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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » A turn of the page » » Out of print magic books (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Wizardwannabe
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I have the feeling that this is the kind of naive question that only someone who is completely ignorant of the inner workings of the publishing of magic books could possibly ask but here it goes - why are so many great magic books out of print? This is not a rhetorical question - I'd really like to know. I mean don't magic books publishers want to make money? There's obviously a great demand in the magic community for these books so why don't suppliers meet this demand. I mean I've seen OOP magic books on EBay that sell for hundreds of dollars that cost maybe ten bucks when they were in print. I realize, of course, that it cost money to print books but it cost money to print them when they were in print yet they were published then. I haven't mentioned any books by title in this post but I'm sure you know that there are lots of GREAT magic books that are currently out of print. How can it be that so much good stuff is unavailable while there's so much crap that IS in print?
Well, I'm rambling a bit here - again, why are so many drop-dead great magic books currently out of print?
ChrisS
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Wizardwannabe,

I can only hazard a guess here, but I would say that the task of getting the rights to reproduce the book and up-front investment in publishing it can't be covered by the projected number of sales.

But I do agree; it would be nice to see a lot of the older volumes published again.

Chris
sethb
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Just a guess, but part of the answer may be that it is impossible to keep all books "in print" forever under the present system of actual printed books. Nobody could ever maintain that kind of inventory.

In fact, it's my understanding that about 95% of all books ever published are now are "out-of-print," so it's actually amazing that many good magic books are still "in-print."

All of this may change with the new "print-on-demand" technology, which allows a publisher or a retailer to print single books as they are ordered. Since millions of books could be stored in computer code, no book would ever be out of print again. The downside of this is that these new "POD" books are paperbacks, and not nearly as durable as a hardcover book. But if you can buy a replacement quickly and inexpensively, it may not matter. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
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RancidClone
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What about ricky jay Cards as weapons, at least you can still download it through torrents or whatever, but torrents are slow.
Joe Keppel
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Lots of famous books are out of print, not just in magic. Although he was one of the most famous fictional detecitves of ALL time, NONE of the Ellery Queen novels are still in print, Joe Keppel
Bill Palmer
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A lot of publishers specialize in short run books for limited markets. One of the things that keeps us from printing large quantities of books is taxes. If I have a backlog of 10,000 books in my warehouse at year end, I have to pay city and county tax on them. This is one reason you see so many books go into "overstock" at certain times of the year. They get sold out in places like Books A Million.
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kcedelcycib
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The jawdropping prices you see on eBay are only an indicator of how desperate a few people are to obtain certain OOP titles. They do NOT necessarily reflect the actual demand.

Take Ortiz' Strong Magic. When it went OOP the first time, copies popped up on eBay and fetched dozens of $100+ bids. But that didn't mean there was a HUGE demand for the book. It simply meant that the supply fell short of demand.

So after Kaufman reprinted a small number (I think it was around 2000 copies), it took over a year to sell out. Actual demand proved to be rather modest after all.

Barring any IP issues, OOP gems will only be reprinted if publishers and distributors are confident that every last copy will be sold quickly. With todays razor thin margins and the book market slowing down, some titles could stay OOP for a long time.
Bill Palmer
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I am delaying the printing of the second Borodin book until the first of the year. I don't want to pay taxes on all my stock. I want them to be gone by December of next year.

Sometimes the high prices of these books reflect how much one particular individual was willing to pay for it. A good example is when Goldstein's Red Book of Mentalism sold for over $400.00. The book is not rare. It's a good book. But is everyone else's copy worth $400.00. No. Especially since the series has been reprinted.

So why did it sell for so much? Simple. The guy who bought it felt that it was worth that much to him to not have to search for it any longer. He made a ridiculous bid. And he paid for it.
"The Swatter"

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blwrjw
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The cost of getting a single book printed can also vary greatly with the quantity of the run. At work, when we bind 200,000 copies of a phone book for Calgary or Honolulu, the publisher gets their big, fat books for roughly 2 bucks a pop. But when some little county in Iowa orders 2,500 books that barely break 150 pages, the price per book is higher. Less paper; less ink; but the same fixed costs to actually produce *any* number of books. Hank Lee currently charges about $40 for a Banachek book the size of a TV Guide. The price is determined by cost of production and supply and demand. (The book is well worth it to this reader, by the way)

B.
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