L&L Publishing eBooks

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John Warrens
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby John Warrens » August 29th, 2012, 7:45 pm

I know I'm a little late to the party on this thread, but I signed up just to comment here.

I've been a book lover since I first began magic, 32 years ago. I have a rather extensive library which includes most of the L&L library as well as Richard Kaufman's books. Am I happy that these are now available in electronic format? Yes, and in fact, I'm ecstatic about it! Am I worried about the devaluation of the effects by having them available at a lower price and therefore more accessible? Heck no! There's more to magic than "secrets" as any seasoned pro knows.

I love being able to read these anywhere and being able to store them so easily. I find that as I get older I'm tending to become more minimalistic. I look forward to purchasing a large number of these ebooks and look forward to future releases. I applaud Mr. Kaufman and L&L publishing for taking this bold step forward.

Finally, I would like to know if there are any plans to produce "The Pallbearer's Review". *That* would be absolutely awesome. Also,are any of Mr. Kaufman's books also going to be released? I would love to see titles such as "Secrets of Bro. Hamman", "Strong Magic", and "The Compleat Invocation" for example. So many great books by Kaufman. Even though I already have physical copies of these books, I would *love* to see electronic versions of these (and others) and would happily buy them.

Keep up the great work!

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 29th, 2012, 8:00 pm

You would have to send L&L an email about any Karl Fulves title: my guess is that he would not have signed away his electronic rights.

I'm still deciding exactly what path to pursue with my own books.
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Roger M.
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Roger M. » August 29th, 2012, 8:07 pm

I don't believe anybody ever commented on the "devaluation of effects" anywhere in this thread.

The comments about devaluation related to the actual books, collectible and otherwise.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby John Warrens » August 29th, 2012, 10:07 pm

@ Richard: The fact that you're considering what to do with your own material at least sounds promising! A lot of the books you put out were simply excellent.

@ Roger: I've been under the impression a few times in this thread that one of the things that Mr.Henderson was upset about was his perceived notion of the *actual* material in those books being devalued by being available more widely at a lesser price, as opposed to the physical books being devalued themselves. Perhaps I've read into it wrong, but it does appear to me that that is where his biggest gripe was. It as though he doesn't like his "precious secrets" being released for less dollars than what he originally paid for them - that's just the way it reads to me.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby F.Amílcar » August 30th, 2012, 7:48 am

Perhaps in a nearest future can we access to a e-books like New Era Card Tricks for example?

Truly yours,


F. Amlcar Riega i Bello.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Jim Maloney » August 30th, 2012, 9:50 am

F.Amlcar wrote:Perhaps in a nearest future can we access to a e-books like New Era Card Tricks for example?

Truly yours,


F. Amlcar Riega i Bello.


New Era Card Tricks (lybrary.com)

New Era Card Tricks (free via The Internet Archive/Google)

-Jim
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby mrgoat » August 30th, 2012, 10:13 am

Jim Maloney wrote:
F.Amlcar wrote:Perhaps in a nearest future can we access to a e-books like New Era Card Tricks for example?

Truly yours,


F. Amlcar Riega i Bello.


New Era Card Tricks (lybrary.com)

New Era Card Tricks (free via The Internet Archive/Google)

-Jim


You're like the ebook Father Christmas!

Brad Henderson
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 30th, 2012, 11:51 am

John, please do not put words in my mouth. I never uttered the phrase "precious secrets". I did mention that historically in magic, information has value and the rarity of that information often corresponds to it's value in the marketplace.

Where you may be confused is the issue of ebook pricing. Clearly the original texts sold at prices far greater than the actual cost of the paper and printing. It would stand to reason that if someone were selling a product and the difference between a previous release and the current one was only the paper and printing, that the price delta would only be that amount. In the case of l and l ebooks, that is not the case. On the secondary market many of these books fetch prices higher than their original cost. So, clearly, the 'value' of that material has increased due to scarcity. Clearly L and L does not feel that the material has the same value as they did when the item was released, nor do they feel the material has the same value that the marketplace has determined. If this were more than a money grab, the price of their ebooks would reflect the market value (original or secondary), less the printing costs. It doesn't. That was L and L's conscious choice. They determined the value, it is not simply a result of the ebook format.

