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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » For? Against? Magic Books in Laymen Bookstores (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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krist0pher
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I was in Borders (a large bookstore/cafe chain in the U.S.) tonight browsing around the aisles, when I noticed in huge colorful print "Magic! Close Up!". At first, I thought it was going to be like the 3 or so books that you could find at any library of children's section of any bookstore. I was expecting to see a couple of your basic improptu dinner effects,...maybe a T&R napkin, and c**n knife-bend. But this thing was chalk-full of half-decent, and some great improptu magic! I felt threatened by a Magic book in a laymen store!

It was sharing the same shelf (though very, very small, and neighboring to the massice Yoga shelf) as "Scarne On Card Magic" and David Blaine's book, both of which I don't find to be all that threatening because the average laymen couldn't possible read through something like Scarne or Royal Road without getting frusterated (we barely do), and Daivd Blaine's book is about as interesting as the nearby Yoga section (no offense, if Yoga's your thing!).

A scenario of a curios laymen rifling through books on magic and discovering the secrets of some treasured, classic improptu magic made me fear for the longevity and..well, "magic" of magic.

For? Or against the selling of Magic books in laymen stores?
Kristopher Scofield

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Bohh
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I think I've picked that book up from Borders when I was just getting back into magic. I agree there are some decent things in there. I'm not really for or against them being there. Chances are slim that someone is going in there to find out secrets and even if they do they could find out otherways. And if a layman just happened to see it, picked it up found some stuff out, and left the store. I'd bet he'd forgotten or wouldn't even identify the methods used when a well practiced and well performed magi showed him a trick.

I figure these stores have had these books for years now, and they are limited in quantity, so I don't see any negative outcomes.

-Mike
DomKabala
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Smile Smile As a child growing up throughout the '60s, I became interested in magic after watching "The Magic Land of Alakazam" hosted by magician Don Wilson, every Sat. morning on CBS. My next stop was the local library as I began to devour every book on the subject of magic. Books became my gateway into this new and intriguing hobby which has been with me eversince. I frequently visit local bookstores and quite honestly I am apalled at the selection of literature about magic today. If anyone's curiosity is awakened by the purchase of these books, and they wanted more then their search would end up on the internet, or the public library (my Public library has better books). But I am not opposed at all at the sale of magic books in layman stores as I was once that Layman. Books are necessary to help that spark kindle into a genuine love and respect for magic.

<<<<KRaZy4magic>>>
We don't stop playing when we grow old...we grow old when we stop playing.

God is enough, let go, let God. Gal 2:20

"Anything of value is not easily attained and those things which are easily attained are not of lasting value."



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irossall
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I agree with KRZ4kardz. (By the way it was Mark Wilson).
One of the best books (in my opinion)"The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay was in my Junior High School Library along with a couple of John Mulholland, Walter Gibson and Bill Severn books as well.
Having public access to good books on Magic is exactly what the Magic community needs in order to keep the spark alive and to help the lay person to be properly introduced to performance Magic.
Iven Smile
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Roland Henning
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Okay here is the truth... MAGIC BOOKS ARE USUALLY BORING TO READ.

Think about it. When a layman reads a magic book he throws the towel after the first two pages. After reading the same passage over and over again, still not knowing what the author wants to say he will give up.
DomKabala
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Quote:
On 2005-04-19 07:42, irossall wrote:
I agree with KRZ4kardz. (By the way it was Mark Wilson).
One of the best books (in my opinion)"The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay was in my Junior High School Library along with a couple of John Mulholland, Walter Gibson and Bill Severn books as well.
Having public access to good books on Magic is exactly what the Magic community needs in order to keep the spark alive and to help the lay person to be properly introduced to performance Magic.
Iven Smile
Smile Ooopps I knew that...Thanx for pointing that out {lol} Don Wilson is a former lightheavy weight champion kickboxer that I know...I guess he was on my mind...any hooo...

<<<KRaZy4kardz>>>
We don't stop playing when we grow old...we grow old when we stop playing.

God is enough, let go, let God. Gal 2:20

"Anything of value is not easily attained and those things which are easily attained are not of lasting value."



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Frank Tougas
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I am for it because this is one of the strange and wonderful paths to learning our art. Before the internet there was the bookstore, the public library and the classified section of Popular Mechanics where for a mere fifty cents you could order all those (now collectable) wonderful catalogs.

In fact I make a point of passing through bookstores on a regular basis to see what gems may be hiding there in the open.

