The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » How many magic books exist? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
Delimbeau
View Profile
Elite user
May the magic be with you
474 Posts

Profile of Delimbeau
Does anyone know how many magic books there are in existence (how many different titles, that is)?

I'm writing an article and I would like to give the reader a feel for how many books magicians write. My feeling is that the ratio number of books/number of magicians is way higher than for other occupations.

I understand that I will probably only get a rough estimate, but all input helps. Many thanks! Cheers, Luc. Smile
WitchDocChris
View Profile
Inner circle
York, PA
2371 Posts

Profile of WitchDocChris
Thousands.

Are you including eBooks? If so it may be physically impossible to get a remotely accurate number.

I recently saw a post saying there's more books on magic than any other single subject but I don't know how accurate that statement is. I like it, though, and I wouldn't be surprised.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Ray Haining
View Profile
Inner circle
Hot Springs, AR
1744 Posts

Profile of Ray Haining
Quote:
On Oct 29, 2019, Delimbeau wrote:

I understand that I will probably only get a rough estimate ...


Indeed.
Topper2
View Profile
New user
54 Posts

Profile of Topper2
Does the word 'book' include all the pamphlets and stapled booklets that proliferate in huge numbers? And what about languages, are you talking about books in English or all books? And what about the allied arts, or are you only referring to books on magic? If so, would you include all those books on 'real' magic such as witchcraft, sorcery and the occult, and what about fortune telling books?

Books on conjuring and magic as entertainment tend not to be very scholarly (with some exceptions of course), often they are knocked off quite quickly without huge research, so I don't think you can compare them with genuinely scholarly academic tomes that must be highly accurate and detailed. I'm sure if you looked at books on medicine or law these types of discipline would outrun magic both in terms of quantity and quality by quite a wide margin.

What about literature? That's a 'subject' and for some it is an occupation, I rather think there would be a fair number of books in this category!

Really your question is too absurd to even hazard a guess.

Now if you were to stick to comparisons with other hobbies and interests it might make more sense, but have you seen the number of books out there on chess just as one example?
Delimbeau
View Profile
Elite user
May the magic be with you
474 Posts

Profile of Delimbeau
"Really your question is too absurd to even hazard a guess."

I really don't understand why such a negative tone is necessary.
WitchDocChris
View Profile
Inner circle
York, PA
2371 Posts

Profile of WitchDocChris
It's not necessary at all.

You know who might have a chance of truly helping - Conjuring Arts Archive. Maybe shoot them an email?
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
Delimbeau
View Profile
Elite user
May the magic be with you
474 Posts

Profile of Delimbeau
Thanks Chris, I already did today 😊 Cheers, Luc
Delimbeau
View Profile
Elite user
May the magic be with you
474 Posts

Profile of Delimbeau
If I get a response I will post here.🤓
Rachmaninov
View Profile
Special user
939 Posts

Profile of Rachmaninov
You’re right, it depends on what you keep in the « aside arts » category.

I will take a risk with a number : I would say a few hundred of thousands. But I second someone here who said that quality academic books are very far between, compared to other subjects.
mindmagic
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1380 Posts

Profile of mindmagic
Trying to count them, or compile a complete list, would be like painting the Forth Bridge (UK simile). As soon as you got to the end you'd have to add hundreds, if not thousands, of new ones.

Barry
Rachmaninov
View Profile
Special user
939 Posts

Profile of Rachmaninov
Barry, I would say it was the case. But there is less and less physical magic books published. Almost all the transfer of knowledge is now online.
asherfox
View Profile
Veteran user
345 Posts

Profile of asherfox
Very interesting question. I would like to hear more different answers.
Indistinguishable
View Profile
New user
42 Posts

Profile of Indistinguishable
You might be able to make some educated guess by using database searches to discover how many books libraries hold under the 793.8 Dewey classification, and then what percentage of those books in a sample set of 793.8 are actually magic/conjuring. At least you'd be able to get a 'lower limit' by saying 'there are at least XXX books in the British Library' or 'holding current ISBN codes' or something.
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
18496 Posts

Profile of IAIN
You'd probably have to contact each publishing house and then see if they have a catalogue available for you to go through...
Topper2
View Profile
New user
54 Posts

Profile of Topper2
Most specialist magic books never go to public libraries so checking Dewey numbers won't help much. Pamphlets, staple bound booklets, and spiral bound books etc certainly wouldn't end up in libraries and yet they account for a large proportion of magic literature.

