First things first… What is the long tail and what does it have to do with anything? Creator Chris Anderson defines it as “… the theory that our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from the focus on a relatively small number of ‘hits’, at the head of the demand curve and towards a huge number of niches in the tail.”
The first thing that pops to mind about the long tail in reality is bookstores, both physical and online. Sites such as Book Depository and Amazon/ iBooks have a wider variety of genres available for readers. There’s hardly an instance where someone wouldn’t be able to find at least one book on any niche topic. This isn’t the case in actual bookstores though. There have been multiple times when I’ve gone into QBD or Dymocks, only to go home and purchase what I was looking for online. These shops are physically unable to stock every single genre of book out there.
I would even compare bookstores to blogs. There are hundreds of thousands lifestyle and beauty blogs out there at the moment, that provide readers with millions of posts. It’s getting to the stage where we won’t be able to compare this to lifestyle, beauty and even cooking books you can by in store. These blogs can be updated as often as the writer pleases, whereas book publication is very time consuming and restrictive. Beauty blogger Niomi Smart can keep her audience updated with the latest fashion trends, which would be unachievable in a book.
Anderson, Chris. ‘About Me’. Longtail.com.