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Long Tail

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Monday, September 25, 2006, 15:54
On 9/24/06, Yahya Abdal-Aziz <yahya@...> wrote:
> The exact post is easily found at the address: >
> BTW, John, thanks for introducing me to "The Long Tail", > of which I hadn't heard before. Looks like a useful weapon > for anyone wanting to market their creations on the Web. > It gives insights into ways in which the classical 80-20 rule, > or Pareto Principle, fails to apply in a wired world. Essentially, > the cost of keeping product "in stock" has become almost > negligible; Anderson claims that "the future of business is > selling less of more". > > So if any conworld creator wants to sell stories about their > created places, it makes sense to sell instalments rather than > books. Come to think of it, this replicates the first wave of > mass publication, that enabled the rise of Charles Dickens as > a widely read story-teller, writing serialised novels. > > And the graphic novelist may soon sell individual *frames* > at a penny a pop, rather than asking readers to plonk down > $10 or a whole story, or $30 for a collection!
I don't think this is the same kind of thing Chris Anderson is talking about; he's talking about retailers offering larger numbers of titles (typically also from larger numbers of creators) so as to attract a more diverse & larger group of customers & sell more overall, though they sell on average fewer copies of each title. For an individual creator selling their works directly to customers, selling their work in small serialized chunks might be a good business strategy, but if so it is good strategy for different reasons than the "Long Tail" phenomenon. I don't think you would get the kind of diversity-synergy leading to a large number of customers if you sell a novel in 30 serial chapters, and I am doubtful about the effect of switching from one long novel to 30 stand-alone short stories (assuming you are equally able and inclined to writer either); since a single author is involved, a larger number of titles won't necessarily expand the number of interested readers as much as if a publisher or online bookstore went from offering the works of few authors to offering those of many. -- Jim Henry