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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » E-book & MP3 vs. Hard Copy and CD (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Julian Franklin
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Houston, TX
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For quite some time I've been contemplating converting all of my information products to a digital format (PDFs for printed material and MP3s for audio material). Generally speaking there are pros and cons for each.

Digital format results in INSTANT delivery vs. waiting for product fulfilment. There is also no associated shipping and handling charges when the product is send via e-mail. Currently digital transfer of information avoids governement taxation which can be a problem when shipping tangible property internationally. I'm sure governments are scrambling to figure out a way to tax e-mail, but until this happens, no import tax is a digital benefit.

As an "old school" sort of guy, I still like to read hard copy, off-line and the ONLY time I can find time to listen to audio programs is when I drive so I prefer CDs. Of course I can print PDFs to paper and I know how to burn MP3s to CD, but this is a hassle at best and for some, the ability simply isn't as readily available.

So, my question is: when it comes to digital format vs. hard copy traditional format, is it MORE beneficial, LESS beneficial or ABOUT THE SAME when it comes to converting my products to a digital format?

Also, if one format seemed MORE valuable than the other, how much more valuable would you consier it? In other words is a digital download worth $15 MORE (since you get it right away and avoid postage fees) or is it worth $20 LESS (since you have to print it on your paper and your ink and burn the audios to your CDs)?

Thanks for your input.
nucinud
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New York, New York
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That is a very good question.
I try to find out how many pages the e-book has. That way I can figure out if I want to print it myself, or go to Kinkos, or print it at my wife's office (for free), or just buy the hard copy.

Burning a CD is no big deal.

The only issue with e-books, is that they are easy to duplicate and resell. So you lose money. For instance if I bought your e-book on Kid Control for $15, I can easily email a copy to my friend or sell it to anybody for less and then pay for printing at Kinkos. I prefer to read on paper. I would rather not read it on screen.
Just my 2 cents.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

www.mandelmagic.com
London
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I think it is just a matter of personal preference. I have purchased a few digital items but mainly because they were not available in printed form. I printed them myself before I read a single page. I much rather sit outside first thing in the morning with a hot cup of joe and read or sit in my library surrounded my hundreds of magic books and read. For me there is something special about holding information in your hands. Plus in the long run it will probably be better on your eyes.
THOUGHTfully,

LONDON
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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I agree with London regarding reading hard copies.

Regarding music and lectures, I have put everything I have on my iPod. Rather than switching the cd all the time in the car, I purchased an FM Transmitter for my iPod, and can now listen to everything on my iPod through my car radio. Very nice.

Brian
magicofCurtis
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Books and dvds I prefer hard copies... I very seldom purchase a PDF file.... I like to have the information that I can file away.... I tend to forget about the pdf files...But notes or a book I come across again.... Smile

So most likely I would not buy any of your products if they are PDF files.... AND if I would buy a pdf file.... I WOULD NOT pay extra for it... I would expect it to be cheaper.....
sirbrad
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I prefer hard copy with PDF and CD-ROM backups for travel.
The great trouble with magicians is the fact that they believe when they have bought a certain trick or piece of apparatus, and know the method or procedure, that they are full-fledged mystifiers. -- Harry Houdini
Julian Franklin
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What a great response. I actually feel the same way about hard copies which is why I have been dragging my feet on this for so long.

I actually thought that the results of this informal survey would be skewed the other direction since (by the nature of this being a computer based forum) everyone here can be assumed to possess at least SOME basic computer familiarity and comfort level. So I was expecting to hear a much greater percentage of people claiming the praises of PDFs and MP3s.

Harry, I have also thought about the ease of theft when something is in digital format, but the same thing can happen when it is so easy to copy CDs. It has been happening since the days of cassette recorders when copying audio programs first became very easy to do on a small scale. I agree that it is even easier to e-mail a PDF or MP3 file than it is to burn a CD and then mail it, so this is definately a concern and I will continue to weight that in my considerations.

