Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Long Tail

There's a really excellent review in yesterday's Financial Times of "The Long Tail" by Chris Anderson. Mr Anderson reckons that the internet is creating endless choice which in turn is stimulating endless demand. That's probably not quite true but what is certain is that the internet is changing the nature of the market place. Nowhere more so than in the publishing and selling of books.

For example, whereas WalMart stocks 4,500 titles in its average store, Amazon carries 800,000.

But the really interesting statistic is that in the US in 2004, books selling more than 250,000 copies sold 53m copies in total. Those selling under 1,000 copies totalled 84m. That's a very long tail indeed. Small print runs are where the real money is. That has to be good news for any aspiring author.


  1. I heard that the new Borders by us sold 10,000 books in it's opening week! I can't tell you how heartening and depressing that is.

  2. Glad you liked the book, Pundy. Chris Anderson is a really nice guy, an ex-colleague of mine.
    He has even sent me a review copy of the book so I am looking forward to reading it. Chris's blog on the gestation of the book has been fun to read, I especially like the postings about ordering individual bricks from the Lego factory. (Although Sian, aka Ichabod is Itchy, spoilt it a bit by actually trying to do it and finding it didn't work. That's remote sensers for you.)

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