Updated: May 18, 2021
Part of the difficulty of being a stage magician in this day and age comes from the impossibility of living up to magical phenomena as seen in popular culture. Non-illusionists can only imagine how difficult it was to be a stage magician in the aftermath of the Harry Potter books and movies, as people are likely to be less impressed by a simple card trick when they have seen or read about a person making themselves invisible.
Magic entertains us. JK Rowling has done a particularly good job in making the whole idea accessible to a wider audience by creating a world where there are magical ways of doing just about everything that we do by hand in the non-magical world. It has been beguiling enough to make kids and adults alike feel a little bit cheated that they have not had the opportunity to attend Hogwarts.
One thing that has made the Harry Potter books popular with adults is the darker nature of the later books. Harry grows from a young wizard with no more skill or knowledge than most to being the boy who saves the world, and if that sounds hokey then it is worth reading the books to see how cleverly and how starkly the challenges are conveyed.
We have come a long way since the early characterizations of witches and wizards on TV and in books and movies, where characters were either evil old crones or cheerful and witty. In a world where everyone is magical, the spells are real and magic itself is no advantage, and this is what gives the books their depth.