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The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More | [Chris Anderson]

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

Our world is being transformed by the Internet and the near limitless choice that it provides to consumers; tomorrow's markets belong to those who can take advantage of this. The Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance, an entirely new model for business that is just starting to show its power as unlimited selection reveals new truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it.
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Publisher's Summary

Our world is being transformed by the Internet and the near limitless choice that it provides to consumers; tomorrow's markets belong to those who can take advantage of this. The Long Tail is really about the economics of abundance, an entirely new model for business that is just starting to show its power as unlimited selection reveals new truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it. The record business has been transformed by iTunes and Rhapsody; a similar transformation is coming to just about every industry imaginable.

What happens when everything in the world becomes available to everyone? When the combined value of all the millions of items that may sell only a few copies equals or exceeds the value of the few items that sell millions each? When a bunch of kids with no profit motive can record a song or make a video and get the same electronic distribution for it as the most powerful corporation?

Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine, first explored "The Long Tail" in an article that has become one of the most influential business essays of our time. Using the worlds of movies, books, and music, he showed how the Internet has made possible a new world in which the combined value of modest sellers and quirky titles equals the sales of the top hits. He coined the term "The Long Tail" to describe this phenomenon, a phrase that's since appeared in boardrooms and media around the world.

"In short, though we still obsess over hits," Anderson writes, "they are not quite the economic force they once were. Where are those fickle consumers going instead? No single place. They are scattered to the winds as markets fragment into a thousand niches."

©2006 Chris Anderson. All rights reserved; (P)2006 Hyperion. All rights reserved.

What the Critics Say

  • Winner of Audio Publishers Association 2007 Audie Award, Business Information/Education

"Anderson manages to explain a murky trend in clear language, giving entrepreneurs and the rest of us plenty to think about." (Publishers Weekly)
"Christopher Nissley's reading style fits the content; he's clipped and staccato, like Anderson's writing. His narration is helpful to the listener who prefers not to get bogged down in the theoretical and technical parts of the book." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jim Santa Clara, CA, USA 03-17-07
    Jim Santa Clara, CA, USA 03-17-07 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    7
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    "Good Book, Flawed by Repition"

    I thought this was a good book that should have been about half the length that it actually was. It's too bad no abridged version is available. I agreed with the author's ideas, but about 3 hours in, I really felt that he was repeating himself unnecessarily.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 01-29-07
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 01-29-07 Member Since 2005

    Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    339
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    Overall
    "My Pick for Book of the Year"

    This is the best book I’ve read in about a year.

    It explains so much of the internet phenomena. It references all the best contemporary work on this subject but pulls it all together in a unified framework.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 01-29-07
    Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 01-29-07 Member Since 2005

    Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    339
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    235
    113
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    79
    0
    Overall
    "My Pick for Book of the Year"

    This is the best book I’ve read in about a year.

    It explains so much of the internet phenomena. It references all the best contemporary work on this subject but pulls it all together in a unified framework.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BrightLink Roots 12-25-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Change I believe in"

    As a small business owner, this book has changed the way I think about our product and services.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Sims Chicago, Il 01-28-08
    P. Sims Chicago, Il 01-28-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow! A must listen!"

    I found this book to be interesting and dynamic. I could not turn it off. I have listened to it twice to make sure I did not miss anything.
    Buy this book if you want to learn about the past, present and future of business.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marker Pasadena, CA, USA 05-21-07
    Marker Pasadena, CA, USA 05-21-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
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    Overall
    "In depth solid material"

    The Long Tail is a well-presented, well-researched book describing the democratization of the means of producing and distributing goods and information. The long tail is what Chris Anderson calls the effect of aggregating vast numbers of like items and graphing them as hits and niches in such a way that the chart looks like a 'reverse hockey stick' with the handle being the tail.

    In a digital age the cost and ease of producing niche products and media has both redeemed and made irrelevant Karl Marx? critique of capitalist society. We all can virtually own the means of production and we can independently have access to markets without capital, or very much of it.

    In an age of search engines we have the ability to filter an unbelievable range of options so that markets can be made from the thinnest quantity of items and to the smallest niche number of consumers. The Long Tail, once irrelevant and inaccessible, now is driving the digital ecomony.

    As a listen, the unabridged version can be a little more detail than you might need, but stick with it and the detail will payoff.

    Unlike some books of this type, the audible version does not suffer because you cannot visually scan backward to review when the argument becomes too complex. The reader, Christopher Nissley does a great job.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynne Santa Fe, NM, USA 02-07-07
    Lynne Santa Fe, NM, USA 02-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
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    12
    5
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    "Food for thought"

    Being in the book industry, we found this thesis thought provoking. It was a challenging but much needed wake up call. Well illustrated with current business innovations and trends, it helped me to appreciate how quickly the world is changing and gave us some ideas on positioning ourselves for the future.

    There is quite a following to this book and several websites are devoted to its discussion. Recommended for any business owner, across all industries! A worthy herald of sea-change.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephan LisboaPortugal 03-20-10
    Stephan LisboaPortugal 03-20-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    6
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    "Enlighting!"

    Great book ! Must read...

    Nevertheless, it would help if Audible would process the audio file: the mastering is poor at the beginning. Should use a de-esser, an audio processor effect that removes the "S" consonant's higher frequency that makes for uncomfortable listening... at times it is almost unbearable...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim valparaiso, IN, USA 03-08-08
    Tim valparaiso, IN, USA 03-08-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great"

    A bit long at first but overall a great listen...I would recommend

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberley Woodbridge, NJ, United States 04-27-07
    Kimberley Woodbridge, NJ, United States 04-27-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "All business people need these concepts"

    As a consumer, I've been delighted with the recent explosion of choices. As a retailer, I've been struggling to take advantage of new technologies to satisfy an expanded internet market.

    This book puts the changing business climate into a historical and conceptual perspective that makes sense. They never taught us this in college in the 80's, but today they'd better teach it to business students, because success and survival in today's marketplace requires an understanding of the process described in this book.

    Some people understand some of these mechanisms intuitively or hazily, based on their own observations and that may be enough, but seeing the whole concept outlined so clearly, with so many examples is enlightening and inspiring.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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