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Tarbell on CDs

Posted: May 27th, 2003, 10:22 pm
by Luis
Our friend Chris has published the Tarbell course on CD; now Marko from the Learned Pig Project is publishing it again, see

Why the duplication of efforts?

Re: Tarbell on CDs

Posted: May 27th, 2003, 11:45 pm
by Steve V
Cuz it's public domain and they can.....
Steve V

Re: Tarbell on CDs

Posted: May 28th, 2003, 4:43 am

I would like to make two comments about this question. First, I had in the past a gentlemen agreement with Marko to not duplicate efforts. There are so many great old magic books that there is no need for us to convert the same ones. Marko has chosen to violate our agreement. Since the original Tarbell Course is public domain, there is of course nothing I can do about it. I am just disappointed and wish he had converted something else, for the good of magic. Nevertheless I wish him good luck, only with less support from me in the future.

For anyone interested in buying either Marko's or's Tarbell CD, here are some important differences.'s comes with the "Post Graduate Lesson". This is lesson 61, if you will. As far as I know Marko does not offer this on his CD. Also's comes both in PDF and HTML format, whereas Marko only offers PDF. My HTML version has many productivity features, from search engine to text-to-speech to inclusion of a digital facsimile (all pages are also available as full page images). There might also be some conversion accuracy difference depending on how he did it. If it was just using Acrobat's built in OCR, like the ebooks from Munari, then has a definite quality advantage in terms of the conversion accuracy, which will reflect itself in the ability to search the ebook. And as a special offer to all Genii forum readers, if you buy the Tarbell CD from now until June 25th you get one other downloadable ebook up to a price of $8 free of charge. In order to make use of this one time special offer you have to let me know in the comments box of my online order form which ebook you want.

I have uploaded to my site two reviews of my Tarbell CD .

Chris Wasshuber
preserving magic one book at a time.

Re: Tarbell on CDs

Posted: June 2nd, 2003, 9:15 pm
by Guest
As an interesting historical note, in the late 80's/very early 90's, I had approached the owner of D. Robbins (many know his name, but it's unnecessary to mention it) with an idea.

I would, of my own effort, scan the entirety of the Tarbell books, use OCR and hand effort, to convert them into electronic format. Yep, it would have taken many months.

The plan at the time (prior to the emergence of pdf as a standard) was to store them in a custom database format, and have them readable and searchable (not printable, as he wanted to preserve book sales.)

I had designed custom software (thems were DOS days, btw) with the ability to perform complicated real-time concordances -- basically, regular expression searches - for example search sections for appearances of the word "coin" and "cigar" but not "stage."

Well, after giving a 40 page "demo" to him, he agreed by phone to do it. We had yet decided whether I would sell him complete software units at wholesale, or he would "buy me out" for my effort, but it was certain he would receive a full electronic copy of his books for future use (1-7 were plates, as I recall, and were not in eFormat of any kind.)

Well, after calling to nail down that last detail, I was informed that a relative decided producing videos of various effects in the Tarbell books would be a better direction to pursue. I haven't seen 'em yet. :rolleyes:

So, to make a long story just a tad bit longer, it pleased me when the pdf versions of the public domain Tarbell Course was released. First, it was affirmation that I had a good idea that just didn't blossom. Second, while not feeling any ill will about the dissolved deal, it provides a tiny bit of satisfaction knowing that his lack of foresight means someone else makes a few bucks that he doesn't ;)

--- Guy