Please keep posting your opinions, even if they have already been stated. I am interested in getting an overall concensus.
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2007-08-31 12:24, Brian Lehr wrote:
Regarding music and lectures, I have put everything I have on my iPod. Rather than switching the cd all the time in the car, I purchased an FM Transmitter for my iPod, and can now listen to everything on my iPod through my car radio. Very nice.


Hi Brian -

Here's something that is the next step beyond this. My new car stereo has a USB port on it (as well as it having a CD deck, and also having a line-in cable so I can hook a MP3 player directly to it). I purchased a 4 GB USB Flash Drive, and put all of my audio lecture files on it (including some of Julian's CDs Smile ). I just carry the flash drive in the car, and don't have to worry about theft of an ipod (nor charging it, taking care of it, etc.), nor do I have to deal with dozens of CDs.

Hi Julian -

Like the others here, I prefer hard copy books and CDs. If I want, I can put the CDs on my MP3 player or whatever. I rarely read a book on the computer screen, nor listen to a lot of music (or audio) while sitting at my computer.

- Donald

P.S. You should ask Jim Snack what he thinks of selling an E-book & MP3 files, vs. Hard Copy & CDs. He sells his product, Success-In-Magic, both ways. That will give you the perspective of a seller, not just a buyer.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Julian Franklin
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Thanks Donald, it is funny that you mention Jim Snack's system of dealing with this because I had just sent him an e-mail earlier this week about this very topic. I knew that he offered a tiered system (Level 1=printed and bound books, CDs burned with labels; Level 2=all PDF and MP3 files on CD-ROM mailed to you in a nice case; Level 3=download the PDFs and MP3s yourself) and I will ultimately probably go with something like this.

It seems that in some circles a PDF download has a HIGHER perceived value than a printed book. I don't know if this is because of the specialized information or the instant availability or what because, like most of you I always prefer a hard copy.

But as Harry Mandel pointed out, the digital format is much easier to pirate. So I have speculated about offering a LOWER price for something that is EASIER to pirate and might have a HIGHER percieved value.

This discussion has at least eliminated the "higher percieved value" myth for me. At least so far. I'm still interested in other opinions on this. Of course, who is going to raise their hand and say "YES! I would LOVE to pay MORE!"
Brian Lehr
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Edmonton, Canada
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Quote:
On 2007-08-31 18:51, Donald Dunphy wrote:
My new car stereo has a USB port on it (as well as it having a CD deck, and also having a line-in cable so I can hook a MP3 player directly to it). I purchased a 4 GB USB Flash Drive, and put all of my audio lecture files on it (including some of Julian's CDs Smile ).


Never heard of a USB port in a car; great idea. I have seen the line-in slot, but because my FM transmitter is plugged into the cigarette lighter (three-way adapter with my iPod, cell phone, and GPS), it continually keeps it charged. I will have to make sure my next vehicle has a USB port. And yes, I also have Julian‘s lectures on my iPod. I listen to them in between listening to Meatloaf and Bachman Turner Overdrive (my theme song is Takin‘ Care of Business). Smile

The thing I like about a pdf is it is so instant. It isn‘t so much a higher perceived value, as it is my own sense of impatience. I could get it right now, instead of waiting a couple of weeks. Well, perhaps that is a value to me. Smile But all of my most important pdf books are also now printed out from my computer, or more professionally done at Staples. Same with the mp3‘s. If I want them on a cd, I can just burn them on one. Otherwise I really like the convenience of having them right away. And that‘s how I ended up getting all of Jim Snack‘s materials last year.

Brian
Dennis Michael
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Julian,

I print out the PDF files because I can read them anywhere, and flip back and forth. I also write notes in the margins and "talk" to the book with a pen in hand. Books have more power to me because of what I can do with it. I make a hard copy of any PDF file I have, if it is worthy.

I dislike reading digital format, because of the lack of ability to underline, highlight and write in the margin. The only avantage is I can get a clean copy after I mark it up.

Although not exacting, "we remember 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we read, 50% of what we do, 75% of what we discuss, 80% of what we hear, read, and do, and 90% of what we teach."

