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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The OTHER Side of Mentalism eBooks (24 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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David Thiel
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In another room, controversy rages about what a buyer does when he has purchased an eBook and doesn't like the contents. It's a spirited discussion and I don't want to disrupt it.

But I have been thinking hard about the whole issue of eBooks for the past couple of months. On the one hand, I absolutely love to have a bound book in my hand. I like underlining the smart things the author says. I like making notes on how I may be able to apply the ideas they are writing about. I love physical books.

Times are changing, though. And I will most often avoid buying a mentalism hardcover/softcover book for a number of reasons.

1) PORTABILITY. I spend a lot of time on the road and in my iPad I have dozens of prized books. That means I can access them any time I want to and they don't add an ounce to the stuff I need to carry and schlep around from place to place.

2) LINKS. When I was issuing "Windows" -- my book on ways to apply body language for mentalists -- I had some specific challenges. How do I show someone what a 'microexpression' looks like with static pictures? This is an expression you need to SEE as it happens. In this book I am able to link to a video of that precise expression so the reader will know exactly what I'm talking about. If I cite a specific study, I am able to provide a link to that as well, so the reader can go instantly there -- get the information -- and come back to the narrative. None of this is available in a printed book.

3) IMMEDIACY. As a reader I don't need to wait for a book to be put into an envelope, mailed and begin its long journey to me. I can download the book within seconds.

4) ECONOMY. As someone who has issued six six eBooks, I had to take a hard look at the economics of doing print versus digital. My wife, Sheree, has published two novels. The cover price of these is $24.95. Our cost to print each one is close to $12.00 and the cost for the publisher to ship them out to us is just under $1 per copy. That means that before ANY other costs are counted, her fee for writing the book is cut to less than half of the cover price. Does that make sense? Each eBook I do takes well over 200 hours of writing, editing, layout and formatting. Think about making that huge investment of time and then giving away over half of the purchase cost to others.

It's true that most of the people who write books, myself included, aren't doing it with dollar signs in our eyes. A person who knows much more than I do told me that a book or eBook that sells more than 50 copies can be considered a 'bestseller.' That makes sense...because mentalists are already in a small community -- and the number of mentalists in the market for YOUR book is smaller still. Writers don't write with the notion they will get rich. They write because they want to share some of the things they know -- and picking up some money for doing so is a nice bonus.

I've been burned -- as many of you have by 'basement' projects -- where the author has a creaky idea and then throws together an eBook. That's NOT what I'm talking about in this post. I a talking about eBooks that are a labor of love -- books that are crafted with care for the reader.

I believe that quality eBooks are the wave of the future...and of the present.

Well...good ones are, anyway.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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Ray Bertrand
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Hi David.

I agree with you totally. I love to write in the margins and to highlight certain passages. The only way I can do this is if I print the ebook and then continue this archaic but useful behaviour. As I travel, I don't want to burden myself with the added weight and space of carrying around physical written material.

As for the controversy you mention in your opening statement, how often have we purchased a hard covered book and then realized it was not really what we wanted and were disappointed? It happens. Get over it.

I've been burned a few times, but then again, too few to mention. Overall my experiences have been good. I must say I do enjoy your writing which is why I am responding to your post. Keep up the good work and know that you are appreciated.

Ray
EnterTRAINment at its best. Keeping the Magic Alive in Northern BC
Waters.
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I certainly love the tactile experience of holding a book, but obviously like ebooks for convenience and for their ability to “exist” in several places. There are a number of editing applications that allow you to upload a copy of a (rightfully owed) ebook and “Red Ink” them up. I use an IPad Pro and a Apple Pencil to perform editing. This can and should be used for notes in ebooks. It is fantastic. The beauty is, the original copy is never marked. I use the “Notability App”.
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Mindpro
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David is right this is an interesting topic. Unlike the guys above I would never and could never bring myself to writing in a physical book. It also is upsetting when you buy a used book and it has highlights throughout. Personally, I never understood this, but to each his own.

While I agree with what David has said, the real problem is that you can't always tell which are quality ebooks and which are the disappointing basement projects as both seem to be far overhyped and often misleading in the name of making sales.

Based on David's numbers, I'm happy because my ebooks have all sold well over a couple hundred even being selective to who I allow them to be sold to.
Max Hazy
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David Thiel, I completely relate to every word you said here. Personally, I think it's easier to make notes digitally, mainly because I type faster than I write. But I'd like to add a number 5 too:

5) RESEARCH. Digital books are not only easier to be found with a search function, but it's also MUCH easier to search a specific topic or even a specific word in the ebook itself (shrtcut = Ctrl + F), which is particularly valuable for the very long books.

