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Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 12th, 2019, 11:31 am
by Brad Henderson
Joe Lyons wrote:You're correct Brad, objectivism doesn't explain it perfectly, but it's close.
I'm just agreeing with you.


I appreciate that. Just splitting some hairs. Having produced a couple of small printed works and finishing a much larger one, I have a new appreciation of how expensive and how much time this all takes. When you factor in that most books will never sell as well as other magic products - even of similar price - you find yourself in a tough position. I really think what I have to offer can benefit other magicians (or I wouldnt be trying to share it) and I really do want to do anything I can to help other magicians become better magicians - but I also have to compensate myself for the thousands of hours the process takes AND cover all the specific costs of production.

The cost of printing alone is gone up considerably since the first edition of The Dance, for example. So - do I charge a price that reflects my real investment, or not reprint at all?

At least in the former case some people will have the opportunity to avail themselves of the material. But when people complain about prices , they don’t create an environment which makes it easier to be successful and that only leads to higher prices later.

So, sadly, the next book will not be cheap. Not crazy expensive - but not cheap. It can’t be. Not if I can only expect to sell a thousand or so. And if I want to do it in a nice binding on quality stock.

If we want great magicians to put out great material (and just FYI, I’m not putting myself into that category, though I do think the book will prove useful to magicians looking to learn how to create their own unique magical experiences) then we need to support the ones who do.

If we care about the ‘community’ as PapaG claims, then we need to be responsible and thoughtful as the community.

That’s all.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 12th, 2019, 12:25 pm
by Brian Douglas
Limited prints always cost more. Remember the cost of those college books?

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 12th, 2019, 12:50 pm
by erdnasephile
Bill Mullins wrote:
erdnasephile wrote: I just find it a bit ironic that we are rather passionately discussing something that 99% of us haven't even read yet.


Some are discussing the specific book and whether it is too expensive or not; and some are discussing the broader principles (for which discussion you don't have to read The Magic Rainbow.)


Point well taken, Bill.

In that vein, I'll side step issues of "worth" and "fairness" (It's hard for me to consider fairness in pricing here because after all, for most, this is a discretionary purchase; therefore, as Brad has implied, what is "fair" is justifiably decided by the creators, IMHO).

I would like to ask the following:

IF the new normal for such books is $150, is this healthy economically for the magic marketplace? That is, would such a price point push so many folks out of the pool that it would significantly constrict the market for new event books? Would it also cannibalize a limited pool of money available for magic purchases and therefore, negatively impact the sales of other magic items? Would such a price point leave so many feeling "gouged" that they would boycott such books?

I actually think the answer to those questions is a qualified "No". While the last decade of the economy has not been equally kind to all parties, data suggest that in the US at least, consumer spending and confidence is up. The market for luxury goods has been strong and upscale corporation profits are up. That's why I suspect that as long as the book is perceived to be sufficient quality or status, magicians that are able will just gulp and pay the till. FOMO and the notion of "If I could only find that one book/trick/video, I'd be great" will help ensure this. People are rarely good at denying themselves pleasure unless it is critical that they do not do so.

The current market for custom gaffed coins may be a rough parallel here. The inflation and norms for these items has grown enormously over the last few years and the makers appear to have more business than they can handle if wait times and non-communication are any indication. If anything, demand has grown as prices have gone up. This, despite the fact, the pool of buyers for really pricey coin gimmicks is probably smaller than for a general magic book.

We also see this in other niche hobbies such as board gaming. (See the current Kickstarter campaigns for tabletop games). The laments on the board game forums express similar reservations, but people's willingness to spend money for what they want has continued unabated.

Therefore, I don't think the postulated precedent here will affect the overall market all that much. Rather, I think the future status of the overall economy will largely dictate new normals and consumer behaviors.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 12th, 2019, 1:52 pm
by AJM
Excellent post Mr E.

Andrew

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 12th, 2019, 8:42 pm
by PickaCard
I remember historical posts of Richard mentionning that the book market was very difficult and that it took year to sell stock.

So who are buying these $150+ books? Why does it appear the market now welcomes expensive books when reasonably priced ones would apparently sit there in print for years?

Am I correct in my assumption and observation that the younger demographic does not read magic books?

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 12th, 2019, 11:38 pm
by chriscaldwell11
So who are buying these $150+ books? Why does it appear the market now welcomes expensive books when reasonably priced ones would apparently sit there in print for years?