I also perfer DVDs because hearing (10%) and seeing (20%) have a greater chance of remembering, then applying what we see, hear, and do greatly inceases the odds of retension. Teaching it increases it further. Therefore CD, limit that abilitiy and must be heard several times and then verbalized to increase that retension.

What good is a product if we can't remember what we heard (CD - 10%)? or what we read (PDF file 20%)?

Just my thoughts on this subject. Percentages will vary dependent on the person.
Dennis Michael
magicofCurtis
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I like a hard copy just because it seems like I am always stearing at my computer screen.....

So.... it is a refreshing change...
MJ Marrs
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Hard copy all the way...

I like having the tons of books, DVD's, pamplets, etc in my office just waiting to be grabbed...

However, there are times when the electronic version is simply more convenient.
phillipsje
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I'm on my computer 8-12 hours a day with most everything on it, but when it comes to Magic Books I am hard copy all the way as well. They take up a lot of room but it's great to grab one and just start reading.
Skip Way
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I'm at a stage in my life where I'm trying desperately to rid myself of clutter. I also find myself doing more consulting with other performers away from home. So, as a reformed fan of hard copy, I have to say that I now prefer the convenience and portability of PDF's and MP3's. It's nice and motivating to have the recorded versions playing on the drives. It's great being able to pull out the laptop or PDA at meetings and use the search or bookmark features to instantly find a specific point I want to present. As for pirating, while nothing is foolproof, Adobe offers copy-resistant and lock features for PDF e-book publishing.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Skip Way
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I was interrupted before I could finish my thoughts here...moving on...

While I appreciate the convenience of instant downloads, I feel that the cost of an item should reflect the value of the work that went into it and the cost of its production. In my opinion, a PDF or MP3 is less costly to produce, store and ship than a hard-copy or CD product and the price should reflect that. Add a percentage for convenience and portability? Certainly! That's part of the product's charm and should be exploited. Is a PDF version worth the same as or more than the printed version? For me: No.

If I had a choice between the hard-copy version and the PDF version at the same price - I'd purchase the hard copy and possibly convert the parts of interest into my own PDF file for convenience. Faced with this choice the paper copy holds a greater intrinsic value for me. Old fashioned value in a new fangled world, I suppose.

As it turns out, I own both PDF and original hard-copy versions of Jim Snack's books and others...and refer to both versions regularly. I can't really say that I favor one over the other...but moving forward I have to say that, for me, portability and instant searches are key concerns.
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Jim Snack
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I offer three versions as a convenience to my customers, with something to meet anyone's needs and budget. The lowest price for the downloadable PDF version, but that doesn't come with the audio seminars. The mid-priced product is PDF files of the manuals and mp3 files of the audio seminars burned to disc. The highest priced version is when I supply the printed manuals and burned CDs. Regardless which version someone orders, I send them the link for the instant download so they can get started immediately.

One thing I like about PDF versions is the ability to click on embedded links to Internet sites. But I always print out reading material because I like hard copy.

I also prefer mp3 files for audio over CDs so I can listen anywhere on my ipod. My car also has an input so I can plug in the ipod. Lugging a bunch of CDs is becoming a thing of the past.

Regarding people ripping me off. Most people are honest and ethical and won't do that. I can't worry about the small percentage of thieves who copy the files and send to their friends. Their few probably won't read them anyway. If they start selling ripped off copies on ebay, however, that's another story. Then I will go after them and shut them down.

Jim
Jim Snack

"Helping Magicians Succeed with Downloadable Resources"
www.success-in-magic.com
Scott O.
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I, along with most here, love a hard copy. When I want to read a book, I want to sit be able to sit anywhere and be able to turn the page at will. As for .pdf's, I have bought those for convenience sake and as a cost saving measure. I would NEVER pay more to get a digital version of a book. Plus, I always end up printing out files. (By the way Jim, I burned though a good portion of an ink cartridge printing out your material Smile)
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Julian Franklin
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Houston, TX
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Thank you all. This has been a helpful thread for me.
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