
Ebooks, in my opinion, offer an interesting solution to this problem. I very much agree with the dilemma of not being able to read all the magic books and magazines, new and old, one would like to read. Big problem! The solution is search and read relevant passages. Imagine you would have all magic literature available in electronic form. Then when you would like to read, say about 'Twisting the Aces', you search through your elibrary and find references to 'Twisting the Aces' in books you haven't even known existed. Or you can use hyperlinks to go quickly from one ebook to the other following a specifc context. You then pull up these ebooks on your computer and read the sections about 'Twisting the Aces'.

What I am trying to say is that with ebooks you can access from a larger pool of material and pick and choose what you want to read. Instead of having to read all books from A-Z (which isn't possible anyway) you can still make good use of them and access their information. Ebooks enable this. They are a step forward not backward, as some try to make us believe.

What happens to ebooks when your computer is rendered useless by a virus? Does the publisher give you a replacement if you've lost or deleted it in cyberspace?
Yes. I have done that already several times in the past. If you purchased directly from Lybrary.com and you had a total loss of your data you will get your ebooks again for the cost of the CD. If the ebooks are downloadable, it will be totally free. You get new download links. Problem solved. If the ebooks are only available on CD then you will need to pay for the CD and shipping cost which currently is either $11.50 or $13.50 depending on shipping option. Since you can put dozens of ebooks on a CD the per ebook replacement cost is very low. Let's see if L&L or Kaufman can offer something like that for their books ;)

Can I sell an ebook I find is not to my liking? When I die, can my wife sell these ebooks?
Yes you can, if you delete all your copies and backup copies.

I've only got a few books that have declined in value after being bought - will ebooks hold their value?
I think they will. But it is too early to judge since we have magic ebooks for only about 4 years.

I think ebooks would make a great new topic for a collection. Actually, this is what I have started - a magic ebook collection. Some ebooks vanish from the scene, others might change over time. It is fascinating to see technology evolve and document it in a collection. It is also much cheaper than collecting books. For youngsters who would like to get started with a collection ebooks are a great alternative.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 8:56 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Still, it's a very sad day, indeed.
This statement begs for a more thorough reply. So if you think the emergence of ebooks and their replacement of books in various areas is a very sad development, then one could with the same argument state that Gutenberg's movable letter printing press was as well a very sad innovation.

How sad the hand written and hand copied books are being replaced by printed books. NONSENSE. This was probably the most significant innovation in the last thousand years. It allowed the spreading of information. Education was no longer a privilege for the rich upper class. Ebooks will further level the playing field. They are cheaper and easier to distribute. They can be automatically translated or converted to all kinds of formats (think about blind and visually impaired people). Searching and hyperlinking will allow us to gain deeper understanding. People will own on average more ebooks than they could own books. What a wonderful thing. Thank God or whomever you are praying to.

How can anybody say it is a 'very sad day'. I think you totally misunderstand ebooks. That is the really sad part of the story.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5220
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Bill Mullins » May 6th, 2003, 9:34 am

A couple reasons why ebooks are not yet getting accepted (at least at my house)

1. Books are a mature technology. A state of the art book today is no more useful than one from 50 years ago. Not so with ebooks. There will always (for years, at least) be a good reason to wait before making a commitment to ebooks, because the technology will be better/cheaper in 5 years. Displays will get better, content will get cheaper, a new version will come out, viewing hardware will change (from PC to Palm to dedicated ebook reader to electronic paper, etc. etc.). I've got a couple thousand in books on shelves in my magic room, which will be just as useful in 10-20 years. If I had 10 year old ebooks, they would be coasters, since nobody sells computers with 5-1/4 drives anymore. Or else I'd have to transfer/reformat my entire library every few years. There is also a permanence issue here. Books don't need warranties. Chris W. has committed above to replace the bits of an ebook, but that commitment is only as good as long as he is in the business. The digital revolution is full of bodies on the side of the road, none of whom can honor warranties (and this is no slam on Chris, his honor, or his ability to run a business; just a comment on the way the eworld works).

2. Books are fast. I can pick up one on the way to the bathroom, read while I'm there, and put it back when I'm done. Meanwhile, the computer is still booting up and loading software.

3. Marginalia. I can highlight, annotate, and make marginal notes in my paper books.

4. Someone before long will come up with Macrovision, region codes, copy protection, or some damfool scheme that makes owning an ebook less permanent not only from a media standpoint, but also from a software standpoint. Chris is using fairly open, standard formats, but who's to say that PDF and or HTML won't be seen as archaic, unsupported formats in the near future?