Your post reminds me of a Larry the Cable guy joke:

"I put my old sofa out next to the curb with a sign that said 'FREE." It sat there for 10 days.
So I put a sign on it that said $2500. It was stolen an hour later."

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 11:01 am
by Richard Kaufman
For whatever it's worth in this conversation, my book on DeLand has yet to break even. And that's with a $150 retail price (smart business sense would have dictated a retail price of $200 at least).

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 12:00 pm
by Joe Lyons
Richard Kaufman wrote:For whatever it's worth in this conversation, my book on DeLand has yet to break even. And that's with a $150 retail price (smart business sense would have dictated a retail price of $200 at least).


Richard, I read once that magic products sell half their lifetime distribution in the first 60 days. Does this hold true for books as well?
Thanks,
Joe

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 12:02 pm
by MagicbyAlfred
And, I'm guessing, the break-even calculation does not even factor in the countless hours of research, writing and editing...

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 3:52 pm
by Richard Kaufman
No, not true for books. Not 60 days. But at this point, I would say it is true that 60% is in the first year.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 4:11 pm
by Joe Mckay
The Deland book was under-priced.

200 bucks would have been a fairer price.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 4:30 pm
by PapaG
My fear is this is all backfiring and these comments might be giving Richard ideas.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 5:15 pm
by Ted M
I can say for certain that I wouldn't have bought DeLand at $200.

I would've just gone without.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 5:27 pm
by PickaCard
PapaG wrote:My fear is this is all backfiring and these comments might be giving Richard ideas.


I bought Deland. It was well worth the price for the quality of publication. However, I would have hesitated if it were more.

I will hesitate for Greater Magic if it is more than $150 as I already have the previous version.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 5:54 pm
by PapaG
My comment was light-hearted.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 13th, 2019, 6:06 pm
by Richard Kaufman
PickaCard wrote:
PapaG wrote:My fear is this is all backfiring and these comments might be giving Richard ideas.


I bought Deland. It was well worth the price for the quality of publication. However, I would have hesitated if it were more.

I will hesitate for Greater Magic if it is more than $150 as I already have the previous version.


Then I guess my estimate of what people would pay for the DeLand book was just about right. :)

Regarding Greater Magic, the new version is going to literally double the size of the book from almost 400,000 words to 800,000 words and bring it all up to date. It will, probably, be three volumes. You may already own Greater Magic, but you don't already own this new edition. Trust me. I'm 60, and I would not be spending a few years of my life on a new edition of Greater Magic if it wasn't going to be something special. If it was just going to be a reprint I would have better ways to spend my precious time!

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 14th, 2019, 11:02 am
by Matthew Field
I have two editions of Greater Magic. I consider it one of the most important magic books ever published. I will gladly add the new edition to my library -- Richard doesn't mess around with these things.


The Magic Rainbow just arrived -- can't wait to dig in. Great service from VanishingIncMagic.co.uk. Thanks Andi and Josh.


Matt Field

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 16th, 2019, 2:32 pm
by Gordon Meyer
A week or so after a new smartphone is released there is inevitably a "teardown analysis" posted online where some supposed expert has gone through the cost of all the chips, screws, and other components and determined how much each costs. Then they add it all up and declare that the total is how much it costs to make the device. This total completely ignores assembly, packaging, shipping, tariffs, and labor costs. Not to mention the wages of the people involved in creating it to begin with.

Weighing the cost to produce a book based solely on its paper and pricing is equally absurd.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 16th, 2019, 3:40 pm
by erdnasephile
I would gladly stipulate than 1) the whole is greater than the cost of the parts and 2) the creators deserve to try to earn as much money as possible for their efforts.

Given that, I have a question: would it have been better for the state of magic as a whole if the book were priced lower to allow a presumably wider distribution of Sr. Tamariz' teachings?

I actually don't think so because sadly, I have a rather jaded view of magicdom in general. That is, I suspect that the vast majority of the books that are sold will end up being unread (or nearly unread) and just sit on shelves gathering dust and/or put on the green place or ebay in about a year. Even if the books are read, only a relatively small percentage of readers will likely think carefully about the material. An even smaller percentage will understand and actually apply the material to their original work. Therefore, even if the price was more affordable, I'm not certain it would affect the real world practical dissemination of Sr. Tamariz' ideas.

