The Long Tail is a must read for anyone wondering how the Internet works or how it’s changing the world as we know it. In the book, Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired Magazine, explains how one simple principle is behind so many of the social and economic changes we are seeing with the internet. The Internet makes it possible for many people to produce and publish cheaply and for many other people to find those "amateur" works easily. For example, until the Internet, the only music you had access to was the top 40 on the radio or maybe the top 500 albums at the music store and maybe a local band at the bar on weekends. Now you have access to hundreds of thousands of songs written and produced by anybody and everybody in the world. Not only that but they are easily searchable in many different ways. So a you don’t have to listen to just hits anymore and you don’t have to be a world wide hit to be successful. That’s what is changing the world. Niche markets are growing (around all of these non-hit works) and at the same time the way we share and find these niche products is becoming easier and easier – creating new communities online.
Chris Anderson explains it much better than me and I highly recommend the book if you’ve noticed that the Internet is changing the world and wondered why.