While ebooks do have some advantages, they are just not useful to the casual reader yet. The problems I mention above may keep serious researchers, who may be most able to take advantage of the plusses of an ebook, from spending the money to develop a digital library.

Gosh, I wish I had Chris's passion for what he is doing, and I hope he makes a mint. It's just hard for me to make the jump yet. I've bought a couple because the content was so cheap, or for their novelty, but paper will still be my primary medium for a long time.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 10:13 am

Bill,

you make very good points. I think I am more optimistic with regards to the compatibility issue. My optimism is based on 25 years experience with computers, programing and engineering in general. I will give you further down the technical reasons for this optimism.

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
2. Books are fast. I can pick up one on the way to the bathroom, read while I'm there, and put it back when I'm done. Meanwhile, the computer is still booting up and loading software.
Wireless communication and PDAs allow you to do the same with ebooks. Imagine you have your computer which functions as server in your home and it has your elibrary stored. While you rush to the bathroom you pick up your latest PDA with WiFi, switch it on, it links to your computer and you have your whole elibrary at your feet. You quickly link to the ebook and section you are interested in, or with a single click go to where you left the last time you accessed your elibrary. And while you do your thing you just read a page in Erdnase and finally you understood what he meant with '101 things' :)

3. Marginalia. I can highlight, annotate, and make marginal notes in my paper books.
Some ebook readers already allow you to do this (iSilo and MobiPocket on PDAs). I heard the Adobe was working on something like this for Acrobat. I am planing to do similar for my HTML ebooks. It is tricky to do in a client side browser but I think it could be done.

Chris is using fairly open, standard formats, but who's to say that PDF and or HTML won't be seen as archaic, unsupported formats in the near future?
Let me explain why I think there is little reason to be worried, particularly for the path I have chosen. I have based my ebooks on one simple standard which existed from the very early start of computers and will continue to exist or a compatible version thereof, as long as we have computers. The thing I am talking about is ASCII. HTML, XHTML,... is based on ASCII. It is very simple to convert with a little Perl script, or whatever new scripting language might be en vouge then, HTML to something else which is ASCII based. Image formats likewise can be converted from one to any other back and forth, even automated with a JavaApplet inside the browser.

In case there is a major change of formats one will be able to download a little script to change ones ebooks to the new format. Just as one can now very easily convert HTML to XHTML, or HTML to PDF. This is the power of the digital world, that it seems to me very few here get. Once in electronic form one can always write a little program to convert it to any other format one wishes. There might be small changes associated with such reformatting, but the bulk of the contents can easily and automatically be converted and moved from one generation to the next one. That is why I am convinced that ebooks will ultimately live longer than paper books. Paper books, although long lived, eventually break down, unless one spends large amounts on preservation. The binary 0 and 1 do not break down.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5220
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Bill Mullins » May 6th, 2003, 11:02 am

Chris reminds me of more reasons:

Cost. Ebooks may be cheaper than books, but the supporting infrastructure has to be added in as well. I'm content to take a book with me on a business trip, since if I lose it or it's stolen, I'm only out the cost of the book. If I lose my ebook package, in my case I'm out a $2000 lap top.
Yes, I could buy a reader that is cheaper, but it is a marginal cost as well (I already own a lap top, why spend money on a specialized piece of equipment?)

Skill set. As soon as I learned to read, I could deal with a book. Dealing with ebooks takes more. I can easily load and read my Digital Phoenix, but that is because I already am familiar with the tools. On the other hand, if I give that disc to my mother in law, she'd be lost -- It would take hours to teach her how to read from it so that she could do it by herself the next day. Don't even bring up Perl, etc. as an "advantage" of ebooks. If I have to learn a new programming language just to stay current, that's bad, and if I have to pay someone else to do it, that's also bad.

All of the "solutions" to the problems that Chris responds with above are out of reach for the average, casual reader of magic books. To read in the bathroom, I need a wireless network, a PDA, a software suite to control it all, a computer/server that stays on all the time? Doesn't this seem like using a machine gun to kill a mosquito? Why not just read a BOOK??? If you already live your life that way, take advantage of it. But no one will take these steps just to have a search feature on the Tarbell Lessons


One last point:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
That is why I am convinced that ebooks will ultimately live longer than paper books. Paper books, although long lived, eventually break down, unless one spends large amounts on preservation. The binary 0 and 1 do not break down.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Literally, this is true, but practically speaking, it is [censored]. The only way to keep digital data usable over a decade or more is to spend so much time maintaining it that you have lost all of the advantages it may have provided in the first place -- convenience, cost, etc. Remember the Voyager missions of 1970's? NASA can no longer read much of the raw data, and it cost Billions to get. How many readers of Genii have stacks of discs laying around that are useless, because of format changes, deterioration of media, hardware changes, obsolescense of software, etc? Face it, 99% of 50 year old books are usable. What percentage of 25 year old digital data (that hasn't had someone taking time and money to reformat, rewrite, maintain, and upgrade) can even be accessed, much less read? What about 10 year old data?

