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December 14, 2004

The Long Tail: Book Sales of Hits vs. Low-Volume Titles

From a Wired article on internet sales and how titles that are not hits are still profitable, "The Long Tail":
...The average Barnes & Noble carries 130,000 titles. Yet more than half of Amazon's book sales come from outside its top 130,000 titles. Consider the implication: If the Amazon statistics are any guide, the market for books that are not even sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are...
Demand is being diverted from the most popular titles to this "long tail". Is that good? The economist's answer is "yes". If people are given to fads, it is even better. The only cause for discomfort is that if it is the "maximum" of creative output that is the most valuable for a society, our maxima, in terms of popular appeal, are going to be less rewarded.

Posted by erasmuse at December 14, 2004 08:35 AM

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I wonder if the same trend applies to music buying. If so, that would give all of us struggling musicians a better shot at tapping into some of the money sucked up by the superstars.

And as far as creativity goes, I don't think anyone would argue that the best-selling musical acts are the most creative.

Posted by: Keith at December 14, 2004 11:11 PM

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