Great topic!

Cheers
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
RichLind
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Quote:
On Nov 10, 2017, David Thiel wrote:
In another room, controversy rages about what a buyer does when he has purchased an eBook and doesn't like the contents. It's a spirited discussion and I don't want to disrupt it.

David


Buyer remorse can be avoided if the ebook or other media is properly described. I have been dissatisfied when no patter is given; not that I want to copy some else patter. But having some patter gives me the objectives I need to articulate. What I recently found most annoying is when an author specifically says "I'm not going to share with you my patter."
Max Hazy
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Quote:
On Nov 13, 2017, RichLind wrote:

Buyer remorse can be avoided if the ebook or other media is properly described.


I couldn't agree more. Our market is the only one where the buyer have no idea what he is getting until he gets it.
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
Craig Logan
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It is undeniable that the digital format is the trend of media consumption, and I am a fan of this trend for the reasons outlined by David. I spent 25 dollars on the Jinx, and I can carry it with me anywhere. That is remarkably convenient and economical.

@Max, I also agree being able to search a file makes research much easier. Especially with a book the size of the Jinx.

I think ebooks that have been crafted with care are respected by the community. That is what I hope to accomplish with any of my work.

Fly by night ideas and "basement" projects (I like that phrase, by the way) will likely be vetted out by honest reviews.

Cheers,
Craig
"A wizard is not to be made in a day." -Professor Hoffmann (Modern Magic)
mindhunter
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I'm only middle-aged, but "old-school" regarding a few things.

eBooks was one of those (sitting by the real wood fire, a dog-eared and written-in the-margins physical book, along with a real PAPER notebook, a pen with INK, and a beverage and two non-virtual dogs by my feet....ahhhhh!) While I offer a couple of mentalism eBooks, and own tons, it still was a large shift for me.

This summer, my wife had a new mini Kindle floating around that was a party favor at some conference she attended. I confiscated it recently and ...RELUCTANTLY....downloaded my first novel.

I'm hooked. With the Paperwhite screen I can read it outside in full sun, or at night without my headlamp while in a tent. And it is thin & light...and holds a LOT of books...and the battery lasts forever... as well as having all of the features noted above.

Arrghh! I didn't want to love it, but I honestly do.

However, I'm not retiring my straight razor and shaving mug anytime soon....

Bryn
"The Safwan Papers" eBook: $30
Please read the many great reviews here at the Cafe:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=253272&forum=15

"THE LOGAR SCROLLS" eBook is also now available ($30)
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=464100&forum=303&70

SPECIAL: "LOGAR" & "SAFWAN PAPERS" Combo Deal: $50

Thanks,
Bryn
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Darby
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With PDF and Kindle readers, you CAN <b>HIGHLIGHT</b> and <b>COMMENT</b> (called Note in Kindle), and then save the file with those annotations! That eliminates the most common complaint of ebooks listed here. I tend to save the annotated version with the word "annotated" added to the end of the file name, to preserve the pristine version as well.

Cheers,
Larry
Sensio
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I personally can't handle a hard copy for more than some minutes.
So weird...
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Cleverpaws
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I think ebooks are a great way to get your information out there without all of the cost. recently I've purchased a few "books on demand" from Lulu. I really prefer the printed book.I don't underline and mark up a book but there's something nice about flipping through the pages. Even the best ebook interface with fake pages to flip doesn't have the same feel and you can't go back and forth between pages. I'm curious what the controversy is with ebook purchasing and not liking it, that you mentioned in your opening remark.
Senor Fabuloso
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When you buy an eBook the problem is you don't own it. I think being able to carry a library with you everywhere has merit but is also a bit overwhelming. To the first point after you buy an eBook you can't ethically sell it as you have gained the knowledge and so theoretically got your monies worth. With a physical book you can sell loan photocopy whatever your book. So while yes eBooks have advantages they to have disadvantages. Also to my second point when presented with too many choices I can get overwhelmed so having 1000 eBooks on my Kindle can be a bit daunting. With a physical work I'm forced to focus on the one thing I have in hand.
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dave_matkin
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Quote:
On Nov 18, 2017, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
When you buy an eBook the problem is you don't own it. I think being able to carry a library with you everywhere has merit but is also a bit overwhelming. To the first point after you buy an eBook you can't ethically sell it as you have gained the knowledge and so theoretically got your monies worth. With a physical book you can sell loan photocopy whatever your book. So while yes eBooks have advantages they to have disadvantages. Also to my second point when presented with too many choices I can get overwhelmed so having 1000 eBooks on my Kindle can be a bit daunting. With a physical work I'm forced to focus on the one thing I have in hand.


