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The Magic Cafe Forum Index Ľ Ľ Penny for your thoughts Ľ Ľ All Mentalism is now overpriced (58 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mark_Chandaue
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Whilst the perception is that the world and his wife are doing Mentalism I donít think the reality matches that. Sure there is no doubt that Mentalism is more popular than it used to be. However when I lecture it is very rare for there to be more than one mentalist in the room and more often than not the mentalists that are there traveled there because they saw on FB that I was lecturing rather than being members of the club. When it comes to sales at a lecture the items that can be equally applied to magic are the best sellers, the pure Mentalism material sells more slowly.

The reality is than an average book of card tricks will outsell a great Mentalism book by quite a large margin even if the two are priced the same. For me personally the amount of effort that goes into writing a half way decent book isnít worth it if you donít get a reasonable return. However on the flip side I think if you are going to charge a premium price then the quality of the book should reflect that by being properly illustrated and properly bound and covered etc as well as having solid material that has actually been tried, tested and worked to the point of actually being reliable.

Mark
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WitchDocChris
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Is it though?

With some creativity and, on a generous estimate, $500 one could easily learn all the skills necessary for an entire career in mentalism. By the way, that includes theater/presentation skills as well.

It's only expensive if one compulsively purchases all the shiny new things coming out (which are often just rehashes of stuff that's been in print for decades).

Considering all of these products are luxury items, I find it hard to fault any creator for charging whatever they please. It's up to the individual to decide if that price is worth what they will receive in return - just like any other luxury market.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
IAIN
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I've always wanted to know the figures for book sales in mentalism...
WitchDocChris
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I doubt they're anything to write home about usually.
Christopher
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Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
kissdadookie
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Quote:
On Aug 11, 2019, Martin Pulman wrote:
Quote:
On Aug 11, 2019, IAIN wrote:
How much is too much?


It is too much when it is out of line with the pricing of similar products ie: other mainstream magic effects like card tricks and coin magic. Mentalism is no longer an exclusive art so there is no justification for charging exclusive prices.

The pricing of your book test got it exactly right, I thought.


I agree with much of what you have stated in your OP, now, does QUALITY of material warrant higher prices though when the material itself is actually of very high quality? I do find that there are certain creator's whom their output has consistently been excellent and thus for me I feel warrants the prices they are charging. There are some whom I no longer purchase material from because I feel like the value is simply just not there (like much of Fraser's more recent work). Thoughts please.

I also don't think that mentalism pricing in general has outpaced magic releases. I've only early last week paid $40 for the Neat Review which is kind of sort of a magazine for magic?
WitchDocChris
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Value is always subjective. If a creator consistently releases material that a person finds appealing, that person will probably continue to spend money on that creator's works - even if the price goes up.

Magic release prices are trending downward, I believe. Yes, there are still products coming out that are not super cheap, but I think the bulk of products sold today are a lower price than they would have been ten years ago (Particularly downloads). Probably because there's so many people that are just looking to learn a trick or two and will never take it very seriously.
Christopher
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kissdadookie
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Quote:
On Aug 12, 2019, WitchDocChris wrote:
Value is always subjective. If a creator consistently releases material that a person finds appealing, that person will probably continue to spend money on that creator's works - even if the price goes up.

Magic release prices are trending downward, I believe. Yes, there are still products coming out that are not super cheap, but I think the bulk of products sold today are a lower price than they would have been ten years ago (Particularly downloads). Probably because there's so many people that are just looking to learn a trick or two and will never take it very seriously.


I feel the same with how the mentalism market goes as well. There's an abundance of relatively inexpensive eBooks and then premium priced material which of course are hit and miss (but that can also be said about the magic market). Now, with why magic products are relatively cheaper than mentalism products, I think that probably has to do with how different the two markets are. Mentalism releases are still IMO geared at actual performers whom earn income from the art whilst the magic market there's been in the past 20 or so years a move towards material geared for social media as well as hobbyists.

Like you've pointed out, the magic market consists of A LOT of people whom are just looking to learn and trick or two and will never take it very seriously. Products have been designed for that demographic on purpose due to that. Mentalism to me at least, there feels like there's still a drive to produce material that are substantial for either professionals and/or a true love and want to progress the field.
MentalistCreationLab
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I think the first thing that should be discussed is what do we consider the threshold of expensive and what classifies as inexpensive? Then a contextual value scale can be worked out to clarify overpriced and under valued. Which brings me to an interesting point I purchased a few items which were not cheap highly useful then I purchased things for a few dollars that produced great mileage. While other items where not as useful but still interesting for what they were. That said the philosophy which is what were discussing may need to have two separate value scales one for the expensive item and one for the inexpensive items as when one from each group is reviewed side by side different standards should be employed. For example one can not judge a well crafted item the same with one of a lesser quality builder even when the vales are close to the threshold for expensive and inexpensive. This would be the difference between overmining and undermining. Other factors should also be considered as well when determining quality and price. Lastly the product needs to be judged for the most part apart for the creator of the item this way it's not a popularity contest but a real consideration of the accepted standards by which a product is judged. Meanwhile we still have no accepted guideline for determining a product being over priced except for a random group of opinions. Which can be useful at times but at overtimes be nothing more than hype. That said hype is a important part of mentalism and should not be removed entirely but an accepted guideline should include hype rate as one of its factors. When all of these hard scale numbers are combined this will give way to an overall product score of real value which could be based one each category being a 0-100 scale thus giving a product a final scale of 1-xxxx or more. Products with higher score could be at the higher range of inexpensive or expensive although these would be judged within there own price category which would be agreed on by a group determination of what number separates the two.
saysold1
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My MOABT pocket which cost $199 is a great value and Iím on my second copy. Iím sure many feel happy with this purchase too.

