Are Magicians more into just buying downloads and gimmicks these days vs. reading literature?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JeffreyM7, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Let me know what you all think. I feel as if a lot of people are buying a lot of these gimmicks and products but aren’t furthering their knowledge in the art of magic to make it more competitive and even new ideas arise. Let me know your thoughts along with 1 of your favorite tricks purchased and favorite literature book bought as well. Mine personally would be Timeless and books would be tied between Phenomenmicia and Pure Effect. Look forward to hearing what you have to say!
  2. I think most people dabble in the download or DVD market but I sizable portion still buy into the book market. I’m one of them.

    The book market has never really died down and we’ve seen plenty of great books come out just recently and we will continue to see that so long as people keep buying them.

    I would argue most people are just visual learners and tend to find visual learning products like downloads or DVD’s easier to grasp. I prefer books for the value and the hidden gems so easily found.

    I have loved plenty of downloadable products, on theory 11 my favourites are easily Jason England’s works. As for books, I have too many to list my current favourite is repertoire by Asi Wind. Really nice book.

  3. I don't know about the word "competitive" in this instance but I think I get your idea. I mean is theatre competitive or a competition? Maybe rivalry or some other word would fit better. Anyways, something in the vein of keeping the pool of creators and performers at a high level due to whatever reasons I htink is what you are meaning. I would say the majority of magicians are pretty 'meh' but I am not going to say its because of downloads being used more than books.

    I would hazard a guess that due to the internet there are probably far more unpracticed magicians around due to the increased access of the material. We have lots of people with lower interest but easier access putting in a few months or few years then plateauing due to luke warm interests before they moving onto other areas. Those who would have been dissuaded in learning by having a more difficult search for the information and pay more or wait for the book etc. are not weeded out as easily.

    But for those who are willing to go further in their search can certainly benefit from downloads and certain gimmicks. I think downloads etc. are just another avenue to furthering knowledge. It should be used as a supplement to other methods of learning because all the methods have their strengths and pitfalls.

    In general I would say that books are more bang for your buck trick wise in comparison to downloads but that may not be someones best measure for themselves. Some books are the exception to the rule and cost quite a bit due to their rarity and or knowledge within also. Down loads help get around the difficulty some people have understanding older books where the syntax seemed fine for the time but difficult to read for many of todays readers. Also it can help those whose reading comprehension lacks or those whose language may differ from many popular books.

    Anyways one my favorite books from my library is the The Collected Almanac of Richard Kaufman. It has a pretty decent collection of tricks and small essays or magic news bits of the times. Some of the tricks are also in a few of my other books but with slightly different handling like Paul Harris's Unshuffling Rebecca from his Art of Astonishment series.
  4. This is an extremely common misconception. "Visual learner" does not mean "learn from visuals". Someone who is a visual learner is someone who sorts information in their own mind via images, charts, etc. This is opposed to someone who is kinetic - association information with feelings and tangible things - and someone who is auditory - associating information with sounds.

    The vast majority of people who call themselves magicians, are very casual performers - meaning they've only learned a few tricks to show their friends sometimes. Nothing wrong with that.

    The few that take it more seriously generally start out with videos so they can just copy the moves without having to really put a lot of work into it.

    The more one studies, and the deeper into the field they dig, the more they tend to shift towards books more and more exclusively. I don't know of any serious performers who have learned the majority of their material from videos.
    Mr_ARPY and CWhite like this.
  5. I disagree, it also applies to the learning materials themselves. It goes without saying that some people are able to take on information through different sources at different rates. Having a visual medium doesn’t explicitly require having a video ofcourse, it’s the images that are recalled- graphs, tables, finger position etc. but this most often conveys best in video.

    To young people, who are interested in learning, my point is even more important. Because with innocence to new information people often rush and therefore these visual learning materials (particularly video based) have dominated over the last few decades. Because it’s easier material to learn than buying a book, even one that you know everyone is talking about.

