A Return To Books?

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.
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Q. Kumber
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A Return To Books?

Postby Q. Kumber » December 27th, 2015, 6:21 am

At a Christmas party I got involved in a discussion with a group of students, all doing Ph.D.s in various disciplines.

Much to my surprise, all loathed the on screen word. Admittedly, we are talking about academic work, not fiction. They will all print out .pdfs as they are easier to read and they can highlight relevant sections for later referral. And they prefer books.

Then I thought that this would be because Ph.D. students need far more research than an average first year student, yet today I see this article in The Washington Post, so maybe there is a swing towards books in the general population.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/in ... story.html

Bob Farmer
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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby Bob Farmer » December 27th, 2015, 10:05 am

I've changed my book strategy. I read about 100 fiction books a year. I used to buy the physical book, but now I use Kindle. All those old physical fiction books: most of them have been donated to Goodwill.

Books for research in any subject, I usually buy and keep a physical book.

Magic books: I want a physical book. PDFs I print out to read. Physical pages can be flipped back and forth and sometimes a happy accident reveals an undiscovered wonder.

I hate videos. I can watch the performance, but then I want to read the explanations. Video is a craft just like writing: unfortunately, few seem to have mastered the craft.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 27th, 2015, 11:09 am

In the USA, at least, the printed book and the ebook have seemed to find a balance of coexistence. Sales of digital books have declined, while sales of printed books have increased. Independent bookstores are reopening and finding customers.

So, the apocalyptic end of print has failed to take place. Most of us think that's a good thing.
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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby brianarudolph » December 27th, 2015, 1:49 pm

Some of my guiding principles following the advent of e-books:

- If I know I'm only going to read the book once (or if I know that it's highly likely that I'll read the book only once) I buy it as an e-book if available. It's usually cheaper and it won't occupy physical space on the shelf until I finally get around to getting rid of it or passing it on. (I can easily delete it or archive it from the memory of device if need be.)

- If I don't know if I'm going to like a book or I know that I'm clearly taking a chance on a book, I'll also buy it as an e-book first and go from there after reading it.

- Any book that I want to study in depth/study over time, and any book that I know I will/am likely to read several times/definitely will refer back to often will be purchased as a physical book (hardcover whenever possible.)

- Any book I deem extremely important to me I will acquire in both physical and e-book form when both forms are available so I can have most or all of my important books with me when I travel. I also use the e-book for rapid searching for things that I then pursue at length in the physical book when both are at hand.

If there ever is some kind of movement towards eliminating most physical books in favor of e-books, I hereby volunteer to lead one of the resistance cells.

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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby performer » December 27th, 2015, 1:58 pm

Return to books? I never left.

Leonard Hevia
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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 27th, 2015, 2:05 pm

performer wrote:Return to books? I never left.

Neither have I. Vinyl records are making something of a comeback but I did leave that. Records eventually wear out, which for me cancels out any superior analog sound characteristics they might have. I have never purchased an e-book and I never will. When I purchase a book it's for keeps.

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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby AJM » December 27th, 2015, 2:20 pm

I never left them.
I need to, however, as I'm running out of space.
These days I only buy signed non-magic books - unsigned books are put on the kindle/iPad.
Makes the suitcase a tad lighter though when going on vacation.
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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby erdnasephile » December 27th, 2015, 4:12 pm

That's good to hear, Q.

I have mixed feelings: for books I wish to really study (Erdnase, works of Vernon, Card College, etc.) I much prefer their physical form. OTOH, for books of little consequence or for space-eating periodicals, I have come to appreciate their pdf form. The search function makes research so much easier, and the notion of using personal cloud storage to access this stuff anywhere in the world is an intoxicating idea.

I agree with Bob Farmer on the lack of care/skill many videos are being put together with these days (EMC being a rather notable exception). I wish L and L were back in the game because they really had this down to a science. (Plus, I miss Janel and David! ;) )

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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 27th, 2015, 6:53 pm

My understanding is that to obtain a PhD, one must literally write a book. So, if I was accepted into a PhD program (after bribing the appropriate academic officials), I would want to read books in lieu of watching videos. As a matter of fact, even as a student of magic, I don't think videos can ever take the place of studying great magic books, and IMO videos have a tendency to stifle originality and creativity, and create magic clones.

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Re: A Return To Books?

Postby performer » December 27th, 2015, 8:30 pm

The trouble with videos is that you can be far too easily influenced by the performer. If he is an awful performer (which he usually is) you get turned off and may bypass some marvellous material. And if he is a good performer (which he usually isn't) then you will be inclined to copy his style and end up pretty useless as a result.

Books are far better providing there is clarity in the writing. If you have no idea how good or bad the writer is you can be far more objective about the material and the teaching within.

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