Visit your local bookstore or library, and chances are, you'll find lots of books on magic and the art of illusion. While most magic books explain lots of easy magic tricks, few provide a foundation and education in magic for the serious beginner who wants to learn fundamentals and move beyond mental puzzles. With the books here, you can learn methods and techniques behind many magic tricks, as well as fundamental sleight of hand.
The book that you choose will depend on the path that you wish to take and the magic you wish to learn.
With this in mind, here are several beginning magic books.
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson
Numerous magicians began their education in magic with Mark Wilson's excellent book that covers close-up, stage magic, and even large illusions. This one is definitely worth the look and is widely available. It's truly an education in magic and even experienced pros will go back and consult the weighty and informative tome.
The Amateur Magicians Handbook by Henry Hayt
Not for kids, this magic classic offers an astounding amount of information, but it's a harder read and it lacks illustrations. It's an excellent book to add to your magic library and it serves some serious magic fundamentals.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Magic Tricks by Tom Ogden
Tom Ogden’s book offers an excellent introduction to magic and a solid foundation to those who want to seriously learn and pursue magic.
It's loaded with good beginning tricks, and it offers clear instructions and illustrations and is written in a light and entertaining style. Most notably, for a mainstream book, it takes the time in its early chapters to provide history; and magic basics on pattern, character, clothing, handling problems, picking volunteers and more.
Now You See It, Now You Don't by Bill Tarr
Bill Tarr's well-illustrated books offer step-by-step instructions to learn and perform sleight-of-hand with coins, cards, balls, and other objects. This classic comes in two volumes and both are worth buying and studying. While the books feature some routines, they're mostly dedicated to moves. This book provides an early magic foundation.
Magic for Dummies by David Pogue
In the battle between the "idiots" (see above) and dummies, Tom Ogden, and the idiots clearly win. Generally, Dummies provides a first-rate assortment of easy tricks that require no sleight of hand and use common objects that are found in homes and offices that include food, matches, cards, ropes, and more, and serves some good suggestions for presentation. The book also has a who’s who of magic that contributed tricks that include such notables as Gregory Wilson, Billy McComb, Johnny Thompson, Jeff McBride, and others.