Consequences of a crowded channel
Millions of SKUs, each a distinct business
Many small retailers (plus a few big chains)
Every title clamors for attention
The dominant feature of the book trade is the astonishing number of distinct items that each merchant stocks.
Every book is its own business.
Few of the millions of individual businesses that make up the book world are large enough to benefit from advertising or from network effects. Gatekeepers, like Oprah, Book of the Month Club, and the Times are disproportionately important. Novelty is v