Updated on 08.27.08

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Book Review Changes Edition

Trent Hamm

After listening to feedback and my own changing interests, I’ve decided to change how I do book reviews on The Simple Dollar. Instead of reviewing a personal finance book on Friday morning and a personal development book on Sunday afternoon, I’m going to just post one review a week on Sunday afternoon, alternating between a personal finance-themed book one week and a book on some related topic the following week.

The reason I’m doing this is based mostly on feedback, but also my desire to change what I’m reading (at least a little). Most readers seem to like the extensive archive of book reviews, but get bored by having two new ones each week – by knocking it down to one, it’s a little less intrusive.

Plus, I’m working on three pretty big projects that will appear over the next four months or so – and, no, I’m not talking about my book, which will be in bookstores this December 17. Three besides that one.

Here are some articles of interest.

How to Go Broke Being Frugal The “high startup cost” factor is something that is often debated. Is it better to spend $1,500 on a high-efficiency washer that will last two decades or $200 on a low-efficiency washer that’ll last eight years? All things equal, the former is the better option, but a $1,500 bill can really hurt. (@ frugal dad)

Starting an eBay Business – A Step by Step Guide I have one friend who makes his living selling trading cards on eBay from his home. He spends about six hours a day on it, and this is actually pretty close to how he got started. (@ christian pf)

Ads Are NOT the New Online Tip Jar I tend to think the new online tip jar is something like my “downloadables,” but what do I know? Let’s just say I’m going to experiment down this path in the future. (@ get rich slowly)

Am I Wasting My Time? I disagree with the idea that “you can’t teach money,” but the desire to learn has to come from within the learner. If they don’t have it, it’s like squeezing juice from a rock. (@ )

Tightwad Tuesday: Don’t Be Squeamish Over “Gently Used” When I read this, I think “baby clothes.” Most babies only wear an outfit two or three times, then it’s either handed down or sold at a yard sale. For me, this means buy baby clothes at yard sales. What do I care if someone else’s baby wore this outfit two or three times, especially if I give it a thorough cleaning? (@ being frugal)

40 Positive Effects of a TV Free Week For me, the biggest change was simply going to bed when I got tired instead of lounging in front of the television in a sleepy stupor. It added a lot of energy to my days. (@ marc and angel hack life)

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  1. uri says:

    I have a question about the “ads are not the new tipping” thing.

    I’m no marketing major, but in the long run, doesn’t it benefit the advertiser to encourage customers to click-through an ad even if they’re not initially stimulated by the ad? Sure, many people will click the ad and immediately close the pop-up/new tab, but getting a click-through also means that an advertiser is getting double the exposure they would have for that potential customer. Even if nothing in the original ad spoke to the user, perhaps a message on the next page will pique his interest.

    Isn’t this the way that all sorts of marketing gimmicks work, from free ice cream giveaways to live music playing at a record store to those terrible real-estate sales-pitch getaway weekends in Aspen?

    I understand that an artificially-high rate of “empty” click-throughs is discouraged, but shouldn’t advertisers be happy to receive any and all traffic? (It seems to me that it’s an incredibly small percentage of users who see an ad that actually make a purchase on that visit to a site, and, just like spammers, online advertisers make their money in those margins.) Also, many ads aren’t even based on a user purchasing something at the site – the ad’s only purpose is often to promote a brand and pull traffic.

    Just a thought.

  2. We are long-term, avid readers of your blog. Thanks for the link. ;-)

  3. Ryan says:

    “Most readers seem to like the extensive archive of book reviews, but get bored by having two new ones each week”

    I wasn’t part of the original feedback you got, but I’ll agree with both of those statements. Good call.

  4. Erin says:

    Looking forward to your book! That will have to go on my Christmas wishlist.

  5. Lynnae says:

    I can’t wait to hear more about your big projects!

    Thanks for the link!

  6. Chris says:

    @ url. You know it’s kinda funny, your post reminded me as to why I never click ads on websites.

    inevitably they lead you to another ad and not actual information about what you just saw.

    if I’m actually curious about something I see in an ad, I’m more likely to google it than click through because I am almost guaranteed not to find what i’m looking for clicking the ad.

  7. uri says:

    @Chris. I agree; I can’t remember the last time I actually clicked-through on an ad. Probably a video game link from Penny Arcade or something, and I certainly didn’t buy it.

    Which makes me question even more the concept of “empty” click-throughs: it’s more about impressions and visibility than it is about actually buying something on that particular visit to a site, and having double (or more) the impression but not receiving a sale is better than not giving an impression at all.

    It seems to me.

    But I don’t really know anything about it.

  8. Brandon says:

    Speaking of the book, are you interested in selling a few copies off of TSD’s website?

    I think some readers who your site has really helped out would love a signed copy.

  9. ChrisB says:

    It appears that I’m in the minority of those who enjoyed two reviews a week.

    Why post the review on Sunday, though? For whatever reason, I usually look forward to the Friday review more than the Sunday one, regardless of the kind of book being reviewed.

    My $.02!

  10. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    Brandon: that may be done directly through my publisher. We’re still talking about some of the details.

  11. Someone says:

    I’m sad that you won’t be reviewing as many books, but we’ve still got one new review a week, and the archive, so that’s good, at least :)

    Keep up the good work!

  12. Alisa says:

    Excited for you and your new projects. I look forward to them. Interesting post by uri. I am new to online advertising and found it a little discouraging that the click rate is not higher. But, I guess, in time as I learn this new field; I’ll understand the methods behind placement, color, size, and any other attributes that would impact the number of clicks. I just started my investment journey. http://ourstockmarketjourney.blogspot.com
    Be well.

  13. Paul says:

    I wouldn’t mind see some reviews of fiction books occasionally.

  14. Mark B. says:

    Good call. I could see the book reviews being greeted with a collective “YAWN” from your readers. At least that is how I felt.

    I like the once a week on Sunday idea. I look forward to your posts, but Friday was much less interesting.

  15. Someone says:

    Well, looks like I’m in the minority, then– though that surprises me, since I found the book reviews so valuable, I’m kind of confused as to why their frequency was unpopular.

  16. Michael says:

    The problem is that the books are boring. I still enjoy TSD book reviews when the book is interesting. I started reading this site because I wanted to know what books said, all the way through, without reading them.

  17. Bill in NC says:

    DON’T buy a front-loading washer if you want to be frugal.

    Most of the energy (85%) used in washing clothes comes from heating the water – use cold water instead.

    Front-loaders also need computer controls, unlike top-loaders, and those computer boards have been VERY failure-prone, at least on front-loaders offered in the U.S. market.

    Water itself is cheap on any municipal system, and unless your private well has recharge issues, there’s usually no compelling case for a front-loader.

  18. ChrisB says:

    (Trent, this is a duplicate of a comment above that seems stuck in moderation; feel free to delete…)

    It appears that I’m in the minority of those who enjoyed two reviews a week.

    Why post the review on Sunday, though? For whatever reason, I usually look forward to the Friday review more than the Sunday one, regardless of the kind of book being reviewed.

    My $.02!

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