Howard Olsen's Reviews > The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
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's review
Jan 02, 2009

really liked it

This is one of the best distillations of the trends in business and culture that the Internet has given rise to in the last 15 years. Anderson's basic thesis is that the instantaneous transmission of ideas and thoughts that the Internet allows has given rise to powerful niche cultures that are becoming as lucrative and pervasive as that which we would call mainstream culture. Music and books have been the most obvious beneficiaries of this, but any culture or product can find an audience on the Internet, under Anderson's reasoning.

The "Long Tail" itself refers to the graphic representation of the sales chart for companies like Amazon, Rhapsody, and Apple/I-tunes. While mainstream works (the Head) still sell in abundance, the niche works (the Tail) - while sold in smaller and smaller quantities - still create enough sales to be a significant source of revenue. Such patterns are difficult to sustain in a typical retail shop, with its limited space; but with the Internet, shelf space is not a problem.

This is a great book to read if you want a lot of knowledge in a short period of time. Anderson writes well. His enthusiasm is infectious. His thesis is fascinating.

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