The Register's Andrew Orlowski reports on researchers who refuted Chris Anderson's theory of the long tail. See Chopping the Long Tail Down to Size
(The Long Tail theory claims there is much money to be made in selling a few copies of many things.)
I'm a long tail kind of guy (no crude jokes, pls), selling modest amounts of over 40 titles of ebooks, plus other publishing activities. After reading Mr Anderson's book, however, I had found a fundamental flaw in his reasoning:
An Amazon or a Rhapsody might make a wack of $$$ from selling just 1 or 2 copies of a million slow selling books and CDs. But the authors, musicians, and publishers of these works do not. Folks cannot make a living selling one or two copies a day of their work -- even if it is in digital format and so lacks production and distribution costs.
It gets worse. The Amazons and Rhapsodys of the world have no interest in stocking slow-selling products. Amazon's "3 million books" claim is a myth. The bulk of "books" are phantoms, mere entries in a database provided by publishers.
In most cases, Amazon won't sell you a long tail book, because it cannot. Either the books are out of print, or else the communication link between Amazon and the publisher is broken, and so your book order is perpetually delayed another "3 months."
Instead of the Long Tail, my theory is that of the Boutique Seller. A significant number people can make a living from selling to a modest customer base. Selling ones and twos is only a hobby; selling hundreds or thousands is a living.