Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is Counter Intuitive

I was reading an article in Newsweek over the weekend. The more I read, the more I muttered, No, this is nuts. By the end, I’d decided that, at the least, it’s totally counter intuitive.

The article, “Free Speech,” focuses on author Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist) and his recently revealed passion for putting his books online for free. This is not to say he doesn’t sell his books – he’s sold more than 100 million copies, in fact. But he doesn’t just say, it’s okay with me if you download my book instead of buying a copy. He works at making his books available online. He has a website that searches for sites that offer his books free. He pays scouts around the world to find where his books are available online.

And he’s convinced that offering his books for free has increased his sales. And … he’s just gotten around to telling his publisher what’s he’s been doing. And, so far, they haven’t tried to stop him. Of course, it helps that “Coelho owns all of the digital rights to his work, except for his contract for English editions with HarperCollins.” On the other hand, his publisher could take action to limit the distribution or to fix the distribution so copies couldn’t be shared. But so far, they haven’t. And Coelho doesn’t think publishers should be worried.
A collection of short stories Coelho wrote specifically for the Internet in 2000 was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times, but not a single reader took up his invitation to comment on it. Readers only began writing in when some of the stories appeared, six years later, in the book "Like a Flowing River," which sold 180,000 copies in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking territories.

It shouldn’t be working that way. And yet …


  1. hello!
    I'm a big Paulo Coelho's fan and I don't know if you heard about his blog
    I've started as a fan and now I'm collaborating with him and thought that you would like to enter his universe.
    Check the blog.
    if you want, or subscribe to his newsletter
    You'll see a community of warriors of light sharing ideas, dreams and most importantly following their personal legend.


    "In love lies the seed of our growth. The more we love, the closer we are to the spiritual experience"

    Have a nice day!


  2. And there you have it -- another reason why his books sell so well. Wonderful fans who start blogs and newsletters. Love it!


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