The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More is a book by Chris Anderson, Editor in chief of Wired magazine. The book was initially. This title is not currently available for download. Share. Kindle App Ad. Look inside this book. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less . download The Longer Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand by Chris Anderson (ISBN: ) from site's Book Store.
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The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More [Chris Winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Best Business Book of the Year In the most . This book has benefited from the help and collaboration of literally thousands vard Business School, Anita Elberse's work on the Long Tail of Netflix and DVDs . The Long Tail book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The New York Times bestseller that introduced the business world to.
But as egalitarian as Wal-Mart may seem, it is actually extraordinarily elitist.
Wal-Mart must sell at least , copies of a CD to cover its retail overhead and make a sufficient profit; less than 1 percent of CDs do that kind of volume. What about the 60, people who would like to download the latest Fountains of Wayne or Crystal Method album, or any other nonmainstream fare? They have to go somewhere else. Bookstores, the megaplex, radio, and network TV can be equally demanding. We equate mass market with quality and demand, when in fact it often just represents familiarity, savvy advertising, and broad if somewhat shallow appeal.
What do we really want? We're only just discovering, but it clearly starts with more.
To get a sense of our true taste, unfiltered by the economics of scarcity, look at Rhapsody, a subscription-based streaming music service owned by RealNetworks that currently offers more than , tracks.
Chart Rhapsody's monthly statistics and you get a "power law" demand curve that looks much like any record store's, with huge appeal for the top tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40, tracks, which is about the amount of the fluid inventory the albums carried that will eventually be sold of the average real-world record store.
Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero—either they don't carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store. The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody's top , tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top ,, top ,, and top , As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it's just a few people a month, somewhere in the country.
You can find everything out there on the Long Tail. There's the back catalog, older albums still fondly remembered by longtime fans or rediscovered by new ones. There are live tracks, B-sides, remixes, even gasp covers. There are niches by the thousands, genre within genre within genre: Imagine an entire Tower Records devoted to '80s hair bands or ambient dub.
There are foreign bands, once priced out of reach in the Import aisle, and obscure bands on even more obscure labels, many of which don't have the distribution clout to get into Tower at all.
Oh sure, there's also a lot of crap. But there's a lot of crap hiding between the radio tracks on hit albums, too. People have to skip over it on CDs, but they can more easily avoid it online, since the collaborative filters typically won't steer you to it. What's really amazing about the Long Tail is the sheer size of it. Combine enough nonhits on the Long Tail and you've got a market bigger than the hits. Take books: Yet more than half of site's book sales come from outside its top , titles.
Consider the implication: If the site statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are see Anatomy of the Long Tail. In other words, the potential book market may be twice as big as it appears to be, if only we can get over the economics of scarcity. Venture capitalist and former music industry consultant Kevin Laws puts it this way: The same is true for all other aspects of the entertainment business, to one degree or another.
Just compare online and offline businesses: The average Blockbuster carries fewer than 3, DVDs. Yet a fifth of Netflix rentals are outside its top 3, titles.
Rhapsody streams more songs each month beyond its top 10, than it does its top 10, In each case, the market that lies outside the reach of the physical retailer is big and getting bigger.
When you think about it, most successful businesses on the Internet are about aggregating the Long Tail in one way or another. Google, for instance, makes most of its money off small advertisers the long tail of advertising , and site is mostly tail as well—niche and one-off products.
By overcoming the limitations of geography and scale, just as Rhapsody and site have, Google and site have discovered new markets and expanded existing ones.
This is the power of the Long Tail. The companies at the vanguard of it are showing the way with three big lessons. Call them the new rules for the new entertainment economy. If you love documentaries, Blockbuster is not for you.
Nor is any other video store—there are too many documentaries, and they sell too poorly to justify stocking more than a few dozen of them on physical shelves. Instead, you'll want to join Netflix, which offers more than a thousand documentaries—because it can. Such profligacy is giving a boost to the documentary business; last year, Netflix accounted for half of all US rental revenue for Capturing the Friedmans , a documentary about a family destroyed by allegations of pedophilia.
Hastings offered to handle the manufacturing and distribution if PBS would make it available as a Netflix exclusive. Now Daughter From Danang consistently ranks in the top 15 on Netflix documentary charts.
That amounts to a market of tens of thousands of documentary renters that did not otherwise exist. There are any number of equally attractive genres and subgenres neglected by the traditional DVD channels: These underserved markets make up a big chunk of Netflix rentals.
Bollywood alone accounts for nearly , rentals each month. The availability of offbeat content drives new customers to Netflix—and anything that cuts the cost of customer acquisition is gold for a subscription business.
