Thursday, August 10, 2006

Book: The Long Tail

I was at Barnes & Noble with Anita the other evening and we both picked up copies of Chris Anderson's The Long Tail: Why The Future of Business is Selling Less of More.

If you make a graph of stuff being sold along the horizontal axis, and the number of sold items on the vertical, you'll notice the most popular are along the left-hand side. The Hits. The rest, until recently were generally ignored as unsellable, and brick & mortar places with limited shelf space would keep only left-side stuff on inventory. The stuff on the right is "the long tail," full of non-mainstream, amateur, up-and-coming, and sometimes crap that, certainly without attention, will never be a hit. That has changed with online webstores like Amazon.com, and eBay, where the shear number of choices, each not terribly lucrative, adds up to quite a lot.

It's a really good book. It seems the true money to be made is in harnessing niches, not in making content for them. (The book does mention that often creators make things for reputation, not for money) Though it does provide, probably for the first time in history, a way for a niche player to get out there, and if viral enough (through blogs and e-mail), attract the attention of an entity that can push it to the left.

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posted by Brian at 2:48 PM

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