"Ten years ago my book Houdini--the Key was published by me (and written, illustrated, and created, page by page, by me).
I didn't want to print a big number of books because I considered it a book for the few, not the many. It did involve magic secrets and there are some good ones in there. I had a plan in case they all sold out. I printed 278 books, then, when it became obvious they were all going to sell, I did a second printing, without changing any of the contents, of 113 books.
Because I didn't want my book taken over by scalpers -- it is a rare book. It's in the Rare Books Collection at the Library of Congress. It's well-made with a cover that I created that is eye-grabbing and contains little clues for serious Houdini aficionados. It has a slipcase in matching heavy duty library buckram. I knew if it got out of my hands it would completely sell out very fast. I had made a collectible, but, I didn't want collectors to have it if they weren't going to read it. I wanted people to have the book who would use it.
So, now, ten years down the road. I have sold every one of the 391 numbered copies of Houdini--the Key.
I limited the book to one per customer and I have the name and contact information of every person who bought one. Since each book was numbered, I have a complete list of the people who bought the book and which number they got.
A bunch of my Magical heroes are on that list. And there hasn't been a single complaint."
A serious inaccuracy about the price of the book appears in Joe Posnanski's recent book The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini. In the book the author states that he acquired the book from Patrick for $295. But this was never a price Patrick charged anyone.
"I published the book at $195.00 and I sold every book on the list for $195.00 (except the ones I sold to some very fortunate -- and canny -- folks who trusted me with their money and got an advance price). That includes the book I sold Joe Posnanski. Joe is given to hyperbole "J. Gordon Whitehead was a great big guy -- 6 ft. 6" -- and in his book, he makes quite a bit out of meeting me at the Magic Castle and paying me $295.00 for my book. He didn't. Joe bought #36 of the second printing from me for the same price everybody else did: $195.
So for Joe to write that I charged him $295 is particularly hurtful."
But Patrick has good news for those who may have missed out in the run of 391 copies:
"But, sorry scalpers, I've got thirty books that were intended for libraries that I decided I wouldn't sell to libraries (the ones that count have them). They are available to serious students at the original price of $195.00. The book is still available, brand new and beautiful, for a few more months (or possibly years if they are slow to sell)."
So head over to houdinisghost.com and send Patrick an inquiry about purchasing one of the last 30 copies of Houdini--the Key.