Thereís certainly a heck of a lot of junk mentalist stuff out there.

That said as a creator myself, my latest book took nearly a years worth of work and too much of my time. At $114 retail, my costs are astronomical as they are made in the USA, hand-checked, hand packaged with custom gimmick etc. The 30 page pdf took weeks to create. The advertising and video costs arenít cheap. I have to print 350 books at a time For any new book test. And then if I decide to wholesale them, I must sell to the jobber at 60% less than retail. Those arenít great margins.

Honestly I donít care if people feel our products are too much. Ask Craig F @ Promystic about his up front costs on a new product before a release. Itís an enormous number. Granted Martin thereís a lot of garbage released. But I donít release garbage. And based on my high costs/high time investments, and the fact I wonít make stuff in China - Iím not inclined to sell my stuff cheaply. Not gonna happen.

Right now regardless of the initial success of our latest releases, Iím leaning now towards scaling new releases way down. Iím a full time performer too and the creation of new products sucks up a lot of my time. I donít create just for money - but if I canít make a decent margin itís not worth my time and efforts.
Creator of The SvenPad Supreme- "One of the most versatile and well made utility devices I have ever used. Highly recommended." Bob Cassidy www.SvenPads.com
WitchDocChris
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I only recently started getting an idea of what product development can run and ... all I can say is .. well, words that aren't appropriate for these forums. Crazy expensive.
Christopher
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Oscar999
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I think "utility" should be brought into this discussion as well.

I have a routine I've developed over the years that was based on an older routine by Judah, that to me is priceless. It works every time, it's easy to do, very practical and is a stunner.

It uses a couple of bits of paper. And, "if" I ever released my handling/presentation - it would be very expensive. I'm not going to release it, but if I did I'd charge a bundle, because, one, I'd lose the exclusivity of being the only one performing it ... and two, it's a killer effect that I've spent time creating an entertaining presentation and it's incredibly easy to pull off, literally using nothing but a couple of pieces of paper and a pencil.

I support any creator who puts out something of quality, that does what they say it does - and so in my opinion is probably worth what they say its worth. But value, like beauty, is in the eyes of the beholder.

~Oscar
Thomas Henry
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Oscar's closing immediately called to mind something by another Oscar (Wilde), who noted:

"Nowadays, people know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Seems apropos to this discussion.

Thomas Henry
Omne ignotum pro magnifico.
Race Blakhart
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Quote:
On Aug 11, 2019, Mindpro wrote:
I think part of the problem is many here today in "mentalism" don't know or remember how or what it was previously. This today is their norm and business as usual to them.


The sad truth is this isn't just happening to mentalism. It's happening to art forms all over the world. No offense to any of the younger folks here, but it's the millennials' doing.
Of course, they aren't purposely destroying the arts, because like Mindpro said "this is their business as usual".
They have no idea how things used to be.
It's sad really, because they don't know what they're missing out on(I suddenly sound like my father).

If there are any wrestling fans here, it's almost a mirror image to magic/mentalism, as far as the current zeitgeist destroying the wonder and fantasy of the art goes.
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Aug 14, 2019, saysold1 wrote:
My MOABT pocket which cost $199 is a great value and Iím on my second copy. Iím sure many feel happy with this purchase too.

Thereís certainly a heck of a lot of junk mentalist stuff out there.

That said as a creator myself, my latest book took nearly a years worth of work and too much of my time. At $114 retail, my costs are astronomical as they are made in the USA, hand-checked, hand packaged with custom gimmick etc. The 30 page pdf took weeks to create. The advertising and video costs arenít cheap. I have to print 350 books at a time For any new book test. And then if I decide to wholesale them, I must sell to the jobber at 60% less than retail. Those arenít great margins.

Honestly I donít care if people feel our products are too much. Ask Craig F @ Promystic about his up front costs on a new product before a release. Itís an enormous number. Granted Martin thereís a lot of garbage released. But I donít release garbage. And based on my high costs/high time investments, and the fact I wonít make stuff in China - Iím not inclined to sell my stuff cheaply. Not gonna happen.