Thus the company's first lesson: Embrace niches. Netflix has made a good business out of what's unprofitable fare in movie theaters and video rental shops because it can aggregate dispersed audiences.
It doesn't matter if the several thousand people who rent Doctor Who episodes each month are in one city or spread, one per town, across the country—the economics are the same to Netflix. It has, in short, broken the tyranny of physical space. What matters is not where customers are, or even how many of them are seeking a particular title, but only that some number of them exist, anywhere.
As a result, almost anything is worth offering on the off chance it will find a downloader. This is the opposite of the way the entertainment industry now thinks. Today, the decision about whether or when to release an old film on DVD is based on estimates of demand, availability of extras such as commentary and additional material, and marketing opportunities such as anniversaries, awards, and generational windows Disney briefly rereleases its classics every 10 years or so as a new wave of kids come of age.
It's a high bar, which is why only a fraction of movies ever made are available on DVD. That model may make sense for the true classics, but it's way too much fuss for everything else. The Long Tail approach, by contrast, is to simply dump huge chunks of the archive onto bare-bones DVDs, without any extras or marketing. Call it the Silver Series and charge half the price. Same for independent films. This year, nearly 6, movies were submitted to the Sundance Film Festival.
Of those, were accepted, and just two dozen have been picked up for distribution; to see the others, you had to be there. In a Long Tail economy, it's more expensive to evaluate than to release. Just do it! The same is true for the music industry. It should be securing the rights to release all the titles in all the back catalogs as quickly as it can—thoughtlessly, automatically, and at industrial scale.
This is one of those rare moments where the world needs more lawyers, not fewer. So too for videogames. Retro gaming, including simulators of classic game consoles that run on modern PCs, is a growing phenomenon driven by the nostalgia of the first joystick generation.
Game publishers could release every title as a cent download three years after its release—no support, no guarantees, no packaging. All this, of course, applies equally to books. Already, we're seeing a blurring of the line between in and out of print. site and other networks of used booksellers have made it almost as easy to find and download a second-hand book as it is a new one. By divorcing bookselling from geography, these networks create a liquid market at low volume, dramatically increasing both their own business and the overall demand for used books.
Combine that with the rapidly dropping costs of print-on-demand technologies and it's clear why any book should always be available. Indeed, it is a fair bet that children today will grow up never knowing the meaning of out of print. Thanks to the success of Apple's iTunes, we now have a standard price for a downloaded track: But is it the right one? Ask the labels and they'll tell you it's too low: Even though 99 cents per track works out to about the same price as a CD, most consumers just download a track or two from an album online, rather than the full CD.
In effect, online music has seen a return to the singles-driven business of the s.
Ask consumers, on the other hand, and they'll tell you that 99 cents is too high. It is, for starters, 99 cents more than Kazaa. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Long Tail , please sign up.
Max Tremaine It is breathtaking. Great support for the argument that the next generation of retail will differentiate themselves by capturing the long tail. See 2 questions about The Long Tail…. Lists with This Book.
Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. 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 sense. First, 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 OK, this book gets down-graded because it is an excellent example of snake oil.
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 picture. The Wired ethos permeates this book.
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: site, 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?
site - especially when you are talking about cars, refrigerators, etc. After 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. View all 3 comments. Interesting Tidbits - Three forces need to create the long tail: Connect Supply and Demand: T Interesting Tidbits - Three forces need to create the long tail: Filters to rank items must be applied within each niche to become relevant.
Goodreads could improve here. 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. View 1 comment.
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-a-saurus rex. I 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 I disliked this book for two reasons: 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 site 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 more and more 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 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. View 2 comments. I give up I can't take any more 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 m I give up 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. 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 markets. A very conversationally written book, by the editor of Wire This book is an exploration of how niche markets are on the rise courtesy of better distribution. A 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 entrepreneurs. For some of us it was required reading for a class, but lemme tell you, it beat the hell out of a coursepack! Feb 18, Martin rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. Plain and simple: Like a nursery rhyme. Essay, definitely.
Pamphlet, sure. Book, nope. This is not to say that these books are not interesting. The term long tail has gained popularity as describing the retailing strategy of selling a large number of different items which each sell in relatively small quantities, usually in addition to selling large quantities of a small number of popular items.
Chris Anderson popularized the concept in an October Wired magazine article, in which he mentioned site. Anderson found himself blowing a pop quiz in the offices of a digital jukebox company called Ecast.
The Ecast chief executive said that the figure was 98 percent. Anderson had hit on something. Remove the limitations of bricks-and-mortar retailers — like scarce shelf space, which leads companies to concentrate on the most popular products — and the infrequent sellers or undistributed merchandise suddenly start to acquire more value. This is not a new thought. The atomization of culture has been going on for years.