The Professional Magic Dealers Association
The Professional Magic Dealers Association (PMDA as reported in MagicWeek recently) has been established in the UK as a body which seeks to represent professional dealers from around the country in order to give them a united voice.
Limited initially to around 25 members, the PMDA consists of dealers who make the bulk of their income from magic and who are perceived as having a reputable and ethical business. Unlike America where there has been a dealers association for some time, the UK has never had such a group even though on several occasions over the years there are some who have felt that creating one would be a positive move.
The PMDA will represent its dealer members when speaking to convention organisers in order to ensure that the conditions for trading are fair and appropriate, it will give customers a benchmark by which to judge the traders who they may wish to deal with and it will give the means for dealers to discuss and resolve issues which arise amongst themselves.
The need for a unified voice for dealers has probably been around for a very long time, but as trading conditions become ever more cut throat (the number of different businesses which now sell magic is huge compared to even 10 years ago) many of the more established traders felt that it was time for some clear standards to be adopted.
Selling conditions at conventions have also prompted this action to be taken. Despite the fact that the dealers constitute an important element of all the major magic events around the country, the numbers of dealers invited to attend and the cost and conditions of trading often leave a lot to be desired.
The problem in the past has been that the dealer hall is made up of a lot of individual businesses who all have their own sets of priorities, and if things are not quite right with the trading arrangements, nobody has the authority to take issue with the organisers. Now if a convention committee is approached with some suggestions from an organisation which represents a good proportion of the best known dealers, it is far more likely that these suggestions will be considered.
While it is probably true to say that most dealers love to have a moan, matters have become much more serious in the last few years as more and more traders go after the finite amount of business that is available. The UK is a relatively small magic marketplace and with the internet now being so powerful as a selling medium, it is all the more important that convention committees understand that unless they listen to the concerns of the dealers, they are likely to find large numbers of the more prominent traders no longer willing to attend. What is the point in spending several days standing in an empty dealer hall losing money when you can trade successfully and profitably through mail orders generated by the web?
Conventions have to compete with the web now, and to do that they have to provide something which people see as relevant, interesting and worth attending. There is no better way to buy magic than to be able to see it demonstrated first, but with online video demos becoming ever more pervasive, even that may not be enough of a carrot. The PMDA will seek to preserve what is best both for its members and its customers - letís hope people take notice. There are currently 26 members of the Association.