Chris, a lot of what you say, reasonable people can disagree on. But to advocate ebooks because there is some expectation of permanency compared to paper books is just not supported by the real world.

Guest

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Guest » May 6th, 2003, 11:16 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
The facsimile version pre-publication prize is $300. The regular price will be $395 (once the pre-publication offer goes away). The pricing of the converted version is not yet determined, but let's say it is $500. Then everyone who purchased the facsimile version will be able to upgrade by just paying the difference which would be in this example $105.

Chris Wasshuber
That's not exactly cheap. Do you accept payment in installments for The Sphinx, Chris?

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 1:29 pm

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
Chris reminds me of more reasons:

Cost. Ebooks may be cheaper than books, but the supporting infrastructure has to be added in as well. I'm content to take a book with me on a business trip, since if I lose it or it's stolen, I'm only out the cost of the book. If I lose my ebook package, in my case I'm out a $2000 lap top.
Yes, I could buy a reader that is cheaper, but it is a marginal cost as well (I already own a lap top, why spend money on a specialized piece of equipment?)
Bill, that is not quite fair, because I can do with a PDA or laptop A LOT MORE than just read. I agree if you have none of these tools and just want to read ebooks there is an initial outlay, but if you intend to buy dozens of ebooks you quickly get it back. If you buy the digital Sphinx you already save about $4700. That is more than you will need for a new computer, PDA and WiFi network ;)

Skill set. As soon as I learned to read, I could deal with a book. Dealing with ebooks takes more. I can easily load and read my Digital Phoenix, but that is because I already am familiar with the tools. On the other hand, if I give that disc to my mother in law, she'd be lost -- It would take hours to teach her how to read from it so that she could do it by herself the next day.
True. Driving a car, flying a plane all require special skills which have to be acquired. If you want to use more powerfull tools you need to train using them. But that is taken care by my argument with a generation change. Today practically everyone who grows up is familiar with computers and probably even has a computer or access to one. Everybody visiting Genii forum does.

Don't even bring up Perl, etc. as an "advantage" of ebooks. If I have to learn a new programming language just to stay current, that's bad, and if I have to pay someone else to do it, that's also bad.
Here we have a misunderstanding. I didn't mean that everyone now has to write a program to convert his ebooks to a new upcoming format. That would be done either by Lybrary.com or by other people. I am not the only one who is using HTML. These tools will be readily available online for everyone to use free of charge, just as one can now convert HTML to XHTML with free online tools or PDF to HTML. My argument was that to move HTML to any future ASCII based format is a trival task for a programmer and will therefore be readily available.

To read in the bathroom, I need a wireless network, a PDA, a software suite to control it all, a computer/server that stays on all the time? Doesn't this seem like using a machine gun to kill a mosquito? Why not just read a BOOK???
Do you still ride your horse to work? Have a refridgerator that needs every week a new block of ice? No TV no radio? Come on! Your argumentation is a little weak. Not everyone has a computer yet, I agree, but 70% do in the USA, not everyone has a PDA yet, but more and more get one. How many have handys? How many have broad band? How many will have WiFi in 5 years?

But no one will take these steps just to have a search feature on the Tarbell Lessons
That is true. But if it is a library of the most important 1000 magic ebooks?

Literally, this is true, but practically speaking, it is [censored]. The only way to keep digital data usable over a decade or more is to spend so much time maintaining it that you have lost all of the advantages it may have provided in the first place -- convenience, cost, etc.
I very much disagree. Assume your ebook library is stored on a DVD (you could store anywhere from 200 to 2000 ebooks on a DVD). If you want to transfer your data to a different medium, say some new disc or to a hard disc you just copy the DVD. Takes maybe 10 minutes. Let's say you do this every 25 years. Then assume there is a format change. You download the conversion script, start and let your computer convert all your ebooks. Maybe takes an hour or two. You are done. Wait another 50 or 25 years. Where do I have to spend 'so much time or cost'??

Remember the Voyager missions of 1970's? NASA can no longer read much of the raw data, and it cost Billions to get. How many readers of Genii have stacks of discs laying around that are useless, because of format changes, deterioration of media, hardware changes, obsolescense of software, etc?
There is one big difference. The Voyager mission produced more data than you will every own, see, or touch in your lifetime. A large ebook library, as I said above, fits on a DVD, or if you want to go ballistic make it a few DVDs. Once we have the double layer double sided blue ray DVD it is back to one disc.

