The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More
By: Chris Anderson
Illustrated by: Shane Clester
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 2011
The Internet has changed everything from communications to business dealings. No longer do college students “call Mom,” instead they email her. Likewise, from publishing to the music industry, how products are marketed and sold has changed and if you want to succeed in the Internet Age, your business model must adjust accordingly.
Based on the NY Times bestseller The Long Tail, this newest version, presented in graphic novel form, explains just what “The Long Tail” is and how you can benefit from it. Back in the 70s where everything from television shows, books, music, video games, etc. were the domain of a few big companies that controlled what the consumer purchased via limited offerings, today the tables have been turned. With the ease at which a person with a home computer can become a self-published author, or a music-loving teen can create her own CD, the small, one or two person niche suppliers have wiggled their way into the marketplace. As a result, the economy is moving away from one of a few big “hits” (whether that means movies or t-shirts) to one of many small niche markets.
As the marketplace shifts, new problems arise and the author addresses these. Perhaps the biggest challenge is how to control quality of all the niche products. Sure, anybody can be a self-published author, but how does the consumer know that the product (a self-published book in this case) is up to par with what a traditional publisher would print? The reader will learn about “the wisdom of the crowd,” filters, post-filters, what the 80/20 rule is and how it works (or doesn’t work), what happens when consumers have too much choice, if money will flow into all those niche markets, and the author’s nine rules of successful long tail aggregators.
While many readers may not wish to dedicate long hours to reading a traditional business book, I found this new graphic novel, at just 50 pages, quick and enjoyable to read. The information was presented in a very understandable format and caters well to those who have grown up in the Internet age and may not wish to sit down with a long text. The illustrations helped drive various key points home, such as the use of a long-tailed brontosaurus to represent “The Long Tail.”
Quill says: If you’d like to understand how today’s marketplace is changing, The Long Tail is the book you need to be reading.