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
Corey Harris
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I have come across a borders here in Kansas City that carries Mark Wilsons complete course in magic.
Zac Vee
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There is alos a small book called card tricks( or something) by Mark Wilson, in borders near the till, when you are waiting to pay there is the book calling buy me buy me .
peace, love and kindness.. no terms and conditions

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onezero1
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Quote:
On 2005-04-19 09:24, Frank Tougas wrote

In fact I make a point of passing through bookstores on a regular basis to see what gems may be hiding there in the open.


Darn right! I have bought bobos modern coin, royal road, and T.A Waters encyclopedia of magic and magicians all in regular bookstores.
you cant really glean anything by just flicking through a book like Bobo's, you have to buy it and study it.
I know a librarian who tells me that most magic books are not even on the published books lists which is a nice thing for an art based in mystery. Despite our modern world and almost unlimited access to information it is still very very hard to learn any secrets of magic without coughing up some money and if you pay then you are entitled to know these secrets. that's the only reason we know them.
'though it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way...it would seem that we are all negligent.
Harry Murphy
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The Karl Fulves “self working” series, the Mark Wilson “Complete Course in Magic” (and the smaller “Cyclopedia of Magic”), the Buckley “Card Magic” and dozens of other classic magic books are all for sale at “regular” bookstores. Heck, one of the magic books that I treasure Bruce Elliott’s “Classic Secrets of Magic” was originally written for the non-magician consumer market.

Consider this, not only are magic books freely available in bookstores but also in the public library.

Honestly, I have no problem with them being out there and available to the interested. It’s how many young magicians get their start (and it is usually more affordable than a magic store). I also believe that the easiest way to hide a secret is to publish it!

So I guess that I'm for it!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
what
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A Few years ago, I was browsing through a Barns & Noble bookstore and cam accross a copy of "Mark Wilsons Complete Course in Magic." I thought that it wuld be fun to teach the cub scouts a magic trick or two. I bought the book and what appears to be a lifelong hobby. I have many other magic books now, but that one is still my most often referenced. So I have no problem with magic books in bookstores. In fact:
1/3 of the population in the U.S. never reads a book after high school
42 percent of U.S. college graduates never read a book after college
70 perecent of U.S. adults have not been aion a bookstore in the last year.
statistics found at: http://www.humorwriters.org/startlingstats.html

Publishing books about magic appears to be a great way to both preserve the art and hide it from the general public.

Mike
Magic is fun!!!
Payne
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I really doubt that the accessibility of magic books to the general public will be the end of magic as we know it. Many of us got into magic because we came across a magic book in a bookstore or library. Robert Houdin according to tradition became a magician because he was inadvertently given a Tome on mechanical conjuring apparatus instead of the book on clockmaking he had asked for.
Books in the hands of the uninitiated is not a new fear. I'll wager an encounter like this occurred when the first magic books hit the shelves.

La Morte de Majeek
Being a playlet in one parte

Scene the only: An encampment just outside London

The Time: 1584, a Tuesday

As our play opens we see our Hero Anthony Ringfaller sitting in doublet and hose atop a log in front of a smallish fire. He looks rather glum and is half heartedly poking at the dying embers with a stick.

Enter Master Payne;

Payne: What ho good sir! Wouldst thou welcome a common jongleur into your company to break bread and share your fire?

Anthony: Why not. It be the end time and I care not to spend it alone.
Verily I welcome thee fellow jongleur come and share with me my fire in these our final days.

Pay: Final Days? Be there plague? Pestilence?

Ant: Nay brother tis worse than any plague visited upon man. For knowest this day hath I returned from London town where I did see with mine own eyes a most horrid sight.

Pay: Pray tell me, what hast thou espied?

Ant: Twas in a bookstall in Charring Cross, a great tome called "The
Discoverie of Witchcraft" which doth lay bare all our innermost japes and
tricks.

Pay: Sayest it be not so!

Ant: Truly good sir, wish that I could. But there it lay, out in the open
where anyone just walking by could break it's tawdry covers and read for
themselves all our innermost secrets.

Pay: O' for the days of old when one had to apprentice ones self to a Master Conjurer to learn our craft. Now you say that the curious canst now walk into any book stall and just open a book to learn our trade! Truly our days be numbered.

Ant: I have heard tell that this be the age of enlightenment. Ever since the
infernal printing press was invented information that was once most difficult
to find is now available to all! Knowest that did I stand the day before the
aforesaid mentioned stall and did see with mine own eyes over twelve and five score people look into the horrid book.

Pay: There shall be no secrets left! Soon all will know even our most
difficult tricks. We must go to the Master of our Guild and make him force
the closure of the stalls where our secrets can be found!

Ant: Yea verily and if the stall not close we shouldst burn it to the ground
and run the proprieters out of town!

