The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

Chris Anderson

Language: English

Pages: 267

ISBN: 1401309666

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

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 epilogue. Winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Best Business Book of the Year In 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. "It belongs on the shelf between The Tipping Point and Freakonomics."
--Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix "Anderson's insights . . . continue to influence Google's strategic thinking in a profound way." --Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google "Anyone who cares about media . . . must read this book." --Rob Glaser, CEO, RealNetworks













sales of products that aren’t available in traditional, physical retail stores at all. These infinite-shelf-space businesses have effectively learned a les- son in new math: A very, very big number (the products in the Tail) multiplied by a relatively small number (the sales of each) is still equal to a very, very big number. And, again, that very, very big number is only getting bigger. What’s more, these millions of fringe sales are an efficient, cost- effective business. With no shelf

world—and a surprisingly large number of them do. Talent is not uni- versal, but it’s widely spread: Give enough people the capacity to cre- ate, and inevitably gems will emerge. The result is that the available universe of content is now growing faster than ever. This is what extends the tail to the right, increasing the population of available goods manyfold. In music, for instance, the number of new albums released grew a phenomenal 36 percent in 2005, to 60,000 titles (up from 44,000

term) account for the low part at the right. Because all powerlaws tend to look alike when plotted like this, it’s often useful to put them on a scale that shows their differences more clearly. One way to do that is to graph them on a logarithmic scale, where each division is a factor of 10 larger than the one that came be- fore it: 10, 100, 1,000, and so on. (Common examples of logarithmic scales are the Richter scale of earthquakes and the decibel scale of sound volume.) When you plot a

Moore’s law (the observation that computer price/performance doubles every eighteen months) to its equivalents in storage and bandwidth, this is a problem. It’s hard to overstate how fundamental to economics the notion is that you can’t have it all for free—the entire discipline is oriented around studying trade-offs and how they’re made. Adam Smith, for in- stance, created modern economics by considering the trade-off be- tween time, or convenience, and money. He discussed how a person

have similar abundance laws working in storage and band- width and virtually everything else digital. Outside of technology, the T H E L O N G T A I L | 1 4 5 green revolution brought abundance to much of agriculture (so now, to prop up prices, we pay farmers not to plant their crops). And what is the motive force behind China and India’s rise if not abundant labor, allowing them to, in a sense, waste people? Even ideas can on some level be considered abundant, because they can propagate

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