You want my true opinion about the Voyager case? Somebody dropped the ball. Somebody did not maintain the data archive. It could have been copied earlier. Lifetimes of tapes are well known. When they change over to a new format or system they just need to update the data. Nobody did. Now it is perhaps too late. Somebody messed up much earlier. Again the situation is very different to HTML and ebooks. HTML is used everywhere. Converters will be widely available. The Voyager case is not a very good example in my opinion.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 1:37 pm

Originally posted by John Hudson:
That's not exactly cheap. Do you accept payment in installments for The Sphinx, Chris?
Sorry, no payment in installments. Once the pre-publication offer is over you can buy individual discs. Depending on which disc you get you only have to pay $35, $70 or $80.

$300 on an absolute scale is high. But you are getting $5000 worth of contents. How much do the Robert-Houdin books cost?

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2329
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Pete McCabe » May 6th, 2003, 2:25 pm

It looks like a piece of paper, only a little thicker. You can fold it and put it in your pocket.

It weighs an ounce or two.

It is in fact a 300-dpi color screen, with a few gigs of built-in solid state memory.

It can display both text and video.

It has handwriting recognition, so you can make notes and operate the interface, which allows you to page through the book(s), do searches, pull up two pages side by side, etc.

It holds every magic book in your entire collection, and your digital Genii, which downloads every month (on time!).


When we have this (all of these technologies exist in working prototypes), what will be your opinion of ebooks then?

Guest

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Guest » May 6th, 2003, 2:34 pm

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
Here are two thoughts for the ones that rather like to spend small amounts at a time than one big payment to get a big book or collection of magazines.

1) Finanzing. Maybe there are dealers who would finance such purchases. Pay $30 for the next 5 months and receive Al Baker today. Has anybody every tried this with a magic book?

Chris Wasshuber
Chris, are you saying other dealers should permit installment payments but you don't?

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 3:05 pm

Originally posted by John Hudson:
Chris, are you saying other dealers should permit installment payments but you don't?
Mine was a suggestion to think about and a question if anybody has tried it. Maybe I offer it in the future. At this point I don't.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Guest

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Guest » May 6th, 2003, 3:15 pm

Sorry, Chris, my mistake!

Dave Egleston
Posts: 429
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Dave Egleston » May 6th, 2003, 3:48 pm

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
It looks like a piece of paper, only a little thicker. You can fold it and put it in your pocket.

It weighs an ounce or two.

It is in fact a 300-dpi color screen, with a few gigs of built-in solid state memory.

It can display both text and video.

It has handwriting recognition, so you can make notes and operate the interface, which allows you to page through the book(s), do searches, pull up two pages side by side, etc.

It holds every magic book in your entire collection, and your digital Genii, which downloads every month (on time!).


When we have this (all of these technologies exist in working prototypes), what will be your opinion of ebooks then?
Mr McCabe - I'll be the first on my block to own one when it is available to the public. What is the storage mechanism? Like a memory stick? Which seems to be replacing CDs

It has to be a valuable asset for reading the tech manuals I deal with daily

The manuals I use now are coming out on discs now - everytime I need to read a schematic or look at a parts breakout in the e-format - I have to print it out and enhance it with our copying machine - and I can't do the "manual random search" I always use with the old printed manuals - either thumb on the unbound side of the page and let the pages riffle by rapidly while trying to find the page I need.

I find that even microfiche is faster and easier to read than my ebooks

Dave

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2329
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Pete McCabe » May 6th, 2003, 4:11 pm

Dave Egleston:

I would imagine that some form of solid-state memory (same as in a memory stick) would be printed onto the device. The Data interface would be wi-fi -- connectors are too bulky.

However, I'm sure an interim product could have just the screen with data storage on an iPod. You can already put 30 GB onto an iPod; all you'd really need is the folding display (at least one OLED screen is already on the market, in a cell phone I believe, so this can't be very far away) and you've got an incredibly effective ebook library that would fit in your pocket.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 6th, 2003, 4:41 pm

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
(at least one OLED screen is already on the market, in a cell phone I believe, so this can't be very far away) and you've got an incredibly effective ebook library that would fit in your pocket.
The leading German car radio manufacturer Blaupunkt has used OLED displays for quite some time now. Once a technology is developed, the break out can be quite fast. But it is very hard to predict. Each case is different.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Guest

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Guest » May 6th, 2003, 7:29 pm