Pay: You speak but the truth for if we act now not then soon everyone will
have access to our secrets. Yea verily even in the comfort of their own homes by simply kicking a mouse!

Ant: Kicking a mouse?

Pay: Well that be what my friend Nostrodamus says. I really knowest not what he means.

Exit the Players

Fini
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
DomKabala
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Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

I likes it!!


<<<KRaZy4Kardz>>>
We don't stop playing when we grow old...we grow old when we stop playing.

God is enough, let go, let God. Gal 2:20

"Anything of value is not easily attained and those things which are easily attained are not of lasting value."



Smile Smile Smile Smile
Father Photius
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In my experience the magic book shelf in even the largest bookstores is small, limited, and often mixed in with games, puzzles, and gambling books. Most magic books can be ordered from the bookstore. I'm not threatened by them, 1) you have to read them 2) you have to practice. Most people don't. Not much different than magic books being in libraries, and it does get many a person started in magic. I can remember when Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic was available in Grocery stores back in the 70's. In fact it was in a grocery store that I picked up my first copy of it. We worry so much about exposure that we sometimes fail to make magic available to others who might become interested in joining our ranks. There will always be those few who just want to know a little magic, but as most people on this board can confirm, magic is addictive. You start out learning a little then before you know it, a lot still isn't satisfying. I've been doing magic over 40 years and still can't get enough. Went back to my origins this past weekend when I went to a Mark Wilson seminar in Little Rock. Mark got me interested in magic back in the early 1950's. My first "magic" was a give away promo that Mark distributed at a show he was doing at a grocery store promoting Dr. Pepper and Neuhauff meats. Was a little paper envelope type coin trick a three crescent optical illusion and a magic wand. Hundreds of kids walked away with those, was it dangerous exposure? I don't think so. Mark also used to distribute for 12 Dr. Pepper bottle caps little booklets of "secrets" of tricks he did on his local Time for Magic show. It was my first magic book. I know quite a few magicians who got their interest in magic from such Mark Wilson promotions. Others who picked up a book at the library or a bookstore. Always room for one more in magic, and I can assure you , that you can measure the popularity of magic by the number of new people entering it. I'm for bookstores haveing more magic books on their shelves.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Parson Smith
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I agree with Photius.
Here is the real secret.
Magic is about making a trick REAL.
Even if you know(or think you know) how cups and balls works, when in the hands of a master, it is still magic.
The secrets of magic have been available to anyone who wants them for hundreds of years. Only the dedicated can turn a trick into a miracle.
Peace,
Parson
Here kitty, kitty,kitty. Smile
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Kent Wong
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I don't have any problems with magic books being sold in book stores. If you look at who actually takes the trouble to go to a bookstore, look for the magic books and actually buy one - those people probably are magicians. Granted, they may be of varying degrees and abilities but they are magicians nontheless.

In reality, there is very little difference between the sale of magic books in a bookstore or a magic shop. The people behind the counter will sell to anyone willing to pay the price. Is there anything wrong with that? No. You see, if you were to define a Beginner Magician, he is simply a layman with a sincere desire to learn magic. But that sincere desire to learn can only be judged by one's actions. If a person takes the time to go to the bookstore, find the itty bitty section on magic tricks, buys a book and reads it - that would seem to be a pretty good indication of his desire to learn.

The real irony today is that many self-proclaimed magicians don't read books. Many are hooked on DVDs and online downloads because of the increased learning curve that these medium offer. This is a valid point that is very difficult to argue against.

However, it truly is a shame to disrgard books in their entirety since many nuggets of gold are contained in those dusty bound covers.
"Believing is Seeing"
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calexa
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The "good" stuff is not sold in public bookstores. And hey, if someone is interested in magic, it's good to know that he can find some starting points in his bookshop. Then he can go on and find about more about the art of magic...

Magixx
Optimists have more fun.....
Dougini
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I'll be worried when I see Art of Astonishment, Smoke & Mirrors, Impossiblilia, or Phil Goldstein's "Focus" in everyday bookstores! LOL!

Libraries? That COULD happen...people donate to libraries everyday... Smile

Doug
irishguy
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Quote:
On 2005-04-19 15:47, Dougini wrote:
I'll be worried when I see Art of Astonishment, Smoke & Mirrors, Impossiblilia, or Phil Goldstein's "Focus" in everyday bookstores! LOL!


Even if they were in book stores....other than magicians, how many people recognize the name "Paul Harris" or "Phil Goldstein"? Laymen would be no more apt to peruse those books than they are to look through the existing ones on bookshelves (Expert Card Technique, Royal Road, etc).
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