How to Wag the Long Tail
By Theodore Kinni

(Business 2.0) – It started life two years ago as a seminal magazine article, then became a blog, a topic of discussion at every Silicon Valley party, and now, finally, a book. The Long Tail, by Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, is set for release in July. Its thesis: While Wal-Mart and Hollywood may be built on best-selling goods and entertainment, far more money can actually be made selling a vast range of non-best-sellers--since the graph of consumer demand slopes away into an endless "long tail." Which helps explain the success of Amazon.com, eBay, and iTunes: By offering shelf space to every niche supplier in cyberspace, they meet pent-up consumer demand for esoteric products.

So does the book add anything to a well-known idea? Anderson can stretch his long tail too far, declaring that offshoring is the long tail of labor, terrorists the long tail of warfare, and microbrews the long tail of beer--without expanding on those claims. But if you're selling anything that can be aggregated, such as books, music, film, software, and digital products that don't need distribution centers, The Long Tail could be your guide to becoming the next big dog.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.