Well, for me the really big books never quite make it to the usual reading nooks, if you know what I'm intimating. I have the James File, etc. and also Greater Magic. Greter Magic is a series of wonderfully standard size books and I get amazing use out of them. The big ones, I love the material but often pass because it is like lifting the Oxford Standard Dictionary Single Volume--just too cumbersome. So, in reviewing my own living habits, smaller volumes have worked out better for me.
Martin J Kaplan Media, Pa

User avatar
Brisbin
Posts: 90
Joined: April 20th, 2008, 1:25 am
Location: Washington, DC Area

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Brisbin » May 7th, 2003, 1:09 pm

Originally posted by Chris Bailey:
But the simple fact is I can justify $40 to $50 for a book to my wife. But $150? Not likely.
I didn't get the memo - I'm supposed to justify my book purchases to my wife? I'm in trouble...married almost 4 years and so many great book finds during that time. Good thing I didn't tell her about the Baker book I ordered! :help:
"No Dough, No Show" - Stan Kramien
"What the mind harbors, the body manifests." - Tohei Koichi

Todd Karr
Posts: 299
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 9:03 am

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Todd Karr » May 7th, 2003, 2:19 pm

The Baker books finally arrived here this morning and we're busy boxing them for shipping. The trucking company was supposed to deliver them yesterday but called in the afternoon to say that - no joke! - the driver had seen the size of our shipment and quit his job on the spot!

In the meantime, we're working on The Miracle Factory weight-lifting program.

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2329
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Pete McCabe » May 8th, 2003, 10:20 am

Just a link for people following the inexorable progress of technology. Click here for A Wired Magazine Article on Flexible E-Paper.

The many negative reactions to e-books remind me very much of the widespread negative reactions to digital cameras when they first arrived a few years ago. They were not as good as the analog technology they replace. But the technology keeps getting better and better, whereas the (mature) analog technology doesn't.

At some point the digital tech got good enough that its many advantages in convenience outweight the quality issue for general use, at which point the amateur photographers all begin singing its praises, while the professionals still talk about the superiority of the old ways.

Then digital cameras get good enough for professionals doing commercial work. This is about where we are today. Photographic Artists still use film, but every professional photographer I know uses digital equipment.

Still, digital marches on. The new Sigma/Foveon camera is just a little better than 35 mm film.


When you can download your entire magic library into a single sheet of flexible e-paper that Matthew Field can carry into the bathroom and which supports searches, includes full-motion color video, and other digital features we can't even imagine yet, the idea of arguing against e-books will seem like a quaint anachronism.

Of course, e-books aren't nearly there yet. But to argue against the concept based on the current state of the technology is... well, let's just say this is the exact same argument people used to make against digital cameras.

Richard Morrell
Posts: 97
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hull, UK
Contact:

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Richard Morrell » May 8th, 2003, 10:25 am

One of the most annoying things about big magic books in particular, but mostly quite a large percentage of magic books period, is how hard they are to practice from, I have to find somewhere to prop the book open at a good reading angle, get the damn thing to stay open in the first place, be able to turn the pages when I might have a pinky break held in one hand whilst three coins classic palmed in the other...

This is not so bad with spiral bound books, but paperback books, or the larger books such as the bound magazines, are a nightmare. I think with e-books you have the possibility to set your monitor to the right height/angle next to your practice table, and set the e-book running. I envisage that maybe in the not too distant future you could even control it by voice, to turn the page/scroll up or down (very useful!), enlarge a certain diagram, play a movie of the sleight etc. all without losing that important break :)

Which brings me to a question how do you guys currently practice from books, I'm looking to get myself setup with a decent table/chair with enough space for a close-up mat etc. and then I need some device to hold any type of book at the right angle and keep it open and be able to turn the pages. So far I have found these, but if anyone has any other suggestions?

Book Holder

Book Thing

Book Clip

Rich.

mark
Posts: 165
Joined: August 28th, 2008, 5:59 pm
Location: Washington State, U.S.

Re: Very large magic books

Postby mark » May 8th, 2003, 12:05 pm

Rich,
I have found a German made music stand that does the trick for me. The reason I bring up this specific stand, is that for me, space is a premium, and this stand folds up into a very small package. The stand when extended is full size, and can be used by a musician standing up. It also has two moving pieces of metal that are very good for - get ready - holding pages open. It works well for me, and it can be placed where it is best for you. Imagine, you are sitting at your closeup table, the mirror is placed at the outer edge of your table, and just beyond and above that is the book, propped open to the page you require. You merely need to glance up from your mirror to check the book.

