The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
In the most important business book since The Tipping Point, Chris Anderson shows how the future of commerce and culture isn’t in hits, the high volume head of a traditional demand curve, but in what used to be regarded as misses: the endlessly long tail of that same curve.
The Long Tail clearly belongs on the shelf between The Tipping Point and Freakonomics.
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.