Though I am happy to see the thread again. Reminds me to look forward to the many new L & L products promised by Steve. Can't wait!

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 30th, 2012, 12:37 pm

To be clear. I am not upset that the material has been devalued by L & L. Most who buy it will never actually read any of it let alone have the skill or determination to learn any of it. However I think the choice reflects poorly on L&L and their attitude towards those who have supported them over the years. As we regularly discuss those concerns on magic forums, I did. I hope that clears things up for you and I appreciate you not implying things never written by me. Thanks.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 30th, 2012, 2:09 pm

"If this were more than a money grab..."

Brad, you just don't know what you're talking about. ALL publishers sell their ebooks for less than the original retail price of the same hardcover book. What planet are you living on?
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Roger M. » August 30th, 2012, 3:41 pm

I think all publishers see e-books for exactly what they are, an opportunity to extend the shelf life of otherwise "dogged sales" books.

Publishers happily take the opportunity to sell e-books for a reduced profit over the hard copy book simply because they see the e-book for what it is....a cash cow to be milked.

I don't think anybody is demonizing publishers for wanting to make as much profit as they can possibly make, but I DO think people (some people anyway) are requesting not to be treated like children and being asked to believe that publishers like L&L and others are releasing e-books only for the good of magic and magicians at large, "profit be damned".

Publishers are releasing e-books to maximize their profit, and to minimize their production costs in the process.

Ultimately, they're cannibalizing any residual value in hard cover books belonging to their customers for the sake of an additional profit in their own pockets.

In other words, the American Way.....capitalism and all that.

I think all anybody is asking is that publishers be honest about wanting to maximize their personal profit, and lay-off trying to paint a picture of publishers as psuedo-saints, only doing (with e-books) what's best for magic and magicians at large.

Like any business, it's all about the money, and to imply otherwise is to be seen as being dishonest.
Some businesses decide NOT to maximize their profits at the expense of existing customers......certain elements of the magic publishing business clearly have shown that they don't believe in that particular customer centric business model.

It's all fine, and the way business is conducted........but honestly, we're not fricking stupid enough to believe that it isn't only about making money, and disregarding previous customers who commited to purchasing hard cover books thinking they were not only an investment in quality effects, but also an investment in a material product.

There's a reason publishers release collectible copies in limited editions......and that's because they know their customers attach monetary value to their book collections.
Now those same publishers have decided they don't care about the monetary value of previous customers book collections, because publishers generally want to make as much money off any given book as they can possibly make....thus we have e-books of previously published hard copy books.

OK, just say that.

Not exactly brain surgery for the average magi to deduce what this is really all about......but pretty stupid for publishers to try and paint a picture of it being nothing more than them doing us all a huge favor.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Chris Aguilar » August 30th, 2012, 4:28 pm

Wow they've got Vol. 1 of The Elmsley Set on sale for $9.99 currently. I might just have to pick that one up.

I'm very glad to see these available for those(non collectors) who missed the original printings and aren't interested in paying outrageous secondary market prices for a hardback version. It's great to see the information in these books remain available to students who might not be able to acquire an OOP book. If I had my druthers, no really good book of magic would ever go out of print (either hardcopy or e-book).

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 30th, 2012, 4:33 pm

ebooks are not a "cash cow to be milked"!

And we are not talking about deluxe limited editions.

ebooks are becoming the preferred manner of ownership for many people (in case you haven't kept track, ebooks now outsell print books on amazon).

No one is forcing anyone to buy an ebook.

Jeez.

For the most part, the market no longer exists is our field to keep existing titles in print as printed books. The only option for keeping a book available is as an ebook.
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby mrgoat » August 30th, 2012, 5:05 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Brad, you just don't know what you're talking about. ALL publishers sell their ebooks for less than the original retail price of the same hardcover book. What planet are you living on?


I don't think that's true...