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2329
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Pete McCabe » May 8th, 2003, 1:47 pm

Rich,

Another option (not necessarily better than a music stand, just another option) is a cookbook stand. These are designed to sit on a counter and hold a cookbook open to the right page. I've seen pretty inexpensive models made of clear plastic that the book kind of slides into.

You might try Bed Bath and Beyond or the housewares section of a large department store.

Dave Egleston
Posts: 429
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Dave Egleston » May 8th, 2003, 1:54 pm

Mr McCabe wrote:

"But to argue against the concept based on the current state of the technology is... "

I agree ebooks HAVE to get better, but with what are we supposed to base our arguments?

The champions of ebooks are selling their products based on current technology.

I have yet another question about the ebook format:

As many lowlife thieves are doing now with videos, what protection will there be in place to assure my $500.00 investment in the digitized SPHYNX will not be jeopardized by wholesale theft and unauthorized distribution by the afforementioned lowlifes? I can see where lowlifes will be licking their chops waiting for the next major electronic book to be published so they can copy and sell it to their friends.

Dave

troublewit
Posts: 180
Joined: April 7th, 2008, 10:49 am

Re: Very large magic books

Postby troublewit » May 8th, 2003, 2:17 pm

Rich, at www.bookgem.com there is a bookholder which is very compact, and works like a charm. I can vouch for it's practicality and sturdiness. I have used it to hold open books as heavy as the Slydini book (newer release from L&L) which is quite heavy, even towards the end of the book where all the weight is on one side, the holder performs well. Also use it on the Card College books, and Rice Silk Encyclopedias. I don't remember how much it cost, but I remember it being quite reasonable. One of it's best features is it's diminuitive size. It packs small, holds big.
Christopher Klocek
337 N Wood St
Griffith, In 46319
219-765-7123
troublewit@aol.com

Todd Karr
Posts: 299
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 9:03 am

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Todd Karr » May 8th, 2003, 2:19 pm

Hi, everyone

To prop big books open, I use a wooden book stand from India. It unfolds like an X and is a great ornament, too.

Surprisingly, the bigger the book, the easier it stays open...at least the Baker book does.

For smaller or more fragile books, there are long, soft weighted pillows sold by library supply houses that you can lay on a book to safely and gently keep it open for reading.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 8th, 2003, 3:29 pm

Originally posted by Rich Morrell:
This is not so bad with spiral bound books, but paperback books, or the larger books such as the bound magazines, are a nightmare. I think with e-books you have the possibility to set your monitor to the right height/angle next to your practice table, and set the e-book running. I envisage that maybe in the not too distant future you could even control it by voice, to turn the page/scroll up or down (very useful!), enlarge a certain diagram, play a movie of the sleight etc. all without losing that important break :)
Rich, what you can do with Lybrary.com ebooks is to use the built in text-to-speech feature. No page turning anymore. Just listen and follow along. The ebook automatically turns the pages. And since you can set the speed of speech you can align it with your own pace.

Particularly if you have a laptop this works great, since you can put the laptop on your practicing table and position the screen the way you want.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2329
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Pete McCabe » May 8th, 2003, 4:11 pm

Dave Egleston:
I agree ebooks HAVE to get better, but with what are we supposed to base our arguments?

The champions of ebooks are selling their products based on current technology
Dave,

All I meant was that it is not right to argue against the concept of the ebook on the basis of its current technology limitations. I have only a couple of ebooks myself and don't really use them. But I can't wait for the day when the tech advances to the point where I do. I think that will be a very happy day indeed.


Pete McCabe
Sounding more like Chris Wasshuber, one post at a time

Bill Mullins
Posts: 5220
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Bill Mullins » May 9th, 2003, 8:54 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
I very much disagree. Assume your ebook library is stored on a DVD (you could store anywhere from 200 to 2000 ebooks on a DVD). If you want to transfer your data to a different medium, say some new disc or to a hard disc you just copy the DVD. Takes maybe 10 minutes. Let's say you do this every 25 years.
You can't be seriously proposing using a 20-25 year old hard drive as a working medium for your library? I have 3 computers (2 work, one at home) that I use regularly, plus half a dozen others that I access from time to time. None have a hard drive older than 5 years. A 20 year old hard drive would be a 10-20 Meg device, which wouldn't be supported by any motherboard or operating system around.

I'll concede the point that it can be done on a 8-10 year scale, but I still maintain that this is a weakness of ebooks. Digital media has a half-life of something like 5-8 years. It is a function not only of whatever physical media the ebook is written to, but the hardware that reads it, the software that reads it, and all of the other systems involved. Personal computers go obsolete so fast, and content doesn't last much longer.