    ParkinT likes this.
  6. Yes and no. A visual learner can and does learn very effectively from books. There are two way this happen. The first is remembering the actual words on the page. The second is the ability to visualize what is being described. This is easier in fiction or even non-fiction than magic. However, in magic, being a visual learner reading a magic book is difficult. I literally have to stop reading, close my eyes and imagine the exact movements. Sometimes, I have to reread a section multiple times to get all the detail correct in my mental picture. But once it is there, it is there. That is why Card College is one of my favorite books -- it has pictures!

    For videos, I really struggle because I have to watch a video multiple times to determine every detail of every sleight or move. In writing, the author tells you what is important and you fill the rest in with experience. In a video, you have to discern what is important yourself... primarily because the oral explanation usually lacks sufficient detail. I remember watching one video (by someone who is very well known) and the description was actually different than the move he was demonstrating.
    Mr_ARPY likes this.
  7. I am a visual leaner, and no I don't sort information in my mind by charts or pictures. I work in a bookstore, for 16 years now, and remember and can find books WAY quicker by their covers. When I watch a tutorial on how to do a particular move, I'll usually watch it once with audio, then turn the audio off to help memorize the move. It's difficult for the mind to focus intently on two things at once, so this works for me. But I augment the visuals with books and reading, to help cement the theory behind the move.
    byronblaq likes this.
  8. I agree. Not questioning the content of either itself rather that people tend to learn better from one format or another. I have a close friend who has built his career in magic from video instructionals. He simply can’t give reading the focus it needs even when those books are more graphical in nature.

    Both are viable methods of learning. I prefer books (as most people above do, it seems) but others are able to grasp concepts better by seeing them rather then having them explained.

  9. I think that @ChristopherT and my objection is to the use of the term "visual learner." The term is a phrase art that has its origins in Neil Fleming's VARK models of learning. Although that theory has generally been dismissed as being overly broad and unhelpful, anyone using that terminology should use it correctly. I tend to like Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences which focuses less on the medium of learning but rather the method of processing of those mediums. If you look at Gardner's "intelligences" you can see the applicability of many of them to learning and performing magic (and, possibly, the lack of such intelligences as being the cause of poor performances).

    I think that part of my reaction to claims of being a "visual" learner is that, in many cases, it is a euphemism for "I don't like / have difficulty with reading." To which, I would quote Richard Bach, "Argue your for your limitations and sure enough, they're yours."
    Mr_ARPY and byronblaq like this.
  10. After reading this thread I actually looked up the VARK model, and from what I can tell visual learner applies to both reading and watching a video. Of course a video would also include an auditory learner, but it seems the reason alot of people like the videos is not necessarily for the oral explanation but so they can actually SEE the moves and subject matter in action, either because one has difficulty putting an image together with words alone or so they can see the end result and better piece together the information/instructions.

    If I'm reading that wrong then what category would watching a video fall under if not a "visual learner"?

    I'm trying to better understand the terms being new to magic (though the VARK system applies to many areas). I've seen a few of you explain to other posters that using the term visual learner is incorrect but I don't recall reading what you would classify watching a video as. Again, from reading the VARK model, it seems that video falls under both visual and auditory, with the visual aspect the key piece to learning and fully understanding what the move should look like.

    Hope that came across as genuinely curious and open to correction, not trying to be rude but it's hard sometimes in a long stretch of text. Thank you in advance!

    PS. I see the value in video and I am using some in my learning but have taken the advice from being a lurker here and have a few books to start on my journey! Just so much more meat in a book and even if I have difficulty visualizing a description of a sleight or trick, it's nothing a few more passes doesn't fix.
    byronblaq likes this.
  11. Yes, a video would benefit both a visual and audio learner.

    This is a problem with the VARK model.... by explaining everything, it explains nothing.

    I think the pushback that @ChristopherT and I expressing is more related to people who say, "I can't read books, I'm a visual learner."

    To me, that is an example of saying"can't" when they mean "won't". The best way to get good at reading is to read.

    I agree that video has value, but I like books better.
  12. As far as learning actual mechanics of a sleight or magic trick I tend to do better with videos; however theory of magic, the business aspects, etc., I will typically delve into literature. I have tons of DVDs and a nice size library of magic books. I tend to find that learning from multiple sources enhances and speeds up the learning curve.
    Even better...I love having my mentor be right beside me demonstrating and correcting me.
  13. Ok that explains it perfectly. Yeah with the books there seems to be a lot more bang for your buck, which starting out definitely helps alot. Although it is nice to see what the sleight in action looks like when it's polished and a goal of sorts to aim for.

