Almost every magician loves talking about magic books. But why? As we'll show in this blog post, they have more value than it might seem. They help your creativity and can help you become a better magician in general.
Nowadays, content and information are consumed through the screens of our phones and computers. Everyone's attention span has significantly decreased because we got used to watching short videos on Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.
Reading books seems old-fashioned and time-consuming. So why would you invest your money and time in magic books? In the following paragraphs, we explain why we think books are essential for anyone serious about magic.
When a trick or a technique is explained in a book, the explanation often includes more than just the method. When to use it, how to properly control your angles, and what type of spectator is the best to perform the trick for. These are just a couple of tips the authors share.
It is crucial to learn a technique correctly and simultaneously understand its context. Learn how to incorporate it into your routine so it does not affect its flow. One book that does just that is The Royal Road to Card Magic. The explanation of each technique is followed by a section with multiple effects that use it. So it is no surprise The Royal Road is the book we recommend to beginner magicians the most often.
Sometimes, you might think the context is missing. But is it?
Spark Your Imagination and Creativity
Reading the words is one thing, but reading between the lines is also important. Many areas might be covered without them being explicitly included in the explanations.
When you study a book, you inevitably think about everything you read. Don't be afraid of it, and certainly don’t avoid it. Embrace it.
Let your imagination run and see what comes out of it. Are you learning a card control but don’t have a clear idea of how it is supposed to look? You might come up with a brand-new one! In this way, countless tricks and techniques were invented simply by doing something differently.
One disadvantage of learning from video tutorials is that we often mimic the actions we see, especially if the person teaching the move is someone we admire and look up to because we want to be like them. We try to do everything the same way as they do, even performing.
Everybody has different-sized and shaped hands, considering sleight of hand. When it comes to performing, everybody has a different personality, sense of humor, and, of course, performance style. Try to fit the material you learn into your style. Don't try to mimic someone else’s.
We have already covered what performance tips might appear in books. Another valuable element of magic is discussed - magic theory.
Magic theory explores all the topics outside the methods. This might seem too broad, so we’ll give you a few examples:
- scripting and the importance of what you say and how you say it,
- character development,
- finding your performance style,
- communicating with spectators,
- misdirection and controlling the audience,
- creating the most powerful effect,
- structuring routines and the whole show,
- staging, lighting, and sound engineering,
- and much more!
There are many books about magic theory. Each tackles a slightly different aspect. Some are targeted more on the performance side, such as Strong Magic and The Five Points in Magic. At the same time, some focus on effect building and routining (Designing Miracles and The Magic Way).
If you want to be a great magician, studying all areas of magic is crucial.
Build Your Library
When you start collecting books and building your library, you gain a massive source for referencing. Do you want to learn a new “Collectors” routine? Are you looking for a better way to palm multiple cards? You can quickly find the correct answer or solution with the books within your reach.
How can you find that one thing without going through all the books? Denis Behr, an excellent magician from Germany, created and is still growing the Conjuring Archive. It is an online database where you can search over three thousand magic publications for tricks or specific techniques and find out where they are explained. We highly recommend using the Conjuring Archive if you ever need to find anything.
Firstly, the value of magic books comes from the time, work, and effort it takes to compile the material, narrow it down to the best, and write it down in the uttermost detail. Most magic books take several years of work before they are published. This means that you get the author’s very best material.
Many magicians stay away from books because they think books are expensive. It is partially true. If you look just at the price tags, they can be seen as expensive. Price is one thing, but you also have to consider the value.
Let’s give an example. You can buy a magic trick for 40 EUR. You can also buy a magic book for 70 EUR. Which one is more expensive?
Now, let’s take a look at it from a different side. The 70 EUR book includes thirty tricks. This means that one trick costs 2.5 EUR. And for 40 EUR, you would get one trick.
As mentioned above, you don't have to buy books just to learn new tricks. A lot of us already know dozens of effects. Let’s say you have one hundred tricks in your repertoire. The 80 EUR book on magic theory improves your performance style and, therefore, improves the one hundred tricks you can perform immediately.
So now, let’s ask the question again. Which one is more expensive - the book or the magic trick? Or a better question would be, which one is more valuable?
This is a very simplified example. Most magic tricks include props and gimmicks that add to the value. But it is important to not go of just the price. Consider the value hidden in the pages. And, of course, don’t judge a book by its cover.
These are just some reasons why we recommend and love magic books.
Apart from the ones on our site, we have an ever-growing library in our Butterfly Wonderland in Prague. If you ever visit, we invite you to sit with us around the round table and read the books that interest you.