What do you get when you combine print-on-demand (POD) with the wealth of free information that's widely available on the web? How about a guy who has used both to produce more than 200,000 different titles on Amazon? If you want an example of the long tail in action, check out this quote: "the most popular of his books may sell hundreds of copies (while) many have sales in the dozens."
I had to check the story's date to make sure the following excerpt wasn't part of an April Fool's joke:
And he is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. "I've already set it up," he said. "There are only so many body parts."
Much of this content appears to be nothing more than an aggregation of web search results. In fact, when asked about one of his products, Philip M Parker, the man behind this initiative, admits in the article that "if you are good at the Internet, this book is useless."
While the value of the content in many of these 200K+ works is debatable, I can't help but wonder what the future looks like for this sort of approach. Mix in the promises of the semantic web and a few other clever algorithms and you might have something there. For more info, check out Parker's YouTube video, embedded below.