If you have any digital media that you use regularly (as often as you use magic books) that is older than that, I'd be very surprised. If anyone on the Forum does, I'd be surprised.

Then assume there is a format change. You download the conversion script, start and let your computer convert all your ebooks. Maybe takes an hour or two. You are done. Wait another 50 or 25 years. Where do I have to spend 'so much time or cost'??
If you are a programmer, this is trivial. I'm not (like many ebook customers), and changing file formats means downloading a script, setting up the software that runs the script (if you handed me a disc with a Perl script right now, I don't know what I'd do with it. I presume there is some software that runs it, which I would have to find, install, and learn to run), loading and unloading all of the discs that hold the ebooks, writing the new converted ebooks to new CD's (for archival purposes). Since this is not a task I'll do regularly, I'll have to spend a while figuring out how to do that, and run a simple case first to make sure I'm doing it right. And this only handles my Lybrary.com ebooks. It doesn't fix the ones from Geno Munari, or the ones from Martin Breese.

Best Case: Every time I do it (say every 8 years), I have to learn a new software package (what are the odds that the Perl script that is written in 2003 is useful in 2011?), a new procedure, many hours of loading and unloading discs, and is a general pain in the butt. For me (computer literate but not a programmer or MIS professional), it sounds more like a couple days than a couple hours. I upgrade computers a little more often than that, and I view this process as about like that of transferring old data to the new computer. It's not as simple as you make it sound.

There are a few folks who are so computer savvy (like Chris Wasshuber) that all of the other investments in technology necessary to fully take advantage of them (hardware suites, software skills, etc.) have already been made, and they may be able to make their ebook copies of magic texts their primary, working copies.

For the average computer-using magician, an ebook is a novelty which allows the purchase of a whole lot of content (usually decades old) for not much money (files of magazines typically). I don't see this situation changing anytime soon.

CHRIS
Posts: 678
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: las vegas

Re: Very large magic books

Postby CHRIS » May 9th, 2003, 1:21 pm

Bill,

probably the truth lies somewhere between you and me. Just a few facts from history which help to understand time frames. The CD was introduced in 1982. That is 21 years ago and still is the major audio platform today. The DVD was introduced 1996 or seven years ago. DVD players are backwards compatible with CDs.

Hardware is getting more and more integrated with simple to use interfaces. Take the USB interface. You can buy today a 100GByte hard disc plug it into your USB connector and you are set and done. Transfer your ebooks with one simple command. You don't need to read a manual or install software. It is all there ready to be used. Userfriendliness will continue to get better. We are not anymore in the pioneering stages. A lot has been learned.

Wireless networks will become standard everywhere. Then you don't even need to plug anything together. Just put the new device on the table and start transferring.

Innovation rates are starting to slow down in the computer industry. Computers are already commodity items. This means that the lifetime of your basic equipment is going to be much longer than in the past.

So I think a 'lifetime' of 10 years of digital content is already achieved and will continue to increase.

Don't get me wrong. I write here my opinion, which I think is informed, but it is still my subjective view. I accept your choice of waiting longer and perhaps adopting ebooks later. There are always early adopters, late comers and a large spectrum inbetween.

What I really want is for people to understand what ebooks are, what their benefits are, maybe to try them out, and if this new medium works for them make use of it.

People that don't know me might get the impression that I push ebooks because I publish ebooks. That is wrong. I publish ebooks because I love them and have made wonderful experience with ebooks. I became an ebook publisher because there was not much going on in magic with ebooks, and because I want to take this medium a step further. I hope my enthusiasm is not taken the wrong way.

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Craig Matsuoka
Posts: 195
Joined: March 13th, 2008, 5:13 pm
Location: Kailua, Hawaii

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Craig Matsuoka » May 9th, 2003, 2:31 pm

I can still read ascii text files I created 11 years ago on my old Toshiba T-1000 laptop (from the same floppy disks too!).

Too bad I can't say the same for Apple IIe, Commodore tapes, and other dead media I've had since then. Conversion isn't even an option for me at this point.

Still, the IT world has come a long way from its "let's just make it work" attitude of old. In my view, the issue here is not of obsolescence through technology, but rather, obsolescence through neglect and myopic engineering.

In recent years, the industry has become much more conscious of code and data portability. In fact, entire new programming languages have been purposely designed to accomodate such paradigms. The "object oriented" philosophy of modern software engineering and "future-proofing" mentality behind markup languages like XML makes the threat of obsolescence much lower than it used to be.

This is a very good thing for consumers.

