The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
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The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  13,103 ratings  ·  536 reviews
What happens when the bottlenecks that stand between supply and demand in our culture go away and everything becomes available to everyone?

"The Long Tail" is a powerful new force in our economy: the rise of the niche. As the cost of reaching consumers drops dramatically, our markets are shifting from a one-size-fits-all model of mass appeal to one of unlimited variety for...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published 2006)
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Otis Chandler
Interesting Tidbits
- Three forces need to create the long tail:
1. democratize production: give average people the ability to create quality content (movies, music, blogs)
2. democratize distribution: technology to aggregate *all* the content in a genre (Amazon, 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 quarter of Amazon's sales come from books outside its top 100,000 titles. T...more
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...more
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) d...more
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...more
Lilly G
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...more
Jake Losh
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. Avoid.

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...more
Bookmarks Magazine

In The Long Tail, Chris Anderson offers a visionary look at the future of business and common culture. The long-tail phenomenon, he argues, will "re-shape our understanding of what people actually want to watch" (or read, etc.). While Anderson presents a fascinating idea backed by thoughtful (if repetitive) analysis, many critics questioned just how greatly the niche market will rework our common popular culture. Anderson convinced most reviewers in his discussion of Internet media sales, but hi

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 re...more
Chris Anderson escribió en 2004 un fantástico artículo en titulado The long tail. Sobre ese artículo construyó un blog,, que luego convirtió en libro. Las premisas del autor son tres:
1.- Con inventarios digitales podemos alcanzar una oferta casi infinita.
2.- Cuando a los compradores se les da oferta infinita, su demanda se prolonga mucho más allá de los éxitos o bestsellers.
3.- La suma de todas las ventas de los productos menos demandados es un porcentaje muy important...more
Apr 11, 2008 Kip rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone with internet experience
One of the most interesting non-fiction books I've ever read. Sort of a combination of economics, technology, and culture. Anderson presents compelling arguments and data to identify, examine and extrapolate on a clear inflection point in the macro environment today. Tools of production are more readily available (think desktop publishing, blogging, and digital video), distribution is cheaper and more widely available (think Netflix, iTunes or Amazon v bricks-n-mortar), and a wide range of recom...more
Lauren Albert
The book, and its main idea of the Long Tail, has seriously affected the way I see many industries. When the digital book world started really taking off, after Amazon jumped in, I found myself referring to it in discussions of the future of the publishing industry. The internet has allowed businesses to reach consumers (and for consumers to reach businesses) who fall out of the majority--who "live" in the long tail. An important book in helping understand the effect the internet has had on reta...more
I'm rounding up here. It's makes great points about the long tail and how Internet retailing changes the market because it doesn't have to worry about scarcity and people will search beyond the blockbuster to buy and get things.

It's small at 200 pages but still fills a bit fluffed out. My biggest problem was how the author handled criticism. He either handwaved it away, thought it was still good, or simply said that better filters and post-filters were needed. For examples of successful music ac...more
Kirill Zyatkov
Крис Андерсон решил вытянуть из хорошей журнальной статьи книгу, но при этом не добавив ничего существенного, что стоило бы такого объёма. Автор прослеживает историю о том, как по мере уменьшения логистических затрат росло количество предоставляемых товаров, из-за которого увеличивался и разброс потребительского выбора. С хитовых позиций он стал растекаться по длинному хвосту (см. Long-tailed distribution).

Потребитель, с популярных товаров, которые предоставляли классические методы дистрибуции...more
Phil Simon
Superb. Incredibly well-written and researched. Anderson is one of my favorite authors. This is one of the most important business books written in years. Read it...then read it again.
Should have read it a long time ago. Does a good job popularizing concepts later/also discussed by Benkler, Weinberger, Kelly, and Shirky.
Joel Goldman
Terrific explanation of the long tail in marketing. Explained why there will always be room for good self-published authors.
Marko Savić
Google was influenced by the theory presented in this book. Originally the Author Chris Anderson presented it as a article in the magazine Wired, as Editor in Chief. And Google was back then in 2001 "just" the fastest growing search engine on the planet. For the record, Google borrowed the business model that was pioneered by Bill Gross few years earlier. And Google has built the most affective Long Tail advertising machine the world has ever seen. And if only because of that this book is worth...more

The Internet has ended the economics of scarcity by cheaply enabling the distribution and acquisition of niche items.


The Wired article, and then just Chapter 15: The long tail of marketing from this book.

Wish Anderson talked about differentiating between long tail-industries and non-long tail-industries, and how to boost long tails when there should be one but there isn't. Also, what a world would be like in which everything is long tail.


Nicolas Ward
This is one of those books that I was very much aware of (thanks to the original Wired article in this case), but never got around to reading. I felt that I should largely because I regularly tossed about the core terminology (that is, long tail or Zipfian distributions) when talking about trends in products, software, Internet culture, and so on.

