Tag: Magic Shops

Join Inside Magic’s Online Directory

Inside Magic Image of a Magic Show

Inside Magic has been online since 1992 or 1996 depending on what you mean by online.  We began as a monthly newsletter sent to subscribers obtained through Boys Life classifieds and converted to CompuServe,  Genii (the GE electronic service – not the magazine) and then the Internet. 

We advertised through Yahoo at a cost of $140.00 (1990s dollars) and later advertised through the new and unproven Google search service.  Much less cost but at the start, many less clicks. 

There were months when the clicks were three or five.  But it was cheap so we kept with it.  We advertised on magic websites – there were very few back in the early days but Meir Yedid was a dependable site.   People trusted him, they trusted his opinion on magic and enjoyed his very honest description of magic for sale or for viewing. 

They still do.  

In the old days, Inside Magic had a news side and a catalog side.  We would never review tricks we sold – because that seemed improper. 

Eventually the catalog side faded from existence.  We sold the bulk of our remaining inventory on eBay and Amazon and focused on the news and reviews side of the website.  We liked that.  Selling magic is a tough business.  The margins are tight, there are so many sites now selling effects, and we are softies.  We can’t stand to disappoint people.  We did what no sane magic seller does, we gave refunds – even if the trick came back beat up and without instructions.  It just seemed fair.

Bright we are not.  We love magic and want to do nothing that could or possibly could interfere with an individual’s enjoyment of this great art.  That doesn’t make us ethical or smart – just us.  Similarly we would never interview or review a performer or trick/act we didn’t like.  We want to be positive always.  Maybe we didn’t like the trick or the act or the performer but that didn’t mean it/he/she/they weren’t great in the eyes of others. 

Additionally,  there are so many young performers and their first crack at getting publicity is through a review.  How terrible for the first review to be negative or mean.  We got our first review in a newspaper and it was horrible.  The trauma on a 12-year-old’s psyche is so significant.  We got later, more positive reviews but the first one stung and made getting back  on stage difficult.

All of this is coming to a point.

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Hank Lee on Pre-Order Madness

Hank Lee's Magic Factory is a great place on the web for magicians and magic lovers. It is, to us, the virtual equivalent of a real magic store. Hank Lee is always friendly, topical, and filled with enthusiasm for our art.

Yes, some of his enthusiasm could be an outgrowth of his desire to sell magic, stay in business, eat and sleep somewhere other than under a bridge. Still, with his writing talent and business skills, he would likely make the same if not more plying his talents selling something other than magic. We suspect he likes this world of magic and magicians and finds a nice synergy of his passion and profession.

Each week, Hank Lee sends out emails to those who subscribe. The Hot List usually contains a short, well-considered essay or reflection he believes may be of interest to customers and subscribers.

This week's Hot List begins with a very interesting take on the "Pre-Order" game played by magic shops and wholesalers. We have pre-ordered many items in the last few years. It can be frustrating to pay in advance for an effect that fails to materialize on the promised date, or even within a month of the promised date.

We have accepted this scenario as a fact of life in the internet magic age. We assumed the pre-order funds helped to fund the production of the effect or provided some cash-flow for those in the supply chain. We realize our pre-ordering is enabling poor money management and perhaps even bringing poor quality magic to the market. No one would pre-order an effect described as ordinary or anything less than spectacular. Most magicians are happy to wait for the newest trick's arrival at their favorite magic outlet.

But the pre-order scenario works because the effect is described as something so wonderful, unique, novel, and new that the demand is likely to outstrip supply. Magicians cannot wait to purchase the effect on the day it debuts on store shelves – it may not be there.

We have a policy of not criticizing magicians or magic tricks. There are plenty of places on the web for snark and haters (or "snaters" or "harks"). Post a message to any one of the major magic forums asking for help or offering an opinion. Within seconds, a fire-fight of nastiness and sarcasm (complete with bad spelling and not good grammar) will appear in the post position immediately below your earnest comment.

We resist the urge to join the poorly thought out screeds because it is ultimately exhausting. We have a very limited ability to hate or question another magician's integrity or intelligence. Soon, we are disgusted with our own words and intemperate actions and need a shower or at least a good wet wiping (if that is the proper verb form for use of the moist towelettes we have collected from Kentucky Fried Chicken locations across this great land).

So, we won't name the names of those fortunate magicians and magic stores who have taken our pre-order money months in advance of the closest thing to real magic only to deliver a poorly edited PDF document teaching either something we already knew or something we would never use.

The fault, dear Caesar, lies not in the stars but in ourselves. We continue to fall for the promises of nearly miraculous results through use of a hitherto undiscovered magic principle as used by the inventor for the last thirty years, in thousands of shows.

Logic is lost when we are caught up in the moment. How could it be a tried and true effect honed by decades of real-world performances and yet be "hitherto unknown?" Perhaps the inventor lacks publicity skills and no one attended the shows held over the last quarter century? Maybe the inventor or distributor is puffing? Maybe we should think before we drop good cash on a promise of something we know does not exist?

Hank Lee's thoughts on the pre-order issue are refreshing. He provides a take from the perspective of a magic dealer.

I have been in this business of magic for 36 years. I remember when dinosaur magicians roamed the earth. Back in the olden days, we somehow managed without pre-orders. We sold items that had actually come into stock before they were advertised; or, within a few days of being advertised. It seems intrinsically sound business practice.

So why do magic dealers buck the sound business practice to offer promises in exchange for real money combined with a high likelihood of customer frustration and disappointment?

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Aaron Smith of Magic Depot Offers 20 Percent Off!

This deal of deals from Aaron Smith over at the beautifully appointed Magic Depot web site:

FOR ONE DAY ONLY buy everything you want from The Magic Depot and SAVE 20% OFF the retail price!

Simply write “20% OFF” in the order comments box during the checkout process, choose Priority Shipping, and I’ll deduct 20% off every item you buy!

– Write “20% OFF” to qualify!
– Choose Priority or faster shipping!
– Discounts factored from retail prices only!
– Doesn’t include specials prices but those items qualify!

It’s a STOREWIDE SALE that includes all categories! Some items are exempt and specifically marked exempt. Your choice of more than 6000 magic tricks, books, DVD’s, and accessories 20% OFF!

We’ll calculate the new price and bill your card automatically.

These amazing savings aren’t valid with any other offer or discount. Discounts not displayed at checkout. PayPal orders receive a store credit for their discounts!

BUY more SAVE more at The Magic Depot, but hurry.

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