The Black Swan And The Ebooks Marketplace

The Black Swan effect, which I’ve written about before, might be the single most consequential concept of the 21st century. Just my opinion. If you’re interested in the phenomenon, you could read all about it in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book, The Black Swan. Subtitle: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

Mr. Taleb suggests that most of the important events in history are Black Swan events, for example, the 09-11-2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. For my other previous posts on Black Swans, click here and here.

Many events of lesser importance, which nonetheless have momentous effects on nations, industries, and individuals, may also be Black Swans.

As Mr. Taleb explains, a bestselling book is a perfect example of a Black Swan, because it’s impossible to predict in advance which book will be a bestseller.  

Let this be a warning to all of us toiling away writing Ebooks for the digital marketplace, a marketplace that can be pretty much summed up in one word. The word is I suppose the success of as an online retailer, where so many others have tried and failed, is also a Black Swan event.

What has always been true of bestselling books most likely will hold for Ebooks as well. It will be difficult if not impossible to pick a bestselling Ebook in advance. That hasn’t deterred writers in the past, and it won’t dissuade most of us in the present generation.

What’s different (and important) to remember about the new digital  marketplace, however, is The Long Tail.  That’s a book too, by Chris Anderson, with the subtitle: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.

As it applies to the marketplace for books, the Long Tail means that books have a longer shelf life in the age of digital marketing. Like an unlimited shelf life!

The Long Tail means that while only a relatively few Ebooks will be wildly popular, nearly every good writer — and most mediocre writers as well — will be able to publish their books and bring them to the marketplace.

Most of all, according to Mr. Anderson, the Long Tail means that some demand will exist for almost every book available in a humongous marketplace. Nearly every writer who perseveres will be able to sell a few books.

— John Hayden

2 thoughts on “The Black Swan And The Ebooks Marketplace

  1. I hope your book does well! I recently stopped by your blog, but didn’t see a link, but of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. I’ll look again. I am pleasantly surprised about the long shelf life of digital books and to hear that the market is at least there for, “every writer.”

    Speaking of books, I need to tell you the story of my having read The Accidental Tourist. I loved the book by the way, but hope to find time to share with you how I prolonged the story!

    With wishes of many clicks and downloads 😉


  2. Thank you Michelle! There’s no click for the book yet. I’m still writing it, but getting close to the end. There’ll be a lot of editing and revising before I upload it to Amazon. I’ll announce here when “free days” are scheduled.

    I’m so happy you enjoyed Accidental Tourist. Anne Tyler has a brand new book out. I can’t wait to read it.


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