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

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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  27,716 ratings  ·  719 reviews
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
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Paperback, Revised, Updated, 288 pages
Published July 8th 2008 by Hachette Books (first published 2006)
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Max Tremaine It is breathtaking. Great support for the argument that the next generation of retail will differentiate themselves by capturing the long tail.

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Scott
Oct 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Otis Chandler
Oct 17, 2006 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, business
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
Jake Losh
Sep 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sarah
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
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Martin
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010books
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 read s ...more
Brooks
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Pawel
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I’ve read this book many years ago and revisited it now in 2018 as a way to see how many or little things have changed.

This is a book written when - quote - “YouTube was a 6 months old website”, and “Netflix will some day go into streaming rather than sending movies on DVDs”.

Definitely worth reading on the long tail theory which absolutely applies to today’s market and products. Heck we even see a long tail of products now (apps)!
Teodora Todorova
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, business
The book is amazing, it is just outdated, written 12 years ago, before Facebook, twitter, youtube, spotify and netflix.
We are basically living now what he described in the book as what might happen with the development of the long tail.
Inggita
Aug 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
one of the most important guides to the dotcom econ - although after a while you might get tired of being told of the same thing over and over again (esp Wired readers might find it annoying of being told what they've discovered a long time ago) each of the stories page after page are another nail on the coffin - and most of us down here in ANALOG INDONESIA with rolling blackouts (wiping out your lifetime of data in seconds) can just dream away. a must-read for non-practitioners, and a good conf ...more
Daniel Solera
Apr 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Kip
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Nam KK
Jan 17, 2020 rated it liked it
We discussed the phenomenon in our MBA classroom for Long Tail marking an important trend in consumer behavior/consumption. Thanks to the huge cost reduction from technology improvement, from new business model (network/sharing economy), fat tail products could reach farther to its potential customers. The book, however, delivers in a messy and repeated structure. What was delivered in 250 pages could easily done in an half without losing its sharpness and accuracy.
Dane Cobain
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a bit of a weird read because it was written far enough ago now that a bunch of its references and case studies are out of date. For example, it was talking about Blockbuster and Napster, which are hardly relevant in 2020.

But still, the ideas in this book are super important and have influenced a whole generation of businessmen and marketers, and so even though bits of it felt out of date, it was still very much worth reading. True, if you’re already familiar with the overall conce
...more
Aman Vig
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Such biz. books, where the author is laying out a pattern, idea or a concept, are interesting when those ideas are exemplified i.e. the cases with which the author's trying to prove their point. Those are the most interesting patches for me, though at times things just feel repetitive.
Nick
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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

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Manas Saloi
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
It explains everything that we are seeing now. Online Businesses focusing on the long tail have an advantage over their traditional counterparts. Niches are winning and the narrative is with the user instead of the business owners.
Karl Niebuhr
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book explains how to take advantage of the Internet by offering a long tail i.e. a great variety of products. This is essentially why platforms like Amazon are so profitable. https://karlbooklover.com/the-long-ta... ...more
Phil Simon
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Stephen Smotherman
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
A great book for every online reseller to read.
Joel Goldman
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Terrific explanation of the long tail in marketing. Explained why there will always be room for good self-published authors.
Cara
Dec 12, 2013 rated it liked it
This book takes an interesting idea and stretches it out way too long, no pun intended. This could have easily been a magazine article.
Monica Willyard Moen
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
This should be required reading for anyone who wants to do business online. It's that important.
Tathagat Varma
Though I read the book only recently, and lot of stuff is dated, most of his ideas hold pretty solid - in a way, that is the long tail of his ideas - they continue to be as relevant as before.
ofits
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ayman
This is an amazing book by the 2005 Times top 100 and Editor of Wired magazine is 10 years old, however, it was a prophetic account of how the new business models of the information age are changing human society.
1- In the old model we were limited by geography in everything from local interests to products we consume, massive supply chains of the 20th century replaced that with mass production and national/global interests and products
2- supply chain models suffered a physical constraints of s
...more
Boni Aditya
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it
If there is no internet then there is no Long Tail - That could have summed up the book - The book contains various examples - all too well versed across the Internet eco system - The Itunes - The Ebay - The Amazon - The Google for Ads - The Netflix and yada yada yada....

This might be coming out only because I have seen the same examples referred to over and over again in a book that I have recently consumed "Free: The radical price of everything" where he uses the same examples. One striking ex
...more
Isabella Roland
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gives you a new way to think about the way we create products. Consumers want hyper specific content. Being a generalist is not a good idea when creating products. Selling your product to everyone is not the goal. "Everyone" is not your market. You need an ideal customer in mind. Bottlenecks like the cost to get into a business are going away. For example: anyone can not sell t-shirts on Amazon with no overhead. In the past I would have had to get a way to print the shirts, acquire the ...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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