    I only started 2 months ago, but I have Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, Expert at the Card Table, Strong Magic, Expert Card Technique, and the digital download of Card College volumes 1 & 2.

    May of been overkill with how early I'm at but from what I've read here and elsewhere sounds like it should take me pretty far. So back to the OP, while I can't say what others are doing, reading up here through past posts (Reality One gave a ton of good advice, so thank you) I am trying to go down the "right" path and work on my magic from the ground up.
    RealityOne likes this.
  14. Well, the fact remains that all of us are humans (hopefully).

    Humans love easy gratification.

    Getting gimmicks and downloads is easier than turning pages and deciphering instructions.

    NOW, I DO NOT claim that gimmicks or downloads are inferior to books. I'm just stating the truth. I rarely use gimmicks, so I won't speak about them, but downloads...(although I have never really purchased downloads, I admittedly HAVE watched video tutorials, and yes, on You Tube...*runs for shelter*).

    You see, video downloads, whether free or not, are easier to follow, OBVIOUSLY. But that's not the only thing playing in their favour.

    Libraries are closing down all over the world. Books are read lesser and lesser. In fact, e-books seem to be taking over kinda fast. In such a scenario, I have a feeling that video will soon become the library. Soon, the downloads will become the primary source of learning, because mate, change is inevitable.

    So yeah...while discovering a great effect in a book is more rewarding (or at least, feels so), nothing can beat the fact that the same effect taught through a download is easier to learn and keep in mind.

    My favourite book would be the Tricks of The Mind by Derren Brown.

    I do not own any gimmicks or downloads (lol).
  15. Incorrect. Book sales rose all through 2018. And eBook sales are falling - it's physical book sales. Google it.

    Also incorrect. Things that are easy to learn do NOT stick in the mind better - in fact the more effort placed on learning something, the more it will stick. Which is why books are superior in that sense. They force you to understand the material before you can even begin learning it, which automatically means you've paid more attention to it, which means (As any mnemonist will tell you) you'll remember it more effectively.
    Moorethanmagic likes this.
  16. I personally like both but yes I do purchase downloads and gimmicks more often than not. But I recently purchased some books as well as a gimmick (A flipper coin in fact) along with Grifters by Murphy's Magic. I purchased some used magic books those being J.B. Bobos Modern Coin Magic as a prefer coin magic and Myserios Encyclopedia of Magic and Conjuring and I'm about to order Expert at the Card Table! My preference is coin magic so my Download of choice is the Metal series on Ellusionst by Eric Jones (honestly one of my favorite coin magicians) my favorite book is obviously Modern Coin Magic but I'm trying to get a copy of New Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo! Please let me know if you have any other decent coin magic books!
  17. True I've always found books to be better (yes a little complicated but better) I've learned so much from books it's crazy!
  18. I have a feeling that this is matter of opinion.

    What about book sales vs YT tutorial view counts?
  19. All I wanna say is, the downloads and video stuff is on it's way to becoming the modern day library, and if the fact that libraries are closing down or becoming more back dated or deserted not true, then

    1) I'll cry out in joy, for I love reading.

    2) I'll also kill myself, because libraries ARE closing down as we speak.
  20. Because you haven't done the research. I have. Which is how most of our conversations go - you make an assumption based on your feelings, and I correct that assumption with facts, then you try to find a way to make it seem like you were correct anyway.

    Who cares? You said book sales are declining and eBooks are more popular and that is flat out wrong. Physical book sales are rising.

    As fun as it is to go in circles with you, I really just don't have the energy today.

    Downloads are popular for two significant reasons:
    1) The vast majority of people doing magic are not serious magicians. Nothing wrong with casual performers, mind you, that's just how it is. Most of them haven't invested the time and energy into seriously studying magic, which makes videos more appealing.

    2) The magic market is entirely built around casual performers who will constantly chase the "trick of the week". That target market thinks videos are the best, and downloads are the most efficient way to handle that medium, so there you go.

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