"And in case after case, the ebook price for a new book was close to, and sometimes even higher than, the Amazon price for a hardcover. "

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... publishing

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 30th, 2012, 5:22 pm

In the article Damian cites, the author makes this point:
"An ebook priced like a physical book is a terrible deal for the customer."

That's what the article is about: ebook prices that are the same as physical book prices. But that is not at all what we are talking about here regarding L&L, whose ebook prices are 50% of the price of their physical books (if they even have copies of the physical book left in stock).
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby mrgoat » August 30th, 2012, 5:31 pm

Sorry when you said "ALL publishers sell their ebooks for less than the original retail price of the same hardcover book." I thought you meant that all publishers sell their ebooks for less than the original retail price of the same hardcover book.

:)

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby John Warrens » August 30th, 2012, 5:33 pm

On another note..

I purchased the Elmsley Volume One book yesterday. I mean, who could pass that up for $9.99? What an awesome deal! The quality of the pdf is excellent and as I said before, I will be purchasing the majority of their releases, as well as Richard's when and if they become available.

If I could offer just one piece of advice to L&L..
It would be nice to have bookmarks in the pdf's to make navigating the book easier. I know I can manually make my own, but it would be nice if they were already in place. Just my two cents.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Smurf » August 30th, 2012, 6:13 pm

Brad may not be directly commenting on ebooks that cost as much as physical books, but the relationship of the prices has been a major point.

Suppose a book sold for $40 back in 1992 and was never reprinted. Assume the original cost to produce the physical book was $20. Thus, the information itself was worth $20.

Brad is saying the ebook should not be sold for less than $20, the original value of the information. If one considers the impact of inflation over the 20-year time period, perhaps the ebook price might even be raised a little.

Since ebook publishers in magic appear to price ebooks below their perceived original value for the information alone, the ebook publishers are devaluing the information. Is this true? That is the point to be debated.

One can certainly argue that the value of the information is not as great today due to it already being widespread or perhaps inferior to new information which incorporates improved methods and technology. That is certainly open for debate, though the information can often hold up well with time, as in The Expert at the Card Table. I think Elmsley's material will prove most valuable for decades.

Pricing discepancies between a current edition physical book and the ebook that don't equal production cost difference are the issue Brad brings up repeatedly.

In fact, given the far less likelihood of people scanning 450-page books on their own and sending them around to their friends, one might expect a higher price for e-material due to the likelihood of piracy problems.

For now, publishers are willing to take less for their information to induce sales volume. Specialty items that become regular commodities will inevitably shrink the number of major players in that market to the detriment of the customers. Instead, the market will be overrun with individual purveyors in the e-material market. With the lack of gatekeepers and professional editors, the general quality of the produced items in the market will decline. All you have to do is read even apparently professional internet sites and the lack of editing is readily apparent.

John

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 30th, 2012, 9:13 pm

Thank you John (Smurf). That is exactly the point. If the only thing different between the electronic and print versions is the physical product, then it stands to reason that the cost difference between the two would equal the cost of the said physical product.

Having said that, people WILL pay the same price for content that is delivered in a format with with a known lower cost. My The Dance was originally released as a hardback for $40. When it was reprinted in paperback I priced it at the same point - to ensure my original supporters had something extra, the nicer binding. There were no problems selling out that second run, and not a single person EVER complained to me, or to anyone who has told me, that they minded that they were having to pay for the content at the same price, and no first edition purchaser ever complained to me or to anyone who has told me, that they minded that a second paperback edition was provided in a less expensive binding. People WERE willing to pay well over $100 for the content in the Elmsley book. Are you telling me they wouldn't pay $30 for the same content electronically?

I think they would. It remains a bargain compared to the $100 price point they would have had to pay IF they could have found a copy.

But of course, more people will pay ten bucks. And if all you care about is the money, I'm sure that's the smart way to go.

Nothing wrong with caring only about money. Just embrace it for goodness sakes and stop with the silly rationalizations.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 30th, 2012, 9:18 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:"If this were more than a money grab..."

Brad, you just don't know what you're talking about. ALL publishers sell their ebooks for less than the original retail price of the same hardcover book. What planet are you living on?


