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The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand Hardcover – 6 Jul 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 6 Jul 2006
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Business Books; First edition First Printing edition (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184413850X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844138500
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 554,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Chris Anderson's timing with the 'Long Tail' concept is absolutely perfect. The combination of Internet penetration with the expansion of global online markets has opened up opportunities that few could have ever imagined. Anderson's insights with the Long Tail continues to influence Google's strategic thinking in a profound way. I carry the article with me everywhere.' Eric Schmidt, CEO Google. 'A terrifically impressive analysis. It captured the forces underlying this business perfectly.' Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon"

Book Description

The new economics of culture and commerce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book derives its name from the demand curve that is typical of many sales in the physical world of retailing. Online, the tail of the curve can be pretty long and Chris Anderson explores the significance of this as it relates to the rise of e-tailing (online retail). For anyone contemplating selling online or has an interest in the economics of ecommerce, then this is an important book.

Chris Anderson writes with great authority - as you would expect from the editor-in-chief of wired - and quickly engages the reader with his observations and analysis of online retailing and its comparisons with the physical world. He quickly explains the concepts of the 'long tail' economics before delving into some typical examples, many of which are drawn from the music and entertainment industries, although Amazon features prominately as one would expect.

We're treated to a short history of the The Long Tail, before moving on to the new markets being created by the online 'aggregators'. With so much choice online, Chris explains the growing importance of those products and services who help us select and filter - a new breed of digerati arising from the blogosphere!

Overall, an excellent read that will get you thinking. You'll probably find yourself going back over several chapters to put them into context, as some of the arguments are quite subtle. A great observation of online culture. Will iTunes really kill the radio star? The world is changing - find out why.

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Format: Paperback
When you want to eat ice cream outside your home, do you go to a store that offers only chocolate and vanilla . . . or do you go where there are many more choices? Most people will do the latter. That's the basic point of this book. If you're satisfied with knowing that point, you don't need to read the book. Instead, you could settle for Mr. Anderson's article in the October 2004 issue of Wired.

But if you are like the growing legions of people who enjoy knowing more about the quirks of micro-economics (such as those who were intrigued by The Tipping Point, Freakonomics and Fooled by Randomness), The Long Tail will provide much entertainment.

Let me explain what a long tail is. If you plot the popularity of various products (say, books on Amazon) with the most popular products at the left, the left part of the curve will be very vertical (the head) and there will be a long list of items to the right that will have relatively few sales (the tail). Mr. Anderson's point is that as it becomes economically viable to produce and distribute more low-volume products (such as print-on-demand books and e-books), there will be more items available to purchase at any outlet . . . and the length the tail to the right will grow. As more outlets can afford to make these items available, the thickness of the tail will also grow.

A physical store will only distribute a small percentage of the items, stopping where the offering no longer adds to its targeted rate of profits. An on-line store will have far more items (such as Amazon), appeal to more customers and sell lots of its volume in relatively unpopular items. The author estimates that 25% of Amazon's book sales volume, for instance, comes from outside the 100,000 top selling books.

Here's where Mr.
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Format: Paperback
Note: The review that follows is of the revised and updated edition of a book that was first published in 2006. It offers essentially the same information and insights except that Anderson has added a new chapter on marketing, one in which he explains "how to sell where `selling' doesn't work." More about this chapter later.

In the October 2004 issue of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson published an article in which he shared these observations: "(1) the tail of available variety is far longer than we realize; (2) it's now within reach economically; (3) all those niches, when aggregated, can make up a significant market - seemed indisputable, especially backed up with heretofore unseen data." That is even truer today than it was when The Long Tail was first published years ago. The era that Anderson characterizes as "a market of multitudes" continues to grow in terms of both its nature and extent. In this book, Anderson takes his reader on a guided tour of this market as he explains what the probable impact the new market will have and what will be required to prosper in it.

According to Anderson, those who read the article saw the Long Tail everywhere, from politics to public relations, and from sheet music to college sports. "What people intuitively grasped was that new efficiencies in distribution, manufacturing, and marketing were changing the definition of what was commercially viable across the board. The best way to describe these forces is that they are turning unprofitable customers, products, and markets into profitable ones." Therefore, the story of the Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance: "what happens when the bottlenecks that stand between supply and demand in our culture start to disappear and everything becomes available to everyone.
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