Even proprietary formats like pdf are benefitting from forward thinking. PDF is based on Postscript, a very robust and architecturally stable programming language. Postscript is almost 20 years old, and it's still going strong (probably stronger than ever).

These days, word processing formats are capable of converting a lot easier from one version to the next - and things can only get easier as the architectures converge, and more companies start basing their data files on standard markup languages like XML.

Eric Rose
Posts: 245
Joined: February 8th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Franklin, Indiana

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Eric Rose » May 10th, 2003, 7:31 am

Back to Mr. Corrie's original question, I do love the big books. They don't comprise the bulk of my library, but they are wonderfully interspersed. As for high prices, I just got the Baker book. If every $150 book is this good, the publishers can charge $150 as often as they like.

I feel like this thread spun out of control, like so many do, into an e-book debate. Since this happens so often, would it be good to start an e-book area on the forum and keep the debates there for those that want to wade through them?

Edwin Corrie
Posts: 491
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Edwin Corrie » May 11th, 2003, 6:27 am

Well said, Mr Rose. The e-books angle to this thread does seem to have taken over a bit. Maybe e-books or e-paper are indeed the way of the future, but I was more interested in how many people were prepared to spend ever-increasing sums of money on books. When it's just once in a while, okay, but when there's another one every month or two it becomes difficult (at least for me). I'd love to have them all, but at the moment it's not really possible. Anyway, thanks to all those who responded to my question.

Guest

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Guest » May 11th, 2003, 11:06 am

Since we tend to hear the same ebook arguments over and over, how about just a more general category about multi-media magic in all its forms?

Dave Egleston
Posts: 429
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Ceres, Ca.

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Dave Egleston » May 11th, 2003, 2:26 pm

Once again, not trying to sound like an elitest, however books like this are not produced or priced for everyone - You have to make a decision - Do you want to save and get a truly wonderful book or buy a cheaper book every month that may or may not have something of value in it for you

Please make more big magic books - There is a market for them as we've witnessed these last several years

Dave

Guest

Re: Very large magic books

Postby Guest » May 13th, 2003, 11:43 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
[b]Still, it's a very sad day, indeed.
This statement begs for a more thorough reply. So if you think the emergence of ebooks and their replacement of books in various areas is a very sad development, then one could with the same argument state that Gutenberg's movable letter printing press was as well a very sad innovation.[/b]
I love the concept of ebooks. I love having books on my laptop, which travels with me all the time. I have my laptop on a small table next to my bed; I'm often ill; when I am ill, I can still use the laptop, and among the things I can do is read or research my many ebooks. No getting up to dig through a library, or having to explain to someone in my family where a certain book is so they can get it.

I keep copies of my ebooks on CD. I keep the CD in my briefcase. If I'm somewhere at a PC but not my laptop, its quite simple to slap the CD in and read and research. Also, by keeping my ebooks on CDs as backup, no matter if some virus, fire or flood ruins my computer, I still have my ebook investment. No virus can ruin a CD! If needed, I can also load an ebook to my PDA.

Reading a book on my laptop, I can make the print whatever size appropriate for my eyesight, which often varies throughout the day. In many (not all) cases, I can even change the font and background colors to suit my needs.

If I felt I need to read a book in the restroom, its a quick and fast task to print out the page or pages I plan on reading. I then have the opportunity to leave these in the restroom, and throw them away (I don't remember who mentioned reading books in the restroom, but if you ever sell books at auctions, please mention where its been!) :eek:

If I ever have the option of buying a book in print form vs ebook form, I would prefer to buy both. But if I can't, if this was a book I plan on learning from, I would by the ebook. If its a coffee-table book, I'll buy print. In most cases, I would obviously go ebook.

OK, all that being said, let me explain my frame. I am a bibliophile. I love books. I go to book faires and auctions, always coming home with a stack of books (large or small, depending on how much I spend!) I collect books. I have a fairly large library, with specialties such as 19th and early 20th Century Spiritualism and esoteric thought, a very large collection of the Rubaiyat catalog, 18th and 19th Century poetry, etc.

I do bookbinding and restoration, and have a pretty large binding shop taking up a room in my home. For Christmas every year, I make books for my family, usually personally done fine-bound reprints of public domain books from my collection.

I don't believe many can love books much more than I. Why am I telling you all this? Because I do not believe we are even close to a "very sad day." I do not live in the past, I take advantage of the present, and look forward to the future. I will always love books, never less than I do now, and will always collect books. But for books that I use, I prefer ebooks. A sad day? Far from it! Technology has made one of the things I love best--reading--much easier, the books more assessable. My thanks to people like Chris for their part!


Return to “General”