The Long Tail is both a powerful new economic force in the entertainment industry and perhaps the best lens on a big new trend in the business world overall: the economics of abundance. From supermarket shelves to advertising agencies, the rise of the niche is changing everything, and causing us to rethink where our markets lie and how to get to them. Consider this example: In 1988, a British mountain climber named Joe Simpson wrote a book called Touching the Void, an account of near death in the Peruvian Andes. It was only a modest success and was soon forgotten. A decade later, Jon Krakauer wrote Into Thin Air, another book about a mountain-climbing tragedy, which became a publishing sensation. Suddenly Touching the Void started to sell again. What happened In short, Amazon recommendations. It created the Touching the Void phenomenon by combining infinite shelf space with real-time information about buying trends and public opinion. However, this is not just a virtue of online booksellersit is an example of an entirely new economic model for business, one that is just beginning to show its power. Unlimited selection is revealing truths about what consumers want and how they want to get it, from DVDs at Netflix to music videos on Yahoo! Launch to songs on the iTunes Music store and Rhapsody. If the 20th-century was about hits, the 21st will be equally about misses.