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September 16, 2008

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pak152

When I hit a B&N or Borders store I head for sales aisle to see what I can find. a good example of a long-tail bookstore would be Half Price Books

http://www.halfpricebooks.com/

Glenn Fleishman

The first rule of the book industry is: Never trust anything that the Riggio brothers say, because they're never going to tell you anything that's not strategically designed to ruin your business. His statement is incredibly specious (which the article you link to identifies in context you didn't reproduce here).

Barnes and Noble is a total Big Head business; their online store has had some modest success after many many years more as an alternative to Amazon than as a true competitor on price, selection, service, etc. Because BN.com focuses mostly on books and media, and Amazon does everything, I know folks that use BN.com (and have a yearly B&N membership, as I do, for added discounts) because they can find what they want with less fuss.

The truth of the long tail, as I would love for you to write about, is that it's financially beneficial for aggregators of the long tail *NOT FOR THE PRODUCERS* of the long tail. If Barnes sells 1 copy of 1,000,000 books, there are 500,000 authors who wrote those books who make a buck each. Not very sustainable.

Chris Anderson

@Glenn

"The truth of the long tail, as I would love for you to write about, is that it's financially beneficial for aggregators of the long tail *NOT FOR THE PRODUCERS* of the long tail."

Couldn't agree more. That's why I wrote a good bit of a chapter on just that. I'm not sure what else I can do--if people want to willfully misunderstand that point, I can't stop them.

Chris Penney

@Gleen and @Chris

Yeah, but if all those content Producers are eventually reduced to not getting paid for their work, then they might just stop producing it altogether. And if the aggregators have nothing to aggregate then the whole supply chain comes to a halt. And I seriously doubt enough passionate amateurs (in other words "producers who don't get paid") will exist to populate the very, very long tail.

The same forces that have leveled the playing field for producers and amateurs alike have also leveled the field for aggregators too. Just look at all the YouTube knockoffs.
So, while in the past producers were at the mercy of distributors/aggregators that had pockets deep enough to afford the machinery and equipment and marketing necessary to actually bring that content (books, movies, music, etc.) to market, those same producers now can self-distribute for a cost so low that it approaches $0.

In my mind, that puts power into the hands of the PRODUCER, not the aggregator.

Glenn Fleishman

"Couldn't agree more. That's why I wrote a good bit of a chapter on just that."

Sure, but the drum you're beating lacks a footnote to that effect.

I still believe in the Long Tail as a useful concept (and it works for me in one of my lines of business quite beautifully), but only for sellers of stuff, not makers.

If I were cleverer, I'd paraphrase John Cusack from Say Anything.

Moggio

@Glenn and Chris: Please what are, precisely, the "aggregators of the long tail" (vs. producers)? Thanks in advance.

Chris Anderson

Aggregators are companies like Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, etc. that offer the full head-to-tail range of products.

machinery equipment manufacturer

Hi,
Barnes and Noble is a total Big Head business; their online store has had some modest success after many many years more as an alternative to Amazon than as a true competitor on price, selection, service, etc. Because BN.com focuses mostly on books and media, and Amazon does everything.

clef usb

Long tail is always done the great post & this was really an amazing, i really appreciate this post..

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Tidbits

The Long Tail by Chris Anderson

Notes and sources for the book

FREE was available in all digital forms--ebook, web book, and audiobook--for free shortly after the hardcover was published on July 7th. The ebook and web book were free for a limited time and limited to certain geographic regions as determined by each national publisher; the unabridged MP3 audiobook (get zip file here) will remain free forever, available in all regions.

Order the hardcover now!