Infinite Shelf Space


“In an era without the constraints of physical shelf space and other bottlenecks of distribution, narrowly-targeted goods and services can be as economically attractive as mainstream fare.”

– Chris Anderson

The theory of the long tail effect refers to the abundance of information we have accumulated now that everyone has access and the ability to create content and participate on all available platforms.

Due to this attention economy has risen dramatically as consumers are looking for more than what businesses are offering. As the physical shelf space moves into a virtual shelf space, consumers are pondering the question why would you ever pay for anything you could get for free?

Therefore industries such as, the publishing and music industries have to find alternative ways to add value to their products which consumers can otherwise find for free online.

However, the long tail effect does hold positives, whereby allowing users to generate their own content and do anything they please while online.


12 thoughts on “Infinite Shelf Space

  1. Your image is great, it clearly depicts the attitudes of active users and alludes to their ability to produce basically anything they please. Though I would have like a specific example in regards to the Long Tail effect. Has this shift in between distributors and aggregators affected the way you interact with content? How so? This article outlines how digital downloads/sales of music is being eradicated by streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like how you opened with the quote as it set the theme and tone of the rest of your post. It would be difficult for the industries to maintain profitability. One option to add value to products is live performances and festivals. The following article shows interesting points and figures about the growth of music festival attendance . Hopefully larger attendance helps out artists in some way or another!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The opening quote was a good starting point for you post, however I feel that you should specifically mention that it describes the long tail effect since it would look out of place for anyone who didn’t understand the concept. When you mentioned the two industries, it would have been beneficial to show your audience the long tail effect in action. For example, book stores like Dymocks can’t cater to niche markets because of physical space which places Amazon at a massive advantage because they can provide books about the best ways to take care of your pet ferret or how to bedazzle your letterbox (I kid, of course) – any niche topic that wouldn’t pop up in your local book store.

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  4. Its interesting that the world is moving from a physical space to a digital space, and I’m kind of annoyed because I really like the smell and feel of new books! The fact that finding a bookshop in a shopping complex is harder then finding a needle in a haystack is seriously confronting and mentally jarring. However, it is understandable as people want to get the new ‘ebook 7000’ instead of just buying a sturdy, lovely, physical book. Its interesting how in the last 5 to 10 years books stores have become a sort of niche market for some, as the rise of digital media and sales have taken over. This article ( encapsulates the way the long tail effect has killed bookshops around the globe and put digital books on a physical pedestal in society. Damn those dirty digital books.

    ~ krisesandchrosses ~

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  5. Simple and clear explanation of this week’s topic, the meme further shows the current attitudes users hold towards the freedom of the internet. It’s interesting how for publishing and music companies how they would have to add aesthetic value for their products to actually earn something, how thing’s have changed..
    great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is really concise and clearly explains this weeks topic. It is interesting to see the world transition from a physical space into a digital space but I suppose its inevitable with our changing outlook on new and old media. With us being consumers of content, we want easily accessible and instantaneous things. For example, I’d rather stream a movie online than buy it on DVD because it’s more convenient for me. You’ve written a really clear blog post on this weeks topic!

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  7. A very concise post about an interesting subject. You’ve mentioned the positive and negatives about the long tail effect and infinite shelf space, do you think that all these free things online have caused many businesses to fail and close down? Sure some people will always be willing to pay for items, but will this be enough to keep businesses profitable in this day and age?


  8. It’s true that a majority of things can now be found in virtual space and we can get it for free. The question on why would you pay for it from my perspective is for motivation/admire. Sometimes I know I can easily get it for free but then I want this person to keep creating content so that would be one of the reason why I would pay for it. Another reason why I would pay for it is because I really do admire their work and to show appreciation to them I wouldn’t mind paying them. It also depends on what you are getting as well. For me I know I can get certain books online but I just love to have the physical copy of it. I guess the item we are trying to get affects on what we think is worth buying. Simple but interesting post!


  9. Great succinct post, a really well rounded look into the long tail and the attention economy. Liked the meme, and the way you referred to Anderson’s quote from this week. Would have been cool to see a bit more of your personal opinion. 🙂


  10. Concise post but covered heaps very informatively and briefly. You mentioned that due to the vast amount of available content online, businesses have to do more to gain customers in so that we don’t just turn to options we can already access for free online. They can do this buy implementing different techniques to generate value, including our attention, as you mentioned. An example of this is Spotify, grabbing our attention with audio advertisements, promoting the paid version of their product to us while we use the free service. This article here describes the techniques used by Spotify in audio advertising:


  11. Loved this post, and the meme was a great addition. You brought up some great points on the transition between physical and digital space. Weighing up positive and negative views created a great debate throughout your post , showing your extensive knowledge on this topic, and definitely helped to explain this topic on a deeper level. I would love to hear more of your views on this so definitely include that in future posts.
    Can’t wait to read more!


  12. Hi there! Your post is concise, some good points are brought up and the opening quote was well used! It is interesting to see the turn from physical space to digital space. I still remember the times that I used to buy albums from CD shops, but that no longer happen now, thanks to the internet! All the music I listen to now are either download it from online or listen through Spotify where is an online platform where you can access to millions of songs! I believe most of us do that now. However, for your post, if you could add in some hyperlinks and be more specific to the examples, that would be perfect.


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