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, 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.