The best-selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho told the audience of the Digital Life Design conference last week in Munich that he has been secretly helping online book pirates - and in turn has gotten thousands and thousands of new readers.
Coelho said that he had some great experiences with free promotional book downloads, but oftentimes foreign publishers wouldn't support the idea of giving away his books. So he got creative and mingled with the pirates.
Coelho went to Torent sites and downloaded copies of his books in all kinds of different languages. He then started a Wordpress blog called Pirate Coelho and uploaded all those pirated copies there, free to download for everyone. Of course, he had to make some publicity for this site, so he decided to "find" it himself. From his keynote speech:
"We put up a link on the blog, like I was very surprised. (...) The link is on the main page of my blog. I have to play a little bit naive, that I don't know. But people go there, they download the book, and, believe it or not: The sales of the book increased a lot."
Paulo Coelho has sold over 100 million books worldwide, and his works have been translated into 66 languages. He told his audience in Munich that he believes authors can benefit from following his example and giving away their works:
"At the end of the day people are going to buy it because it stimulates people to read and it simulates people to buy."