Long Tail Definition

by Vincent Marmalade
(Flower Mound, TX)

Original Comment:

January 10, 2017

Thank you for keeping us up to date on all of Amazons changes. Your last article regarding long tail books was very interesting and informative.

I wonder if you might give us an idea of how you define "Long tail" and how these books avoid the dreaded race to the bottom in regards to pricing.


Vincent Marmalade


May 8, 2017

Hello Vincent;

Thank you for your comments. As you know, I believe long-tail books are a very important component of your online bookselling inventory strategy.

In a nutshell, long-tails are books (or any other product) that carry a very high sales rank and will sit on your shelf for months or even years. This approach is in direct opposition to the direction of Amazon (which emphasizes high turnover) and most online dealers who sell used books.

My approach to long-tail inventory is to stress quality over quantity. Long-tails should have huge profit margins, like $30 or more for books you purchased for $2 or less.

How long of a tail you can tolerate is entirely up to you. I suggest you buy anything you can find with the appropriate margins up to a ten million rank until you max out your space to build inventory fast. Let’s say that’s 5,000 books.

Now you want to start purging your inventory of the highest ranks until your entire inventory is below one million. Think about it. Five thousand books worth $30 or more. That’s $150,000 worth of inventory that you only paid $10,000!

Of course, you could always limit yourself to only purchase inventory with a rank below one million from the beginning, but you’ll take much longer to max out, and miss a lot of sales. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’ll be slower getting to your goal of steady income.

Please stay tuned because I intend to write many more articles about long-tail books in the weeks and months to come.

Finally, you can get unlimited answers to your questions in my bookseller's forum by going to the Forum Guidelines page and signing up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP. You'll get useful advice from me and other experienced booksellers to help you grow your business and make it more profitable. Make sure you sign up today and introduce yourself to everyone!

Joe Waynick
Bookseller, Author, Mentor

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