I love books.
I have collected thousands of them.
Most people that I know who amass a sizeable hoard eventually become either dealers, it being the only way to dispose of duplicate holdings, or publishers, as they are unafraid of adding to the stock of paper that has built up around them.
I took the latter route, and have done so through Magicana. Publishing a book is a lot like producing a theatrical work or a film. You have to acquire the rights, work with authors and designers, and oversee the production and promotion. And books, like theatre seats, are perishable commodities; they have a shelf life dictated by popular opinion. Fortunately for us, the shelf life for magic books can be quite long. It is a niche market, as each generation of magicians eventually tries to access information – particularly the secrets – of others. It helps that most of the books we publish are limited editions.
If forced to articulate a publisher’s policy, it would be to publish books that are or were culturally significant such as A Grand Expose or How Gamblers Win; are creatively compelling such as the Essential Stewart James; or that add to the historical record such as Spins and Needles and A Cut Above.
I also act as the publisher and editor of Magicol: A Journal of Magic History and Collectibles. Magicol has been published for over fifty years, and since 2010 under the auspices of Magicana. Not surprisingly, the goal is to publish a journal with articles that are culturally significant, creatively compelling, and/or add to the historical record. Thanks to Michael Albright and Julie Eng, each issue is also beautiful to behold.