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The Last Female Face on U.S. Print Currency

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Yesterday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced that a woman would be replacing Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.

"We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman," Lew said. The last female face on U.S. print currency was Martha Washington, who was on the one dollar Silver Certificate in the 1890s.

The switch will be made in 2020 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Constitution's 19th Amendment. There's no word yet who the woman will be—the decision won't be made for at least a few more months. But the Department of Treasury's website offers some clues: "Democracy is the theme for the next redesigned series and the Secretary will select a woman recognized by the public who was a champion for democracy in the United States," the site states. "The person should be iconic and have made a significant contribution to—or impact on—protecting the freedoms on which our nation was founded." Additionally, only deceased people can be put on U.S. currency.

According to the website, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) typically provides "advice on themes, symbols and concepts to be used on currency," but this time, the treasury is asking the general public for their input. They're using the hashtag #TheNew10 on social media to poll opinions, and will be having roundtables and town halls this summer.

If you're looking for inspiration for who the new face of the $10 bill should be, we have some recommendations, and here's what other people have been saying:

Of course, you can't please everybody: Hamilton, the first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, has been securely positioned on $10 bill since 1929 (he replaced Andrew Jackson, who was placed on the $20 bill). Although many had been campaigning to have a woman on the $20 bill, the treasury had already pegged the $10 as the next bill to be updated due to security reasons—and some people are little annoyed that the creator of the first bank of the United States is getting bumped from its currency.

And from Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the much-lauded Hamilton musical, soon to make its Broadway debut:

But there's still hope for Hamilton: According to the New10 website, Hamilton will still be honored in some way. One option is to feature him on the $2 bill. 

[h/t: Money.CNN.com]

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Why a Readily Available Used Paperback Is Selling for Thousands of Dollars on Amazon
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At first glance, getting ahold of a copy of One Snowy Knight, a historical romance novel by Deborah MacGillivray, isn't hard at all. You can get the book, which originally came out in 2009, for a few bucks on Amazon. And yet according to one seller, a used copy of the book is worth more than $2600. Why? As The New York Times reports, this price disparity has more to do with the marketing techniques of Amazon's third-party sellers than it does the market value of the book.

As of June 5, a copy of One Snowy Knight was listed by a third-party seller on Amazon for $2630.52. By the time the Times wrote about it on July 15, the price had jumped to $2800. That listing has since disappeared, but a seller called Supersonic Truck still has a used copy available for $1558.33 (plus shipping!). And it's not even a rare book—it was reprinted in July.

The Times found similar listings for secondhand books that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than their market price. Those retailers might not even have the book on hand—but if someone is crazy enough to pay $1500 for a mass-market paperback that sells for only a few dollars elsewhere, that retailer can make a killing by simply snapping it up from somewhere else and passing it on to the chump who placed an order with them.

Not all the prices for used books on Amazon are so exorbitant, but many still defy conventional economic wisdom, offering used copies of books that are cheaper to buy new. You can get a new copy of the latest edition of One Snowy Knight for $16.99 from Amazon with Prime shipping, but there are third-party sellers asking $24 to $28 for used copies. If you're not careful, how much you pay can just depend on which listing you click first, thinking that there's not much difference in the price of used books. In the case of One Snowy Knight, there are different listings for different editions of the book, so you might not realize that there's a cheaper version available elsewhere on the site.

An Amazon product listing offers a mass-market paperback book for $1558.33.
Screenshot, Amazon

Even looking at reviews might not help you find the best listing for your money. People tend to buy products with the most reviews, rather than the best reviews, according to recent research, but the site is notorious for retailers gaming the system with fraudulent reviews to attract more buyers and make their way up the Amazon rankings. (There are now several services that will help you suss out whether the reviews on a product you're looking at are legitimate.)

For more on how Amazon's marketplace works—and why its listings can sometimes be misleading—we recommend listening to this episode of the podcast Reply All, which has a fascinating dive into the site's third-party seller system.

[h/t The New York Times]

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5 Million Americans Will Cut Their Cable TV in 2018
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The trend of media consumers ditching their cable boxes for streaming subscriptions doesn't appear to be slowing down. As Fast Company reports, more than 5 million Americans will pull the plug on pay TV in 2018 alone.

That number comes from a recent survey of 3385 people conducted by the management consultancy cg42. The most common reasons cord-cutters gave for their decision all had to do with money: They cited annoying hidden fees, the waste of paying for channels they never watch, and the high price of cable bills in general.

The price of cable and satellite TV continues to skyrocket, costing customers $101 a month on average in 2017, up by 53 percent since 2007. For comparison, many streaming services charge subscribers the same amount in a year.

If cg42's projections are correct, 685 percent more consumers will cut the cord on cable this year compared to 2016. That loss comes out to about $5.5 billion for cable companies, with Comcast alone predicted to lose 7.2 percent of its customers and $1.6 billion in revenues.

If you're among the millions of American consumers fed up with cable, there are plenty of other options available. Consider signing up for one of these services if you're finally ready to make the switch.

[h/t Fast Company]

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