Go into a bookstore or online and try to find a book in under 15 minutes. Unless you have a preconceived idea of what to get, this is a difficult task. There are so many choices. And, no person could ever hope to read every book now available, let alone what is yet to come out in the future. This makes it all the more frustrating. What if I choose not to read something that I ultimately would have liked? That book of prison poetry might have been worthy of my time…if only I had known.

The “Long Tail” is a term/theory, coined by Chris Anderson, for the ever increasing list of niche choices available in the entertainment product business. The term is defined very well here at Wiki. (I believe books have always been a Long Tail business, by the way.)

I know all about “best seller lists”, “staff recommendations”, and “customers also bought” and “since you bought that, you will like this”. I have used those “tools” in the past to help make a choice for a new book. They are all fine. Word of mouth recommendations are also important. Gladwell cites Word of Mouth in “Tipping Point” as one of the processes/phenomenon involved, by the way. Doesn’t matter to me though, I’m not reading “Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood”. But, what if I don’t want to choose what someone else bought or liked? What if what I want is something entirely different than what I have bought before. (What if I don’t know what I want?) What if the ideal book for me at this/that time is something at the very end of the Long Tail…and nowhere near hitting a Tipping Point…and I have NO WAY of finding it?

The Long Tail is great for consumers. More choice is always better than less choice. But, having choices can be difficult too. A person can get paralyzed with too much choice. I need a service, a person, or some software that can always be counted on to help me make those choices correctly.

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Copyright (c) 2005 Jamoker. All rights reserved.