I sincerely hope I am wrong about all this, but how many magicians have you seen who apply all of the readily available brilliant theory from Carney, Close, Wonder, Maven, Burger, etc.? That said, I am grateful for those like da Ortiz, Giobbi, and others who clearly live what Sr. Tamariz teaches.

PS: I'm truly not trying to be uppity here because I'm also pointing the finger at myself---I have way too many good books still in shrinkwrap!

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 17th, 2019, 9:07 am
by erdnasephile
I just read what I wrote yesterday, and I hate it.

If I take those arguments to their conclusion, then maybe they should just price it at $10,000 to keep it out of the hands of the "animals" (to quote a certain alleged conversation) or maybe never publish it at all.

The landscape of magic would surely be a whole lot worse if not for the genius and generosity of the Vernons, Ascanios, and the Tamariz's of the world.

When it's all said and done, maybe it's a good thing material of this nature is priced high (but not completely out of reach) because if it forces me to save for it or if it pinches my magic budget enough to curtail buying other distracting junk then maybe, just maybe, it will help me slow down to digest the contents, truly value it, and apply it. In my estimation, that would be a good thing.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 17th, 2019, 11:41 am
by Leonard Hevia
You're a wise man Erdnasephile. It should be understood that the situation you pointed out applies to books of all subjects, not just magic. If all books that were published were read and absorbed by most of the world's population, instead of just sitting on shelves, or in recycling bins, the situation on our planet might be a whole lot better.

Even though a small fraction of the knowledge in books is put to good use, that's better than nothing. Civilization went from the chariot, the Industrial Revolution, and eventually to rocket engines through accumulated knowledge that was recorded on scrolls before books were invented and then in books after the advent of the printing press.

The conversation you alluded to about giving the tools to the animals was, if remember correctly a comment by Persi Diaconis to Vernon. I believe it was in that New Yorker article about Ricky Jay. Diaconis forgot that much of the knowledge in his brain came from people like the Professor who were willing to share their wisdom in books.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 24th, 2019, 6:22 am
by Matthew Field
Jim Krenz posted a wonderful write-up about Tamariz and "The Magic Rainbow" on the Vanishing Inc. Blog page, which prompted the following.

The Magic Rainbow, of which I’ve only read about the first 100 pages, is one of the most amazing, thought-provoking books on magic I’ve ever read. It is important in so many ways, not least as a guide to performers to strive for the deepest experience they can provide audiences, not just the cheap gag. Tamariz proves that magic can be art if the effort is made by the performer. The responsibility is ours to study this book and heed its lessons.

Matt Field

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 24th, 2019, 9:01 am
by Ted M
Steve Bryant has a lightly evaluative chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the book's contents in this month's Little Egypt Magic:

http://littleegyptmagic.com/magic_february2019.html

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: February 25th, 2019, 3:05 pm
by Rafael Benatar
Bringing two issues together, here is what Juan Tamariz told me years ago regarding Greater Magic: "Don't buy 10 other books: get Greater Magic. With the card material alone you can fool the folks at the [Madrid] magic club every week for three years."

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 4th, 2019, 5:00 am
by Richard Stokes
Cancel all previous protestations!
I can buy Monograph by Chris Ware for under £30 via Amazon UK.
"A flabbergasting experiment in publishing hubris."
It's such a huge volume that it won't even fit into my bookcase.
It props up my sofa.
A five star retrospective by a distinguished graphic artist.
Makes a mockery of all those overpriced magic books.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 4th, 2019, 9:45 am
by Brad Henderson
According to Amazon the ware book is only 280 pages. And will likely sell an order of magnitude more copies than a magic book ever will.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 4th, 2019, 7:47 pm
by MagicbyAlfred
Aside from Brad's well-taken point that the Ware book is likely to enjoy a significantly higher volume of sales than The Magic Rainbow, it seems like kind of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Juan's book contains profound specialized knowledge and insight that is bound to elevate the performance and/or creative abilities of those who read and study it, and apply the principles. And for professionals, or those who aspire to be, it can actually translate into tangible income production.

