The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More is a book by Chris Anderson, Editor in chief of Wired magazine. The book was initially. This title is not currently available for download. Share. Kindle App Ad. Look inside this book. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less . download The Longer Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand by Chris Anderson (ISBN: ) from site's Book Store.

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The Long Tail Book

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More [Chris Winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Best Business Book of the Year In the most . This book has benefited from the help and collaboration of literally thousands vard Business School, Anita Elberse's work on the Long Tail of Netflix and DVDs . The Long Tail book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. The New York Times bestseller that introduced the business world to.

In , a British mountain climber named Joe Simpson wrote a book called Touching the Void , a harrowing account of near death in the Peruvian Andes. It got good reviews but, only a modest success, it was soon forgotten. Then, a decade later, a strange thing happened. Jon Krakauer wrote Into Thin Air , another book about a mountain-climbing tragedy, which became a publishing sensation. Suddenly Touching the Void started to sell again. Random House rushed out a new edition to keep up with demand. Booksellers began to promote it next to their Into Thin Air displays, and sales rose further. A revised paperback edition, which came out in January, spent 14 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. That same month, IFC Films released a docudrama of the story to critical acclaim. What happened?

Puffin Ladybird. Authors A-Z. Featured Authors. Articles, Games and more Penguin Shop Penguin Shop Book bundles. Penguin gifts. Writing workshops. View all. Events Podcasts Apps. Contact us Contact us Offices Media contacts Catalogues. Home The Long Tail. Random House Business Published: View more editions.

download from. Read more. Share at. Retro gaming, including simulators of classic game consoles that run on modern PCs, is a growing phenomenon driven by the nostalgia of the first joystick generation. Game publishers could release every title as a cent download three years after its release—no support, no guarantees, no packaging.

All this, of course, applies equally to books. Already, we're seeing a blurring of the line between in and out of print. site and other networks of used booksellers have made it almost as easy to find and download a second-hand book as it is a new one. By divorcing bookselling from geography, these networks create a liquid market at low volume, dramatically increasing both their own business and the overall demand for used books.

Combine that with the rapidly dropping costs of print-on-demand technologies and it's clear why any book should always be available. Indeed, it is a fair bet that children today will grow up never knowing the meaning of out of print.

Thanks to the success of Apple's iTunes, we now have a standard price for a downloaded track: But is it the right one? Ask the labels and they'll tell you it's too low: Even though 99 cents per track works out to about the same price as a CD, most consumers just download a track or two from an album online, rather than the full CD.

In effect, online music has seen a return to the singles-driven business of the s. Ask consumers, on the other hand, and they'll tell you that 99 cents is too high.

It is, for starters, 99 cents more than Kazaa. But piracy aside, 99 cents violates our innate sense of economic justice: If it clearly costs less for a record label to deliver a song online, with no packaging, manufacturing, distribution, or shelf space overheads, why shouldn't the price be less, too? Surprisingly enough, there's been little good economic analysis on what the right price for online music should be.

The main reason for this is that pricing isn't set by the market today but by the record label demi-cartel. Record companies charge a wholesale price of around 65 cents per track, leaving little room for price experimentation by the retailers. That wholesale price is set to roughly match the price of CDs, to avoid dreaded "channel conflict.

In either case, it would be a serious disruption of the status quo, which terrifies the already spooked record companies.

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

No wonder they're doing price calculations with an eye on the downsides in their traditional CD business rather than the upside in their new online business. But what if the record labels stopped playing defense?

A brave new look at the economics of music would calculate what it really costs to simply put a song on an iTunes server and adjust pricing accordingly. The results are surprising. Take away the unnecessary costs of the retail channel—CD manufacturing, distribution, and retail overheads. That leaves the costs of finding, making, and marketing music.

Keep them as they are, to ensure that the people on the creative and label side of the business make as much as they currently do. Add to that the actual cost of delivering music online, which is mostly the cost of building and maintaining the online service rather than the negligible storage and bandwidth costs. Current price tag: By this calculation, hit music is overpriced by 25 percent online—it should cost just 79 cents a track, reflecting the savings of digital delivery.

Putting channel conflict aside for the moment, if the incremental cost of making content that was originally produced for physical distribution available online is low, the price should be, too.

Price according to digital costs, not physical ones. All this good news for consumers doesn't have to hurt the industry. When you lower prices, people tend to download more.

