The Long Tail

by Russ Roberts on August 1, 2006

in Web/Tech

Chris Anderson’s new book, The Long Tail, argues that the low inventory and distribution costs for the internet (Amazon, iTunes, etc) allow small niche items to thrive in a way that’s impossible in a bricks and mortar world. An item that might sell a few times a month isn’t viable for taking up shelf space. But it is viable for iTunes or Amazon and because there are a  lot of these items (the long tail), they can make a serious contribution to the bottom line.

He also has a lot of interesting insights into what he calls the democratization of production—think blogging and wikipedia. Check out the video in this post at his blog.

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{ 1 comment }

John Dewey August 2, 2006 at 8:46 am

Sounds interesting.

Amazon has certainly changed the economics of the used book business. Many fellow book dealers have abandoned brick and mortar altogether. The neglible startup costs have allowed thousands more to enter.

I think Amazon is merely a marketer of used books. Their numerous partners – some large but most tiny – incur all the inventory and distribution costs. Specialization seems to work. Many book scouts have long wished to eliminate brick and mortar middlemen such as me, but didn't want to deal with marketing tasks.

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