I think you will find that photocopying a book is illegal in many countries (UK, USA at least two that I know for sure).

I also disagree that you don't own an ebook. Well, I have many on my laptop - saved to the external hard drive and a backup. So I would say I do own it.
B.W. McCarron
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I understand that ebooks and print books both offer advantages and disadvantages. What works for one person may not work for another.

One thing I like about ebooks is that I can search my hard drive more or less instantly for a particular word, phrase, or name and let my computer "find" the matching results for me. I have a modest physical book library as well (2000+ titles), which makes me rely on (human) memory to locate a particular item.

I sometimes make notes about a particular digital title in a separate text file, saved with the same filename as the ebook. The file extension tells me that it is my notes file. Alternate handlings, corrections and other personal notes are included in this file, as well as references to similar works.

While I realize that I'm also legally able to print a copy of the ebook for my personal use (as long as I own the digital version), my library shelves are already so full that I can't physically accommodate any non-factory bound volumes.

As long as the ebook is reasonably priced, in comparison to its physical sibling, I opt for the ebook. My preference is to purchase from vendors who maintain a digital library of my ebook purchases, so that I may download them again if I am without my primary computing device. (For example, if I'm at a convention and wish to use my wife's iPad, instead of my laptop, I'll need to download a copy for my personal use on that trip.)

Young people have embraced digital content much more rapidly than those who did not grow up with it. The wave of the future will undoubtedly be digital, especially since PDF has emerged as the de facto standard for digital books.

My personal belief is that print books will continue for the foreseeable future, but may be limited in number and sell for increasingly higher prices, as compared to their digital brethren.

---------------------
DISCLAIMER: I am an author of print and digital publications. My current employer is a digital publishing company who uses Lybrary.com to sell their work.
George Hunter
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Actually, a major trend is toward BOTH forms. On Amazon, for instance, one finds many books that can be bought as either a conventional book OR as an electronic copy. It isn't necessarily either/or. The last I checked, Annemann's PME could be bought either way.

George
Chris
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Guys, you should have heard the comments about ebooks back in the year 2000 when I started Lybrary.com. Here is a sampling: "What is an ebook?" "They are a fad!" "No future in them." "Don't start an ebook business. You will go bankrupt." "I will never read a book on a computer." "We will never offer ebooks." I have to smile at these comments today, because everybody who has uttered these words is now reading, buying, and/or selling ebooks. The economics were clear to me back then, and they are blatantly obvious today.

There is one huge advantage of ebooks that has not been touched on. Magic and Mentalism is in a unique position, because the body of literature is humongous. There are tens of thousands of books and booklets to read, hundreds of magazines, and new ones are being produced every day. It is an astounding body of work - millions of pages. Not all is great, but there is a huge body of work we all could benefit from if we could study it all. But nobody can study it all. Nobody can read it all. It is impossible, even for the most dedicated scholars who spend a lifetime reading and learning. Ebooks are the solution. Even though nobody can read it all, everybody can search it all in a matter of minutes. Think for example about magic magazines which can have tens of thousands of pages. It is practically impossible to read them cover to cover. But with searching one can still unlock the information one is interested in. That to me is the biggest advantage of ebooks. One can build a library far beyond the size of what one could read, and then by searching, extract those portions which one is currently interested in. This multiplies the speed of learning. That is the reason I started Lybray.com in the first place. That is my mission. I want that learning is not limited to the books you can read. Ebooks allow you to draw your knowledge from a vastly larger body of information.

My recommendation therefore is build your digital library. It will serve you much better than a paper library. I can't tell you how much I have cursed my print library the three times I had to moved it. Many hundreds of books to de-shelf, pack, ship, unpack, and shelf again. And still, most of its information I have long forgotten. It is locked up in print, essentially inaccessible to me. It is nice to look at, some are potentially investments, others hold sentimental values, but for the most part they would serve me better in digital form. And that is what I have spent the past two decades to achieve. I am getting there ...
Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time.
Senor Fabuloso
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Some very good points ^ but here s something else to think about. What happens if the lights go out? Electricity is necessary for reading eBooks. Not so with the printed word. Having experienced an EMP first hand I can tell you that electricity may not always work. If the grid goes down the printed works will be all we have.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Dec 28, 2017, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
What happens if the lights go out?


Lol, you'll be in the dark! Either way, not much reading going on. Batteries!
Philemon Vanderbeck
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If there's an EMP, being able to read books is the least of our worries.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
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