Last year, Rhapsody did an experiment in elastic demand that suggested it could be a lot more. For a brief period, the service offered tracks at 99 cents, 79 cents, and 49 cents.

Although the cent tracks were only half the price of the cent tracks, Rhapsody sold three times as many of them. Since the record companies still charged 65 cents a track—and Rhapsody paid another 8 cents per track to the copyright-holding publishers—Rhapsody lost money on that experiment but, as the old joke goes, made it up in volume. Yet much of the content on the Long Tail is older material that has already made back its money or been written off for failing to do so: Such "misses" cost less to make available than hits, so why not charge even less for them?

Imagine if prices declined the further you went down the Tail, with popularity the market effectively dictating pricing. All it would take is for the labels to lower the wholesale price for the vast majority of their content not in heavy rotation; even a two- or three-tiered pricing structure could work wonders.

And because so much of that content is not available in record stores, the risk of channel conflict is greatly diminished. The lesson: Pull consumers down the tail with lower prices. How low should the labels go? The answer comes by examining the psychology of the music consumer. The choice facing fans is not how many songs to download from iTunes and Rhapsody, but how many songs to download rather than download for free from Kazaa and other peer-to-peer networks.

Intuitively, consumers know that free music is not really free: Aside from any legal risks, it's a time-consuming hassle to build a collection that way. Labeling is inconsistent, quality varies, and an estimated 30 percent of tracks are defective in one way or another. As Steve Jobs put it at the iTunes Music Store launch, you may save a little money downloading from Kazaa, but "you're working for under minimum wage.

So free has a cost: This is the "not worth it" moment where the wallet opens. The exact amount is an impossible calculus involving the bank balance of the average college student multiplied by their available free time.

But imagine that for music, at least, it's around 20 cents a track. That, in effect, is the dividing line between the commercial world of the Long Tail and the underground. Both worlds will continue to exist in parallel, but it's crucial for Long Tail thinkers to exploit the opportunities between 20 and 99 cents to maximize their share. By offering fair pricing, ease of use, and consistent quality, you can compete with free.

Perhaps the best way to do that is to stop charging for individual tracks at all. Danny Stein, whose private equity firm owns eMusic, thinks the future of the business is to move away from the ownership model entirely. With ubiquitous broadband, both wired and wireless, more consumers will turn to the celestial jukebox of music services that offer every track ever made, playable on demand.

Some of those tracks will be free to listeners and advertising-supported, like radio. Others, like eMusic and Rhapsody, will be subscription services. Today, digital music economics are dominated by the iPod, with its notion of a paid-up library of personal tracks. And drive another nail in the coffin of the retail music model.

In , an entrepreneur named Michael Robertson started what looked like a classic Long Tail business. Called MP3. The idea was the service would bypass the record labels, allowing artists to connect directly to listeners.

The tyranny of the labels would be broken, and a thousand flowers would bloom. Putting aside the fact that many people actually used the service to illegally upload and share commercial tracks, leading the labels to sue MP3. Struggling bands did not, as a rule, find new audiences, and independent music was not transformed.

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

Indeed, MP3. The problem with MP3. It didn't have license agreements with the labels to offer mainstream fare or much popular commercial music at all. Therefore, there was no familiar point of entry for consumers, no known quantity from which further exploring could begin.

Offering only hits is no better. Think of the struggling video-on-demand services of the cable companies. Or think of Movielink, the feeble video download service run by the studios. Due to overcontrolling providers and high costs, they suffer from limited content: There's not enough choice to change consumer behavior, to become a real force in the entertainment economy.

The Long Tail

By contrast, the success of Netflix, site, and the commercial music services shows that you need both ends of the curve. Their huge libraries of less-mainstream fare set them apart, but hits still matter in attracting consumers in the first place. Great Long Tail businesses can then guide consumers further afield by following the contours of their likes and dislikes, easing their exploration of the unknown.

For instance, the front screen of Rhapsody features Britney Spears, unsurprisingly. Next to the listings of her work is a box of "similar artists. If you click on that and are pleased with what you hear, you may do the same for Pink's similar artists, which include No Doubt. And on No Doubt's page, the list includes a few "followers" and "influencers," the last of which includes the Selecter, a s ska band from Coventry, England. In three clicks, Rhapsody may have enticed a Britney Spears fan to try an album that can hardly be found in a record store.

