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Internet and the ‘Long Tail versus superstar effect’ debate: evidence from the French book market


  • Stéphanie Peltier
  • François Moreau


From a comprehensive database of monthly sales of comic books and literature books in France over the period 2003 to 2007, we show that (i) bestsellers got smaller market shares online than offline, contrary to medium- and low-sellers; (ii) both online and offline sales shift from the head of the distribution to the tail with increasing magnitude over the period; and (iii) the Long Tail appears to be more than just a short-lived phenomenon caused by the specific preferences of early adopters of e-commerce. These three results suggest that online information and distribution tools, whose use increased over the period 2003 to 2007, do have an impact on book distribution and on consumers' purchase decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Stéphanie Peltier & François Moreau, 2012. "Internet and the ‘Long Tail versus superstar effect’ debate: evidence from the French book market," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(8), pages 711-715, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:19:y:2012:i:8:p:711-715
    DOI: 10.1080/13504851.2011.597714

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Erik Brynjolfsson & Yu (Jeffrey) Hu & Michael D. Smith, 2003. "Consumer Surplus in the Digital Economy: Estimating the Value of Increased Product Variety at Online Booksellers," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(11), pages 1580-1596, November.
    2. J. Yannis Bakos, 1997. "Reducing Buyer Search Costs: Implications for Electronic Marketplaces," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 43(12), pages 1676-1692, December.
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    1. repec:cpt:journl:v::y:2016:i:144:p:165-197 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Trilce Navarrete & Karol J. Borowiecki, 2015. "Change in access after digitization: Ethnographic collections in Wikipedia," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-10-2015, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Oct 2015.
    3. Ajay Agrawal & John Horton & Nicola Lacetera & Elizabeth Lyons, 2015. "Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, pages 219-250 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Stéphanie Peltier & Françoise Benhamou & Mamoudou Touré, 2016. "Does the long tail really favor small publishers?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 40(4), pages 393-412, November.
    5. Marc Bourreau & Michel Gensollen & François Moreau & Patrick Waelbroeck, 2013. "“Selling less of more?” The impact of digitization on record companies," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 37(3), pages 327-346, August.
    6. Françoise Benhamou, 2015. "Fair use and fair competition for digitized cultural goods: the case of eBooks," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(2), pages 123-131, May.

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