Thats not what I suggested Richard. Not at all.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby R.E.Byrnes » August 30th, 2012, 9:38 pm

"Thank you John (Smurf). That is exactly the point. If the only thing different between the electronic and print versions is the physical product, then it stands to reason that the cost difference between the two would equal the cost of the said physical product."

Prices in competitive markets tend toward the products' marginal cost. You almost seem to be saying that here, and yet all your prior posts not only don't recognize that, but are seemingly premised on the fantasy of businesses somehow divining the "inherent value" of the material in a book. I empathize with the nostalgia and your high regard for magic that's embedded in your quite spirited posted here, and I dislike responses along the lines of "that's not how things work in the real world." However, that's the only apt response here -- augmented by RK's multiple comments as a practitioner in precisely this field.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Bill Duncan » August 31st, 2012, 12:07 am

I too couldn't resist the sale on the Elmsley book, and while I'm happy to have access to the material and Steve's excellent prose, I find the PDF a serious disappointment.

The PDF format is simply horrible for a book of this size. On an iPad in Adobe Reader, or the iBooks reader, or even the excellent GoodReader app, the pages take so long to turn and redraw that it is a distraction. The lack of bookmarks also hampers usability.

It's useful as a reference, but I can't imagine reading the book the way I would a paper book, browsing the pages...

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 31st, 2012, 1:18 am

RE, the value of a books material is simple to divine. Take the sales, subtract the cost incurred in the production of each volume, whatever is left over is the value you have chosen to place on the material.

I understand business. And a money grab is a money grab.

Looking forward to seeing all the new projects the profits shall fund!

But really, all of this is meaningless. What's done is done and has the right to deny us our feelings on the matter. We've moved on. Just didn't want false words to be attributed to me. That's fair, right?

Off to taom.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby R.E.Byrnes » August 31st, 2012, 2:06 am

You only "choose" prices within the pretty narrow boundaries imposed by competitive markets. By every indication, the market for books is highly competitive, paper and electronic. To be completely candid, that you find a "money grab" somehow distinguishable from the profit-maximizing behavior that's essential to survival in a competitive market, and offer the odd "Looking forward . . . !" exhortation suggest you either don't understand business at all, or that you so wish that things were different than they actually are that it overwhelms the desire or ability to understand. Perhaps you've abandoned the position that the difference in pricing between the electronic and paper Elmsley proves some bad faith with respect to the "intrinsic value," in favor of obscurities like this: "What's done is done and has the right to deny us our feelings on the matter." If that means you haven't persuaded anyone who sets the pricing for magic ebooks to do it the least bit differently, it's an accurate statement. Or, if you merely lament the commodification of just about everything, I can agree with that, a lot; but it seemed as if you were expressing more than just a lament.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby R.E.Byrnes » August 31st, 2012, 2:17 am

"Brad is saying the ebook should not be sold for less than $20, the original value of the information. If one considers the impact of inflation over the 20-year time period, perhaps the ebook price might even be raised a little. "

If so, that's a patently ridiculous position. It's not how pricing -- of anything -- in competitive economic markets works. Price is determined by what people will pay, which is a function of what else they might buy and, at some level, their assessment of the "value of the information." But prices change, constantly. Is Apple a $100 stock? $200? Does its price go up, forever, so long as it can be said to make really, really good things? What's the right price for a share of Facebook? It's just another price that goes up and down because, like everything else, "value" of the company isn't fixed, and whatever its "original value" might have been is only distantly relevant to how its valued now.

There's an argument for taking things with an artistic aspect out of the usual pricing markets. As noted above, France does that to some extent. It's not how things work here, however, and with that all this talk about "original value" and facile applications of inflation is pure fantasy. Call it what it is; but the attempt to hold L&L to some ethereal, non-existent pricing model is inane.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby mrgoat » August 31st, 2012, 5:40 am

Bill Duncan wrote:The PDF format is simply horrible for a book of this size. On an iPad in Adobe Reader, or the iBooks reader, or even the excellent GoodReader app, the pages take so long to turn and redraw that it is a distraction. The lack of bookmarks also hampers usability.


