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Must Read Financial Blogs: 350,000 Textbooks Downloaded From Apple's iBooks in Three Days


Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.

All Things D
Link: 350,000 Textbooks Downloaded From Apple's iBooks in Three Days

"Though nascent and unproven, Apple's new textbook initiative appears to be gaining lots of momentum - and quickly, too. Within days of its debut, Apple's iBooks textbook store had already racked up a significant number of downloads.According to Global Equities Research, which monitors Apple's iBook sales via a proprietary tracking system it doesn't much care to discuss, more than 350,000 textbooks were downloaded from the company's iBooks Store within the first three days of availability. And there were some 90,000 downloads of iBooks Author, Apple's free textbook-creation tool, during the same time. If those numbers are accurate, Apple's textbook effort would seem to be off to a good start. Which is good news for everyone involved - particularly textbook publishers, who stand to make more money on books sold through iBooks than those sold at retail." (For related content, see Apple Destroys the Textbook, and Thank Heavens for That.)

Link: The Best States to Grow Up In

Newborn children can't choose the states in which they grow up any more than they can choose the size of their parents' bank accounts. But voters in every state choose how much to spend on public programs benefiting children, with telling results. The Foundation for Child Development's new report on state-level differences in the Index of Child Well-Being – a broad quality-of-life indicator based on 25 indicators – shows enormous variation, as does another set of indicators known as Kids Count, developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In states near the top of the list, like Connecticut, New Jersey and Utah, the successes have been celebrated. States in the South and Southwest generally rank lower, with New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada and Arizona at the bottom. Those, like Newt Gingrich, who believe, that less fortunate children lack a work ethic might point to regional differences in moral character. But evidence suggests that regional differences in willingness to pay taxes, sometimes called "tax morale," are at work.

Real Time Economics
Link: OECD Urges Tax Changes to Boost Growth, Reduce Inequality
Governments should eliminate tax relief on mortgage interest payments and pension contributions, and tax capital gains from the sale of residential property in order to boost growth and reduce inequality, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Monday. In a chapter from its annual "Going for Growth" report, the OECD said that while economists don't agree on the link between inequality and growth, there are some policies that are clearly "win-win" options, which both boost growth and reduce income inequality.

Dr. Housing Bubble
Link: Baby Boomers and the 4 Million Seriously Delinquent Loans
The prospects of a housing recovery in 2012 seem unlikely as continued weak momentum carries over from the second half of 2011. Globally, housing bubbles are entering into peak mania phases as hot money seeks a safe harbor for the short-term. Back here in the United States, we can look at the cold hard reality that 2011 saw a record low number of single family completions. The positive news is that this aids in lowering the overall housing stock and provides a stronger buffer for shadow inventory that will leak out into the market over the next few years. A strong variable that is hard to factor in is this; we have 10,000 or so baby boomers that retire per day for the next 19 years and many will look to downsize. It should come as no surprise that the Case-Shiller prices are now at post-bubble lows. What does 2012 have in store for the housing market? (Also Read Four Homebuilders Emerging From the Rubble.)

Credit Writedowns
Link: Euro Races Higher
The euro is racing higher after initially gapping lower in Asia on indications that the private sector involvement in Greece had hit another stumbling block ahead of today's EU finance minister summit. It has moved above the $1.30 area in the European morning, for the first time since January 4. There are a few consideration prompting the continuation of the short-covering advance that began last week. For related content, see How Europe Should Tackle Its Three Main Problems.)

Twitter: @Minyanville

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