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Guide to magic books

A Brief Guide to Electronic Magic Books (eBooks)

In the last few years a number of classic magic books have become available in electronic book (eBook) format. This format is well suited to magic books, since they are basically teaching texts and reference works.

eBooks are searchable and take up very little space. Any bibliophile with bulging shelves will appreciate this.

The most important pioneer of magical eBooks is Chris Wasshuber. His company,, sells a large catalog of not only classic magic books from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but also many important contemporary titles.

Here are just a couple of my favorite eBooks from

Card College 1

Card College 1, by Roberto Giobbi

Without question, the best contemporary books for learning sleight-of-hand magic with playing cards are the four volumes of the Card College series, by the Swiss master magician Roberto Giobbi. Basic and advanced principles of card magic are explained in meticulous detail, in Mr. Giobbi's precise yet amusing style. The explanations are supported by hundreds of crystal-clear line drawings by Mr. Giobbi's wife Barbara.

I always tell serious students of card magic that they should work their way through the Card College books, even before The Royal Road to Card Magic. The Card College books are available from magic dealers; you won't find them in mass-market bookstores.

In 2002, Mr. Giobbi and Chris Wasshuber undertook a very exciting project: the publication of Card College in eBook format. This is important not just because eBooks are compact and searchable, but also because this eBook contains 89 embedded video clips of the author performing each of the techniques taught. This makes it one of the most advanced eBooks available on any topic, not just magic. Book 1 of the series is available now, and plans are in the works for the release of book 2.

Tarbell Course

The Tarbell Course, by Harlan Tarbell

In the 1920s, Chicago magician Harlan Tarbell offered a correspondence course in magic. Subscribers regularly received instruction by mail in the basic principles of all areas of magic. The content of these courses was later assembled into a seven-book series that is now available from magic dealers. The Tarbell Course is generally considered a fundamental of any magic library.

This eBook version is the original mail-order course, not the later book form. It contains nearly 1300 pages and 2900 illustrations. Best of all, it takes up only the space of one CD, rather than the eight inches of shelf space required by my complete set of the book version.

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