Exactly. PDF is just an old format that isn't suitable for modern devices. EPUB3 is the way to go.

PDF is the equivalent of shovelware. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shovelware)

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 31st, 2012, 9:56 am

RE, values do fluctuate. Before the release of the ebooks people who wanted the material were willingly paying $150, and that would have been considered a very good deal. At the time of publication people happily paid $40 - and given that the free market fueled the later increase suggests that (unlike some things in life) elmselys material had not become less desirable.

It stands to reason then that a $40 price on the ebook or a similar price, slightly lower to account for the lack of binding, would be a reasonable and financially viable one - IF L & L were concerned with the customer base who HAD through the years supported them and their projects. Their pricing decision and attitude reveal they do not. THAT is my lament.

We have been promised by an L & L spokesman that the sales of the books will allow them the resources to fund new and exciting projects, and that this isn't just an attempt to burn the lot before packing up the tents.

I am looking forward to that as it may in some measure mitigate my disappointment in how they have chosen to deal with this situation.

If you have any further questions about what I mean, try asking me rather than speculating. It will save both of us a lot of time.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby LL Publishing » August 31st, 2012, 10:24 am

Brad Henderson wrote:
We have been promised by an L & L spokesman that the sales of the books will allow them the resources to fund new and exciting projects, and that this isn't just an attempt to burn the lot before packing up the tents.



Brad,

You hate it when people put words in your mouth and twist around what you say, but you seem to have no problem doing it to other people. I never said what is quoted above. Never.

I'll remind you of the exchange:

Brad Henderson wrote:Steve, is L and L anticipating the release of new content in the immediate or long term future (other than yet another Richard osterlind DVD) or is your focus now solely on generating additional revenue from products already in the marketplace?


LL Publishing wrote:Brad,

There are new projects coming up that are not Osterlind DVDs.


Interesting that you had brought up Osterlind's name because a new Osterlind DVD set did come out, but Osterlind & Sisti produced the project themselves.

Continuing:

Brad Henderson wrote:Steve. Are these new content book/ebook projects?


LL Publishing wrote:I don't know what Louis has planned. I typically hear about new products just a few days before you do. If I was working in Tahoe, I would know more, but I'm in St. Louis so and only hear about new items right before they ship me the info for the website.

For the download site we've talked about different products we could include that L&L hasn't released yet, but right now the focus is just getting the ebooks completed and loaded into the site and then we will look at the next step.


So where did I say these ebooks were going to fund new & existing projects?

Just an FYI, nothing has changed since I posted "...but right now the focus is just getting the ebooks completed and loaded into the site and then we will look at the next step."

All the ebooks are on the site, we've ironed out the technical issues making some changes here and there and the site is basically running on it's own. Where is it going to go from here? We're not sure. We've tossed around some ideas, just like I mentioned several months ago, but no decisions or timeline have been made.

Will there be new projects coming from L&L? Absolutely. There are several DVD projects on the way. L&L isn't going anywhere.
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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby mrgoat » August 31st, 2012, 10:55 am

Cool, thanks for the clarification that the revenue from the ebooks isn't going to fund new projects and is just being put in the bank.

Nothing wrong with that, we all have to make money!

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby Brad Henderson » August 31st, 2012, 2:01 pm

Steve, in context we had been discussing how ebooks now allow producers to bring new content to the market which would otherwise be impossible due to cost. I believe Rk made that point. I then asked you if new projects were to be anticipated.

Context. It's your friend.

Like goat, I am happy to learn the truth.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby R.E.Byrnes » August 31st, 2012, 2:06 pm

They priced it closer to the prevailing prices for electronic books, not based on some vague "concern for their customer base" -- the general assumption is that lower, not higher, prices better serve customers. Maybe they will re-invest profits, if they in fact have any; it's not as if either books or magic is thriving. It doesn't really matter if they "pack up the tents"; someone else will acquire the rights and sell the same stuff. There will be ample cause for pious laments.

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Re: L&L Publishing eBooks

Postby LL Publishing » August 31st, 2012, 2:30 pm

Deleted.

Cleared up the misunderstanding on the phone. Thanks Brad!
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