In his post, he discusses an European online new book retailer that sees 95% of their sales from their top 1,000 bestselling titles, and 98% from their top 40,000.
So is the Long Tail bunk? Why might a reasonable modern online book site be living in the short head?
- active promotion or discounting of bestsellers and frontlist titles, but not the midlist or backlist
- having designed a website to encourage browsing among a limited universe of titles, rather than searching a larger catalog of books in print
- users coming to a site looking primarily for only one type of book (e.g. new mysteries, university press books)
- existence of a relatively small number of in-print titles in the local publishing market
- the store’s failure to carry the full range of in-print titles
- the mixing together in-store and online sales to derive sales figures
I admit it—I’m flummoxed. The numbers don’t make intuitive sense to me, and the only reasons I can come up with essentially consist of blaming the bookseller for stocking or promoting a limited range of titles.
Knowing what we know about demand distribution for online retailers, why might a normal online new book retailer see 95% of its sales coming from just 1,000 titles?
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