Overall, I think the book does a great job of introducing its core concept, but then wanders near the end, I think because Anderson was trying to (some...more
Interesting theory, but the book is incredibly repetitive. The entire thing is made up of variations on the same handful of examples with a sprinkling of interesting insights thrown in for good measure. So this theory was originally discussed/explained in an article in Wired Magazine? That might have been sufficient. Not sure there was enough new material or even supporting "research" to justify a whole book. Even a 225 page book.

Best parts were when the author expands beyond his gushing over R...more
An excellent book on how the internet makes it possible for businesses to make money selling small quantities of a large number of items. This is especially true of digital products (iTunes, NetFlix, audiobooksellers), but applies also to products that can be ordered at short notice (Amazon), products that can be PRODUCED at short notice (Print-on-Demand) and products that are being sold in quantities as little as ONE (eBay).

One of the most compelling arguments Anderson uses is that on any given...more
David A.
I'm a fan of Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail--even though, to my knowledge, he's never gotten a penny of my money. I read occasional issues of Wired magazine, where he's editor in chief, when I see it on the magazine rack in our office library. I downloaded his super-interesting Free as an ebook when he was giving it away, for free. And while I've been talking with coworkers and other publishing industry people for years about Anderson's ideas in The Long Tail (c. 2006), I didn't actuall...more
Recommended by John Sutherland in _How Literature Works_ as providing a solution for dealing with information overload. I was a little surprised to find myself reading a book about marketing but the combination of an interesting concept and light tone (plus many many hours of subway riding) kept me reading through to the last page. Said interesting concept got much less interesting as the book wore on and I found myself reading more to see where Anderson would finally slip up and say, 'Okay, I a...more
Ron Arden
I finally got to read this great book. Chris Anderson analyzes the economics behind a power law distribution curve, or Pareto distribution, as it applies to business. The crux is that many businesses are using the Internet to sell small quantities of niche products to many customers, rather than only selling large quantities of popular products. Anderson shows how we are becoming consumers of a great variety of products and how companies like Amazon, eBay and online versions of brick and mortar...more
Daniel Solera
Chris Anderson's book can be summarized by saying that the consumer retail market these days is driven more by a bottom-up movement (what he calls "post-filters") than by top-down factors ("pre-filters"). The idea can also be synthesized by saying that "hits" are no longer as big as they once were because they now compete with individuals with louder voices.

For example, during its most popular seasons, "I Love Lucy" was watched by 70 percent of households with televisions. That kind of homogeniz...more
This was a great read, full of insights about the world of e-commerce and how our economy is continually changing. Chris Anderon's Long Tail comes from plotting a graph of Popularity vs. Products. His basic argument is that all those tiny niche markets at the end of the long tail collectively comprise more sales than the few blockbusters or hits at the 'head' of the graph.

He uses iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, and a host of other examples to illustrate his point, and it's a convincing one. After read...more
The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
Chris Anderson

According to Anderson, those who read this book grasp that was new efficiencies in distribution, manufacturing, and marketing are 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 abund...more
I’m not sure what prompted me to buy this book – I think I may have read a review of it on The Rage Diaries or Mike’s Weblog. It was a quick and interesting read – although I did feel that it was essentially a long magazine article that had been drawn out into a book. The book discusses a new business model that is emerging that is extremely different than the model of businesses that survive by focusing on the “hits” of whatever industry they serve, those things that are most popular with the l...more
Amy Strickland
This book is a graphic novel adaptation of Chris Anderson's already acclaimed business book, The Long Tail. The book carefully explains the concept of the long tail, breaking down the history and projecting the future of commerce on the web. Anderson does a great job explaining the benefit and challenge to the consumer, the aggregator, and the producer.

Chris Anderson does not promise a get-rich-quick future for content producers, but instead reveals the rise in opportunity for grass-roots hits....more
I was very excited to read this book. It's a neat idea that I felt captures the 'silver lining' to online retail. I saw it as leveling the playing field between the big guys and the little guys.

In a nutshell, Anderson says that, thanks to the Internet, web-based businesses can hold their own against big box retailers. Since big box retailers have a limited amount of shelf space they can't carry everything. So they only carry a few things they can sell a lot of. Whereas online shops have no physi...more
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Chris Anderson was named in April 2007 to the "Time 100," the newsmagazine's list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world. He is Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, a position he took in 2001, and he has led the magazine to six National Magazine Award nominations, winning the prestigious top prize for General Excellence in 2005 and 2007. He is the aut...more
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“as Joe Kraue, CEA of JotSpot ... puts it, "Up until now, the focus has been on dozens of markets of millions, instead of millions of markets of dozens.” 3 likes
“When the tools of production are available to everyone, everyone becomes a producer.” 0 likes
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