I thought this was an interesting review of Monograph from a verified purchaser on Amazon:

Great Book, But Have a Magnifying Glass Handy

Here's the one reason I give this book four stars instead of five: I love Chris Ware's comics, but their one drawback always has been the annoyingly too-small text size Ware regularly uses in his captions and word balloons. The huge dimensions of this book (a whopping 18" by 13", weighing nearly 10 pounds) made me think this couldn't possibly be a problem here. WRONG! With many of his comics reproduced several-pages-to-the-page, and occasionally as very small comics glued onto the large pages, the font sizes are actually SMALLER here than in the originals, and even more difficult to read. I'm not kidding when I say that you will need a magnifying glass to read many of the comics pages here, which is just ridiculous, as well as being extremely frustrating. Why Ware (or his editor) makes his brilliant work so difficult to enjoy is a real mystery. Too bad there's not a "large print" edition...

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 4th, 2019, 7:58 pm
by Q. Kumber
It is a bit weird comparing an overpriced book for the public to an underpriced book for the magic market.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 5th, 2019, 9:45 am
by F.Amílcar
Dear friends in magic,

I have read two times this book because can not to check and contrast with laymen the opinions reflected in the theories.

Finally I have arrived to the conclusion that one book like this is a must for everybody (amateur and professional magician ).

I hope that you consider that Juan Tamariz becomes a classic in magic, and it is a work almost of a whole life.

Sincerely,



F.Amílcar Riega i Bello.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 5th, 2019, 11:57 am
by Matthew Field
I have now read half the book. It is so full of ideas and prescient observations that I find I must often pause to assimilate and review the ideas presented by El Maestro. His references to classic effects, great magicians of the past and present and books in dozens of categories are almost overwhelming.

This is a book to be savored. It is a pathway to making magic more memorable for audiences in both the immediate and long terms.

It is a magical gift from a superb magician and even more superb thinker. We should be grateful to Sr. Tamariz for sharing his explorations and conclusions.

I am overwhelmed.

Matt Field

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 5th, 2019, 1:09 pm
by Richard Stokes
Juan Tamariz was supposedly a radical film maker and opponent to General Franco in his student days.
Couldn't the publishers at least hold the price down to $75 ?
That's still a lot of money for students of magic.
Economies of scale would mean the publishers should still break even and eventually achieve a net gain.

I can buy a new copy of Bobby Fischer's Sixty Best Games for £12.
20p a miracle.
This too can be savoured...

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 5th, 2019, 2:52 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Richard, as I noted earlier there are a lot of fingers in the pie on a book like this that have to be paid.

The printer.
The editor and designer.
The translator.
The artist.
The business.

That's five entities which need to get paid.

No one is making a mint on this book.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 15th, 2019, 4:53 pm
by Richard Stokes
A friend who works for a specialised book publisher in London gave me some inside figures. A 1500 print run would cost them 2-4 euros for a paperback and 5-7 euros for a hardback.
Even a monster oversized hardback of 600 pages on a limited print run of 500 would cost only 21 euros.
She was flabbergasted when I mentioned a $150 sales price.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 15th, 2019, 5:03 pm
by Brad Henderson
Pass her name on to Tamariz and maybe she can make a bunch of money and release his next project at a much lower price point.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 15th, 2019, 10:51 pm
by Richard Kaufman
Stokes, you are not a book publisher. I listed all the people who needed to get paid for work on the Tamariz book in an earlier post. The smaller part of the cost is the printing of the actual book. But you wouldn't know that since you're not a publisher.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 16th, 2019, 9:19 am
by Bob Farmer
There is a difference between value and cost. If one wants a cheaper price on a book of the same size, one should buy a book by a magician no one has ever heard of, or cares about, with common ideas that are well known.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 16th, 2019, 12:37 pm
by Matthew Field
Well said, Bob.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 16th, 2019, 12:42 pm
by Joe Mckay
"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get." - Warren Buffett

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 16th, 2019, 4:15 pm
by PapaG
Makes me wonder at what price some people would balk.

Re: The Magic Rainbow

Posted: March 16th, 2019, 4:34 pm
by Brad Henderson
Why would you wonder? You are ‘some people’ and you balked. So you have your answer.

What price is fair for a man’s life’s work? Is it merely the cost of ink and paper?

How many hours did Tamariz spend writing the words. Editing them. How many years did he spend exploring the ideas. Refining them.

What is it worth to have access to all that information without ANY of the work?

I pay a lady $80 every other week to clean my house. It doesn’t make me a better performer. It doesn’t expand my thinking. It doesn’t allow me to make more money as a performing artist.

Seems to me in comparison $150 is a bargain.