Scoble, The Long Tail and publishing

I don’t normally think to find interesting discussion on books and publishing on Robert Scoble’s blog but it just goes to show the beauty of the blogosphere. He posted this excellent meditation of the role of the Long Tail (in which he includes his own title: Naked Conversations).

He looks at the role of the vast bulk of content in a situation where it:

Turns out that the only ones who do very well in the book business are those in the head of the tail. That’s the first 100 books and, really, the first 10 books.

That said, what Chris points out in his book is that Amazon is doing pretty darn well off of books like mine. Why? Because of the aggregate of millions of books most will sell at least a few (he shows that even deep into the tail books and music still sell a few copies). The authors don’t get rich. But if you build the right kind of business you can gather a lot of value.

Robert is a former Microsoft employee, in fact something of a Microsoft one-man PR army. He is moving into pod casting and hence his musings on the Long Tail on which as you might expect he finishes on a positive note:

Anyway, there’s a lot of opportunity left in the Long Tail yet to come. Buy the Long Tail, dream a little, and blog your ideas.

The discussion is interesting for anyone who writes or publishes content aimed at niche markets and smaller diffuse groups. And well worth reading.