A lot of people just starting out in magic seem to get the wrong idea. The belief is that everything you need to know is out on DVD so why bother with books. The biggest excuse I hear is that it's easier to learn from DVDs than it is from books.
Here's the beef with that. Before the DVDs & VHS tapes came along there were only books available for people to learn from. It seemed to work then so there's no reason why it can't work now. The really funny thing is that you can buy a book with 50 or so tricks for the same price that you pay for a DVD that only has 7 or 8 effects. Sometimes you only get 1 trick with a DVD!
I'm not saying you should give up on buying DVDs all together, that's just silly! What I'm trying to get across is that DVDs are not a substitute for reading books. There are so many hidden things in books that never make it to DVD. There's nothing like reading a good trick from a classic book, showing up at a magic convention and fooling other magicians with this hidden gem.
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind along the way:
-The masters of the past did not have their work on DVD. To pass up on learning from Dai Vernon, Ed Marlo or Larry Jennings would be a huge mistake!
-If you are going to buy DVDs, and you have every right, do yourself a favor and learn from the person on them but don't become that person.
-If you want to learn things that not everyone else is doing, then crack open a good book and learn the real secrets of magic.
-Here's one last thing to remember, everything old is new again. Most of the new stuff you see coming out is 'old' material from books being re-done and is suddenly new.