Arrived in my pile

by on June 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm in Books | Permalink

1. Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane, Balance: The Economics of Great Powers from Ancient Rome to Modern America.

2. F. H. Buckley, editor, The American Illness: Essays on the Rule of Law.

3. Vaclav Smil, Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing.

Jeff June 29, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Hi – just out of curiosity, how much in Amazon referral revenue do posts like this bring in for you? I’m very interested in how this works, as well as the economics of the blog overall.

Here is my attempt at the back of the envelope math. It could be way off, but here goes: there are 241,000 weekly impressions for the MR website (based on the ad rates). Since this number is one week’s worth of traffic, probably only about 20% of weekly visitors see this specific post. So that’s 48,200 who saw the post on the website. But there are others who will see it through RSS feeds. So let’s call that another 20,000. So that’s 68,200 total who saw the post. If anything I think this number is conservative. Now how many visitors actually purchase one of the books? My guess is somewhere around 1-2% will buy one of the books. It might have been higher if you had strongly recommended one of the books (which means this is one of your lower-revenue posts), but you didn’t. So let’s say it’s 1% (also note that some small number of people may buy all three books which is another reason the 1% figure is conservative). 1% of 68,200 is 682 books sold. At an average cost for the 3 books of appx $23, that’s $15,686 in total Amazon sales. Based on an 8% affiliate commission rate, that would net you $1,255 for this one post. (And this figure excludes any other unrelated items purchased by visitors to the Amazon site, which I believe also get included in the commission calculation).

Is this anywhere close to being correct?

Babar June 29, 2013 at 11:22 pm

1% seems very high.

Rahul June 30, 2013 at 12:05 am

Yup. I doubt that 1% conversion rate. Probably more like 0.1%

prior_approval June 30, 2013 at 6:11 am

Probably less than 100 dollars per book post (totally unsupported guess) – but then, these posts tend to occur in a weekly rhythm. So, maybe 5,000 dollars a year, with a possible Christmas related spike. (Of course, the books themselves are likely to be free – but like professors selling textbooks they get free from publishers, reviewers selling review copies is one of those subjects generally not discussed in polite company – in other words, selling review copies should not be ignored when discussing money streams, as it could be a roughly equivalent amount, depending on a lot of details which are not possible to know in this case.)

Not bad for a bit of typing, but this site is not really about money, except in a most meta way.

Ted Craig June 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

Alex said one time the Amazon referrals are only enough to supplement Tyler’s book budget.

Alex Tabarrok June 30, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Enough to support a normal person’s book budget not Tyler’s! Maybe including blogads.

Tom June 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm

The chapters in the Buckley book look like they were picked by the Koch brothers.

byomtov June 30, 2013 at 8:19 am

It’s one of those books where the chapter titles pretty much give the content away.

Also, the Amazon blurb is pretty silly.

The book provides a comprehensive overview of the interactions between economics and the law, and then goes on to list nothiong but flaws, real and imagined, in the system.

Oh, and if you are going to complain about “tort laws that vary from state” you might rethink your commitment to federalism.

Enrique June 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm

The introductory essay in #2 argues about the importance of “rule of law” and distinguishes thick rule of law from thin rule of law, but how does one empirically measure something so slippery as rule of law? Rule of law seems more like a label or epithet scholars use to describe legal rules or systems they for normative or aesthetic reasons

mulp June 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm

When the very first statement is a total straw man description of the views of the1963 American political thinking, civics teachings, and the popular public debate, I can’t hold out any hope for the rest of the book.

Fifty years ago is 1963 in the midst of international crisis, the racial equality debate, the killing of voting rights activists, the killing of civil rights activists, the prosecution of the Lovings who were in a marriage just like Clarence Thomas.

Is Buckley prepared so argue that Justice Thomas should be jailed every time he drives home to Virginia because too many lawyers have filed too many lawsuits?

Rimbaud June 30, 2013 at 5:05 am

Ha ha, upon reading the title of that third book, Demi Lovato’s new single involuntarily started playing in my head.

F. Lynx Pardinus June 30, 2013 at 6:31 am

Here’s The Economist’s review of #1:
“Readers will conclude, as many a history tutor has written on an undergraduate essay: ‘This thesis needs more work.’”

Joe Smith June 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm

When they saw it was written by Hubbard they should have thrown it in the garbage without reading along with the rest of the junk mail.

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