Rhapsody does this with a combination of human editors and genre guides. If you've never read Wired, it is a huge media cheerleader for the high OK, this book gets down-graded because it is an excellent example of snake oil. For example, the articles in Wired display consistent technological triumphalism, like a discussion of the "death of print books," without providing supporting data or a complete picture.

The Wired ethos permeates this book. Anderson says that he can point to "hundreds" of examples of companies that typify the Long Tail approach, but spends the most page space on a select few: site, Rhapsody, Google, etc. Anderson also focuses on music and books for examples, then makes generalizations about all business enterprises that have no economic basis for manufacturing or other non-entertainment industries.

The chapter on aggregation seems to have the general message "push the inventory problems down to third party suppliers," yet this kind of strategy can lead to fundamental breakdowns in your ability to deliver unless you can scale like guess who? site - especially when you are talking about cars, refrigerators, etc. After pages I could not take this book seriously.

It's a shame. The insight of the Long Tail, that you can make a business case for selling a wider diversity of products that aren't "mega-hits," makes a lot of sense. Web technology makes the selling of these products possible in a way that was not possible with brick-and-mortar stores. However, an understanding of how several successful businesses harnessed this idea is not directly generalizable to an entire economy. Making unsupported claims about supposed new "truths" does not make these claims actually true.

View all 3 comments. Interesting Tidbits - Three forces need to create the long tail: Connect Supply and Demand: T Interesting Tidbits - Three forces need to create the long tail: Filters to rank items must be applied within each niche to become relevant.

Goodreads could improve here. This depends on the genre, but it gives me hope that we can increase the number of people who read through Goodreads, by creating better filters to connect readers of various niche's. View 1 comment. 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-a-saurus rex. 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 I disliked this book for two reasons: The notion of giving people access to a plethora of products that were heretofore unobtainable has been done before, we're told.

The conclusion I drew was that site and other businesses like it simply do the same thing for the world today that Sears-Roebuck did back then, so that there's still nothing new under the sun.

Anderson works backward, arguing that Sears-Roebuck represented an earlier, similar long tail phenomenon. The economics of "abundance" still seems to me to fall into the realm of orthodox economics of a kind Adam Smith would have well-understood: In competitive markets, price approaches marginal cost.

Since bits are so cheap that we can take their cost to be negligible, we can provide more and more varied kinds of bits. Instead, Anderson seems to start by assuming this is something totally new and has to develop an elaborate mythology around it so that he'll have something to write about for pages.

Like the Black Swan, this book could have been 50 pages and offered as an ebook, satisfying Anderson's own long-tail definition by not fitting the typical pattern of other boring business books. View 2 comments. 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 I give up None the less, this is another book about an idea that probably made a fascinating article in a magazine or a slightly interesting online blog, but expanding it into a book took it beyond its attention captivating capabilities.

You could easily fit what the book addresses into a multi-page article without loosing any of the integrity of the theory and without boring the reader to tears. 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 This book is an exploration of how niche markets are on the rise courtesy of better distribution. A very conversationally written book, by the editor of Wired, it taught me a lot I didn't know about the digital age, the blogosphere, etc, and it's a fun read for entrepreneurs.

For some of us it was required reading for a class, but lemme tell you, it beat the hell out of a coursepack! Feb 18, Martin rated it really liked it Shelves: 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. Plain and simple: Like a nursery rhyme. Essay, definitely. Pamphlet, sure.

Book, nope. This is not to say that these books are not interesting. Far from it. The Long Tail was actually very interesting and helpful in putting a lot of ideas into a cohesive and compelling theory. The central thesis is that in a world of easy digital distribution, choices are so abundant that the so-called "niches" are a source of incredible growth.

I can write this from memory, so maybe having the thesis drilled into my brain over and over was, in fact, useful.

Anyway, I was fascinated by the combination of not just the economic and technological, but also the cultural, analysis. Or at least the economic and technological analyses opened lots of doors to further cultural analyses.

Those thought-provoking moments, however, were buried beneath a mountain of simplistic analysis and insanely repetitive writing. After the first pages you can read one out of every four paragraphs and more than follow the arguments. Goodnight Moon:: Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Where's Spot? It almost has those huge cardboard pages that tiny, chubby fingers can turn. It probably WAS at some point. Why it needed to be torturously extended over pages no one will ever know.

But it's almost enough to make a reader feel crazy. Marketing to the Social Web I think you could probably get the salient stuff from just about any blog. Including this one, if you care to ask me.