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The Long Tail of Books

1. Online retail
2. Used books
3. POD
4. Someday: ebooks
• Around 15% of all
book sales, growing
18% annually

• Amazon (and
Marketplace sellers)
have about 75-80%
of the online market

• Demand shifting
towards niches
Source: Morris Rosenthal
Used Books
• Fastest growing portion of the book
market (up 33% last year, now nearly
10% of all consumer book sales)

• Classic secondary market: how will

increasing liquidity affect the primary

• Expansion of “virtual inventory”

Our children will never know the
meaning of the phrase
“out of print”
Print on demand

Three Long Tail drivers

4. Interlibrary loans
5. Online databases
6. Google (and other) Book Search
Interlibrary loan
A few stats:
• Loans account for just 1.7% of overall
circ (4.7% for academic libraries)
• Yet 60% of the aggregate collections
of the “Google 5) are held by just one
• Just 10% of books account for 90% of

The opportunity: aggregate

distributed supply and
Source: OCLC
Online databases

The effect

Source: Tim O’Reilly


Source: Tim O’Reilly

How to drive this?
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