Wednesday, October 13, 2004
I know this is a book review page, but I read this article today, and it outlines specifics about several things I always thought would be true about entertainment market (like books & music) but never saw any data. Chris Anderson's article describes just how different web stores are from brick & mortar, and how they can and are changing customer's tastes. Changing perhaps is not the correct term, "focusing" I think is better. With Amazon stocking almost 20x as many book titles as a local Barnes & Noble, customers have the ability to go much deeper into a subject, genre, or author, to find interesting stuff to read. What they are finding out is that, on the web, there are enough eyeballs to make almost any obscure title sell at least a few copies. I think this is a corollary to the ebay effect, where you might not find a local buyer for your custom-made chinchilla-fur fuzzy dice, but somewhere in the world, your crap is someone else's gold. This huge stock of somewhat unpopular titles is what the author is calling the long tail. Even though a small percentage of the titles, the most popular one's, have high sales per title, the large percentage of less popular titles are profitable when you cast a net as wide as Amazon's. He also talks about how Amazon's recommendation system helps this process, and allow people to find more obscure titles that they never would have heard of otherwise. I won't go into any more detail, since I'm not doing the article justice, so just go check it out.