Kottke.org links to a review of Chris Anderson's The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Selling Less of More. It's a great article and the book is sure to get tons of press. The idea? That electronic retailing creates niche markets and combats "hits" syndrome. It turns out that the Amazons and Nexflixeses ;-) of the world *don't* make 80% of their revenue on 20% of their inventory. Check this out:
At Amazon.com...a quarter of all book sales come from outside the site's top-one-hundred-thousand best-sellers.
This is great news for people who read more than Stephen King novels and listen to music other than U2. And this was the promise of the Internet back in the day, at least vis-a-vis publishing: any book that's been published, any music that's been recorded, speedily delivered to your house in either atoms or bits -- your choice.
The article throws a few punches at Anderson's arguments, but I won't recount those here. Read the article your own bad self.
So: good review in the New Yorker, interesting thesis and evidence. And, unfortunately, a cover that's as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow morning, North Koreans be damned. Why are business titles so uninspired? Can someone point one out that's not? Are business titles designed like this because publishers don't think design matters to business readers? And was there no one involved in the production of the book who noticed the awful kerning between the "T" and "a" in "Tail?" I guess there wasn't.