Right now regardless of the initial success of our latest releases, Iím leaning now towards scaling new releases way down. Iím a full time performer too and the creation of new products sucks up a lot of my time. I donít create just for money - but if I canít make a decent margin itís not worth my time and efforts.


I understand what you're saying, Brett. And I don't doubt for a second that an enormous amount of time and effort will have gone into producing and releasing your new product -and by all accounts it is fantastic.

I'm talking about the traditional automatic assumption that all Mentalism products should start at a higher price point simply because they are Mentalism products, not magic products. I cannot see how that justification is valid anymore. It has been all but destroyed by the huge volume of mentalism material being performed outside of traditional mentalist settings -by strolling magicians, as part of three minute slots on talent shows, by kids on YouTube etc. There is nothing wrong with any of these categories, but they were not the traditional venue for mentalist effects.

I absolutely agree with you about the amount of junk being released-usually under the banner of prop-less mentalism. We see people who have clearly never stood on a stage in their life or performed to anyone but their friends and fellow "creators" charging upwards of £60, £80, £100 for self published books and ebooks that are often nothing more than half thought-out notions. The whole thing has cheapened everything about Mentalism - except the prices.

But I also think the way you talk about your 'margin' is also part of the problem. Most of the mentalist products of the past had very limited runs-to the best of my memory. That was what justified the pricing. This wasn't stuff that was going to be used by every strolling magician and performer on local TV. The seemingly industrial scale of your Svengali product empire may have massively increased the quality of Svengali pads but I genuinely think it has had a seriously detrimental effect on their usefulness. I was at a kids birthday party recently and the (very poor) magician did basic rope tricks, card tricks and then did a mind reading trick with a Sven pad. It was disheartening to see such a valuable principle being used in such a fashion. I genuinely wouldn't be surprised to see Svengali pads turning up soon in those kids beginners magic sets, they have become so ubiquitous.

I may be wrong about this but I don't recall Mentalism products being produced and promoted on this scale in years gone by. Creators like Karmilovich, Lesley etc charged high prices for their premium effects but the material was deliberately kept to limited numbers. The balance between art and commerce is way out of whack-in my opinion.

Mentalism was always a bit of an underground art. The black sheep of the magic family. It had something of the night about it. I'm not sure its core essence can survive if it is held up quite so blatantly in the daylight.

And to be clear; I'm not saying that, ideally, Mentalism effects should be cheap. I think it was much better for mentalism when they were expensive and exclusive. But expensive in a climate where the effects are being cheapened, trivialized and industrialized no longer makes any sense.

Just my thoughts.
Race Blakhart
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You're not going to like this, Martin. But I've seen Svengali blank decks in the Dollar Tree(not a notepad, but might as well be at that point). I was tempted to buy them all and throw 'em into the trash, but they'd just restock the shelves the following day. It made me sick to my stomach to see them there, lining the toy shelves.
funsway
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Some years ago Dollar Tree had sets of small linking rings. I bought the four sets they had. I gifted two sets away and still have one.
The other I sold last year for $35. Value is a perception plus scarcity.

Yes, it is sad to see this reduction of any magic props as toys. But, I got my first "Multiplying Balls" trick from a drug store display in 1958 (89 cents)

Can't blame the store.

I also getboxes of animal/number cards that can be used in many mentalism effects, and their drain cleaner is just as magical as the $4.00 bottle for another store.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Mark_Chandaue
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I am not sure that all Mentalism products do have a high price these days. There are plenty of 10 dollar effects out there. The thing I am personally not a fan of is single effect pdfís which are often simply ideas rather than audience tested and worked routines. Some very good ideas to be fair but even the best ideas rarely come to their full potential before they meet an audience. I personally think that single effects need to be in a book unless they are supplied with an essential prop or gimmick. There may be some exceptions such as a professional performance piece Ted K and Lior have a few of these that are not sold in magic shops and are worth their price to a working performer.

I am not convinced that the market for high quality material aimed at performing mentalists has grown that much. The market for propless street Mentalism, close up material and things aimed at 1-1 casual effects has certainly grown but the market for stage based classic Mentalism is still relatively small.

Mark
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Race Blakhart
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Quote:
On Aug 15, 2019, Mark_Chandaue wrote:
I am not convinced that the market for high quality material aimed at performing mentalists has grown that much. The market for propless street Mentalism, close up material and things aimed at 1-1 casual effects has certainly grown but the market for stage based classic Mentalism is still relatively small.

Mark


This is an excellent observation, Mark. I think you pretty much hit that nail on the head there.
Stunninger
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I'm not sure if all mentalism is overpriced or not. But a good amount of mentalism is up to 68% off at the magic warehouse:

https://www.themagicwarehouse.com/
IAIN
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Quote:
On Aug 15, 2019, Stunninger wrote:
I'm not sure if all mentalism is overpriced or not. But a good amount of mentalism is up to 68% off at the magic warehouse:

https://www.themagicwarehouse.com/



how DARE they put mentalism in a MAGIC warehouse! This is an outrage!
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