As for contacting each publishing house, most magic publishers of the past no longer exist so there is no one to contact.

Looking at database resources such as Conjuring Archive doesn't help either as they only contain a fraction of the published material. For example Ian Adair has written over 100 titles and not one of them appears at Conjuringarchive.com, even famous authors like Jean Hugard have an incomplete inventory there.

What about foreign language titles, are they being considered as well? Roberto Giobbi has books published in several languages are they counted separately or not at all?

Then there are allied arts closely connected with magic such as Chapeaugraphy, troublewit, shadowgraphy, puppetry, ventriloquism, juggling, and patter and gag books etc., etc. Are they included?

When Raymond Toole Stott compiled his "Bibliography of English Conjuring, 1569-1876", which I suppose may have been reasonably complete for its time, the number of books to consider was a fraction of what it is today. I doubt he'd attempt such a feat nowadays.
Doc Willie
View Profile
Regular user
152 Posts

Profile of Doc Willie
FWIW, searching "magic" in the Library of Congress catalog yields 37,000 items. This might include a lot of non-magic stuff with "magic" in the title. But it accords with the number of 30,000 that I heard once from somewhere, dunno where. Maybe they got that number the same way I did.
EvilClown
View Profile
Regular user
Richmond, VA
130 Posts

Profile of EvilClown
I have visited the magic collection in the Library of Congress, it is nowhere near 37,000. Not sure the actually count, but it was nowhere close just to eyeball it. Many of the items are from the Houdini collection which he willed to the LoC.

You might want to reach out to Byron Walker for his opinion. He is an expert on the literature and has one of the largest private libraries. I imagine Copperfield's library in Las Vegas, which includes the Mulholland library that Ricky Jay managed for a period, is among the largest in the world.

Other major collections that I know of: Conjuring Arts Library, The Magic Castle Library, The Magic Circle Library and the American Museum of Magic's collection. Supposedly the late Gary Darwin had a collection of about 8,000 volumes. I don't know it's disposition. The Brown University Collection is about 6,000 volumes. The State Library of Victoria in Australia has a massive collection.

None of these is larger than 15,000 books to the best of my knowledge.
mindmagic
View Profile
Inner circle
London
1380 Posts

Profile of mindmagic
Under "Legal Deposit" laws a copy of every book published in any country has to go to one or more libraries. So, in theory at least, the Library of Congress's catalogue, for example, should include every (copyright) book published in the US.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_deposit
EvilClown
View Profile
Regular user
Richmond, VA
130 Posts

Profile of EvilClown
The LoC does not keep a copy of every book it receives. The law only applies if you choose to register your copyright.

https://www.loc.gov/about/frequently-asked-questions/

Keep in mind that most magic books don't even register for an ISBN number--Hermetic Press and Vanishing, Inc. books rarely have ISBN numbers.

I took a few recently released magic books and put them into LoC's catalog:

How to Make Love the Steve Spill Way: No record
Giacomo Bertini's System for Amazement: No record
The Magic of Johnny Thompson: No record
Jaw Droppers!: No record
The Memory Arts: No record
Rachmaninov
View Profile
Special user
939 Posts

Profile of Rachmaninov
In the master teaching Camirand video of Etienne Lorenceau, it’s not easy to understand him, but if I’m right, he said there he had 17 000 books. I’ve heard he has sold everything.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Books, Pamphlets & Lecture Notes » » How many magic books exist? (1 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3 [Next]
X
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.17 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL