The Long Tail Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less

The Long Tail Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More The New York Times bestseller that introduced the business world to a future that s already here now in paperback with a new chapter about Long Tail Marketing and a new epilogueWinner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Best Business Book of the YearIn the most important business book since The Tipping Point Chris Anderson shows how the future of commerce and culture isn t in hits the high volume head of a traditional demand curve but in what used to be regarded as misses the endlessly long tail of that same curve

  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • The Long Tail Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More
  • Chris Anderson
  • English
  • 09 July 2016
  • 9781401309664

About the Author: Chris Anderson

wwwthelongtailcom Previously he was at The Economist where he served as US Business Editor Asia Business Editor; and Technology Editor He started The Economist's Internet coverage in 1994 and directed its initial web strategy Anderson's media career began at the two premier science journals Nature and Science where he served in several editorial capacities Prior to that he was a physics researcher at the Los Alamos National Lab

10 thoughts on “The Long Tail Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

  1. says:

    OK this book gets down graded because it is an excellent example of snake oil Kool Aid Let me explain I'm sure that some people love this book However Chris Anderson takes an excellent insight then extends and extrapolates this insight all out of shape drawing general conclusions about the whole economy that make absolutely no senseFirst consider the source Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired magazine If you've never read Wired it is a huge media cheerleader for the high technology IT industries For example the articles in Wired display consistent technological triumphalism like a discussion of the death of print books without providing supporting data or a complete pictureThe Wired ethos permeates this book Example Anderson says that he can point to hundreds of examples of companies that typify the Long Tail approach but spends the most page space on a select few Rhapsody Google etc Anderson also focuses on music and books for examples then makes generalizations about all business enterprises that have no economic basis for manufacturing or other non entertainment industries The chapter on aggregation seems to have the general message push the inventory problems down to third party suppliers yet this kind of strategy can lead to fundamental breakdowns in your ability to deliver unless you can scale like guess who? especially when you are talking about cars refrigerators etc that are real productsAfter 100 pages I could not take this book seriously It's a shame The insight of the Long Tail that you can make a business case for selling a wider diversity of products that aren't mega hits makes a lot of sense Web technology makes the selling of these products possible in a way that was not possible with brick and mortar stores However an understanding of how several successful businesses harnessed this idea is not directly generalizable to an entire economy Making unsupported claims about supposed new truths does not make these claims actually true

  2. says:

    Interesting Tidbits Three forces need to create the long tail 1 democratize production give average people the ability to create uality content movies music blogs 2 democratize distribution technology to aggregate all the content in a genre Netflix iTunes 3 Connect Supply and Demand filters to help people find the niche's they are interested in Google recommendations best seller lists One uarter of 's sales come from books outside its top 100000 titles Thus having a long tail adds 33% to your bottom line Ranking bestsellers across niche's genre's gives little value Filters to rank items must be applied within each niche to become relevant Goodreads could improve here As the number of niche's increases the ability of people to consume content within the genre increases This depends on the genre but it gives me hope that we can increase the number of people who read through Goodreads by creating better filters to connect readers of various niche's each year 200000 books are published in english and fewer than 20000 make it into a bookstore Only 2% of the books published in 2004 sold than 5000 copies and can be considered profitable There is another factor that determines why people create content other than money reputation Ebay has 60 million active users

  3. says:

    I disliked this book for two reasons I do not believe it represents any original ideas and it is like most business books horribly verbose Yawn zilla Yawn a saurus rex AvoidI take issue with the idea that this book even represents a body of original ideas The long tail concept is very cute but after reading it I can't stop thinking about the story of Sears Roebuck which Anderson writes about The notion of giving people access to a plethora of products that were heretofore unobtainable has been done before we're told The conclusion I drew was that and other businesses like it simply do the same thing for the world today that Sears Roebuck did back then so that there's still nothing new under the sun Anderson works backward arguing that Sears Roebuck represented an earlier similar long tail phenomenon The economics of abundance still seems to me to fall into the realm of orthodox economics of a kind Adam Smith would have well understood In competitive markets price approaches marginal cost Since bits are so cheap that we can take their cost to be negligible we can provide and varied kinds of bits Instead Anderson seems to start by assuming this is something totally new and has to develop an elaborate mythology around it so that he'll have something to write about for 300 pages Like the Black Swan this book could have been 50 pages and offered as an ebook satisfying Anderson's own long tail definition by not fitting the typical pattern of other boring business books

  4. says:

    I give upI can't take any of this horribly boring book My economics textbook keeps my interest better than this which is extremely sad I'm giving it two stars instead of one only because it had a few good tidbits of information regarding the evolution of the music and publishing industries there was some interesting stuff about things such as Myspace and Lulu that I hadn't heard before None the less this is another book about an idea that probably made a fascinating article in a magazine or a slightly interesting online blog but expanding it into a book took it beyond its attention captivating capabilities You could easily fit what the book addresses into a multi page article without loosing any of the integrity of the theory and without boring the reader to tears

  5. says:

    This book is an exploration of how niche markets are on the rise courtesy of better distribution And that's a gross summary Much discussion is given to the rise of the digital world and how it's expanded the marketplace so that there can be a Long Tail Distribution for you statistics nerds out there beyond the major hits you can continue to sell for example less popular items and lots of them There are markets within marketsA very conversationally written book by the editor of Wired it taught me a lot I didn't know about the digital age the blogosphere etc and it's a fun read for entrepreneursFor some of us it was reuired reading for a class but lemme tell you it beat the hell out of a coursepack

  6. says:

    I’ve been reading what I like to think of as some “business lite” books for school pulling me kicking screaming away from my beloved novels fictional worlds and imaginary characters Apparently there is little or no place for novels in business The good news is that these business lite books are by their very nature super readable and somewhat interesting They are also again I guess by their very nature the most repetitive books imaginable While I like novels and have even read some relatively challenging ones in my time I’m not some brainiac devotee of Ulysses and Gravity’s Rainbow and Infinite Jest never read any of ‘em so I don’t think I’m holding any of these books to some unattainable standard Plain and simple these books repeat themselves like children’s literature Like a nursery rhyme Reading Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail was like reading Goodnight Moon with the words “long” and “tail” replacing the words “goodnight” and “moon”Some theories on this a The Captains not to mention the Lieutenants Corporals Privates of Industry who read these books want to have the main points drilled and re drilled through their brains for anything to stick well enough to be integrated into their “elevator speeches”b These business lite books all begin as tiny magazine essays little newspaper columns or short speeches that are then fleshed out into books but never really have enough meat on their bones to fill out an entire book skeleton Gross?c The writers are badd The readers are stupide All of the above?Actually I think it’s sort of e except that the writers aren’t really that bad and the readers probably aren’t that stupid maybe a little on both scores but just a little Mostly I think there’s simply not enough substance in any of these books to fill an entire BOOK Essay definitely Pamphlet sure Book nopeThis is not to say that these books are not interesting Far from it The Long Tail was actually very interesting and helpful in putting a lot of ideas into a cohesive and compelling theory The central thesis is that in a world of easy digital distribution choices are so abundant that the so called niches are a source of incredible growth I can write this from memory so maybe having the thesis drilled into my brain over and over was in fact useful With and iTunes and Netflix Anderson LOVES those guys scarcity of shelf space is no longer an issue so the online stores can stock everything and be able to sell a wider array of products to fewer people and still make money Anyway I was fascinated by the combination of not just the economic and technological but also the cultural analysis Or at least the economic and technological analyses opened lots of doors to further cultural analysesThomas Friedman’s Hot Flat and Crowded worked sort of the same way – it felt particularly cobbled together from bits and pieces of pre existing columns but still had some thought provoking moments Those thought provoking moments however were buried beneath a mountain of simplistic analysis and insanely repetitive writing After the first 100 pages you can read one out of every four paragraphs and than follow the arguments If you think Anderson’s writing is repetitive Friedman’s has the uadruple whammy of being doubly repetitive AND doubly simplistic The Long Tail Goodnight Moon Hot Flat and Crowded Where's Spot? And if Hot Flat and Crowded is like Where's Spot? then Larry Weber’s Marketing to the Social Web is like a finger painting on the fridge It almost has those huge cardboard pages that tiny chubby fingers can turn As with the others the ideas it contains are not bad it’s just a book that should have been a 10 page paper It probably WAS at some point Why it needed to be torturously extended over 272 pages no one will ever know Oh wait I might’ve just figured it out maybe it has something to do with selling a 272 page hardback book on for 1647 and making a whole lot moolah from it than a 10 page paper that you can maybe post on your blog or hand out to your friends at dinner parties or somethingSo I get it Larry Weber; I understand Thomas Friedman; I see you Chris Anderson But it's almost enough to make a reader feel crazy Every page is like “didn’t I just read this?” and then sometimes you’re like “I AM READING A SENTENCE COPIED VERBATIM FROM THREE PARAGRAPHS AGO”In conclusion The Long Tail is by far the least annoying of the three and it is absolutely worth reading Hot Flat and Crowded – if you ever read Friedman’s columns in the Times skip it; if you don’t ever read those columns then maybe skim the book Marketing to the Social WebI think you could probably get the salient stuff from just about any blog Including this one if you care to ask meMarketing Spot marketing

  7. says:

    I heard a clip on this book on NPR back in August and have had wanted to read this book for sometime When I first heard about this book we were having a conflict with one of our e commerce customers There SKU base kept growing and my boss kept saying they did not control their inventory Well here is proof positive that they did know what they were doing The book is written by an editor of Wired magazine The basic premise is that with infinite variety and reduced and in many cases zero distribution costs the non hits are where the future of profitability in business Basically you need low distributionproduction costs democratize production high amount of content democratize distribution – aggregators like and iTunes and filters to support decision making Some good uotes Walmarts shelves are a display case a mile wide and twenty four inches deep At first glance that may look like everything but in a world that’s actually a mile wide and a mile deep a veneer of variety just isn’t enough” Why isn’t WKRP in Cincinnati out on DVD – licensing for all the classic rock that was fundamental to the TV show that can not be license for the DVD Why is it so hard to find new releases on Netflicks Because the Studios have a sliding scale on DVD prices that actually decrease by MONTH So 20 in the first two months and sliding out to 10 by 18 months Statistics – Average blockbuster store has 3K DVDs while NetFlicks has 60K Average Borders has 100K books while has 37M books Walmart has 3500 CDs or 55K songs and Rhapsody has 15M songs Internet retail is about 5% of American retail spending but growing 25% per year Another good point with options you have a better chance to be satisfied and also a better chance to be very unsatisfied More options does mean crap but also gems Netflicks allows people who do not live in a university town to see foreign and independent films

  8. says:

    I’ve read this book many years ago and revisited it now in 2018 as a way to see how many or little things have changed This is a book written when uote “YouTube was a 6 months old website” and “Netflix will some day go into streaming rather than sending movies on DVDs” Definitely worth reading on the long tail theory which absolutely applies to today’s market and products Heck we even see a long tail of products now apps

  9. says:

    The book is amazing it is just outdated written 12 years ago before Facebook twitter youtube spotify and netflixWe are basically living now what he described in the book as what might happen with the development of the long tail

  10. says:

    one of the most important guides to the dotcom econ although after a while you might get tired of being told of the same thing over and over again esp Wired readers might find it annoying of being told what they've discovered a long time ago each of the stories page after page are another nail on the coffin and most of us down here in ANALOG INDONESIA with rolling blackouts wiping out your lifetime of data in seconds can just dream away a must read for non practitioners and a good confirmation for us who has an online bookstore But then in a fully digital life that's analyzed here scarcity is a thing in the past While scarcity is the center of economy as a discipline So what would happen if scarcity is irrelevant? THERE are also two bonus revelations DEATH OF DEWEY the decimal system used by libraries to list store their books collections NOW we just type any subjectauthorbooktitle like GOODREADS here and we'll find the book even tho' we don't even know it a title exists yet Not only it renders Dewey obsolete it will also EXPAND the universe of subject selections of the extremely provincial and limited Dewey Dewey didn't list Islam and Hindu as part of its Religion subject ignorant to the fact that a large part of earth's population subscribe to these two religions More choices ARE GOOD not paralyzing as long as we got good selections of choices and assistance on getting these good recommendations see the MIT lady's column for example after the digital world offer choices for couples the wedding planner profession grows where availability and convenience eual sales DOUBLE EFFECT of digital search shorten search increase salesgrow marketAnother phenomenon CA presents is democratization of production tools resulting in an explosion of works plus distribution channels subcultures microcultures grow the mass gets less massified is this risking nations' disintegration? CA's optimistic that these are only extending our network's power strengthens the bonds between us and our friends sharing musiccontent even tho' we do egocasting pursuit of individual personal taste enabled by TiVo iPods there's no statistics to back this optimism tho' at least mainstream TV producers daily editors should learn fast; The Audience is the Network summarized JibJab's guru Spiradellis hence the phenomena of YouTubeGoogle Video also blogger v old school journalism see Technorati's blog prominence chart pg 187 if you don't have time to read the whole book beware of the Indonesian version they delete portions of the book maybe because they can't find the perfect translation read the 9 rules of Long Tail towards the end of the book

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