Alchemist concocts a new business model for books
Paul Cohelo, best-selling author of The Alchemist, uploads pirate copies of his own books because it helps him sell more physical copies.
In a keynote speech at the Digital, Life, Design conference in Munich, Cohelo talked about how uploading the Russian translation of â€œThe Alchemistâ€ made his sales in Russia go from around 1,000 per year to 100,000, then a million and more. He says:
“In 2001, I sold 10,000 hard copies. And everyone was puzzled. We came from zero, from 1000, to 10,000. And then the next year we were over 100,000â€¦ I thought that this is fantastic. You give to the reader the possibility of reading your books and choosing whether to buy it or notâ€¦ So, I went to BitTorrent and I got all my pirate editionsâ€¦ And I created a site called The Pirate Coelho.”
Coelho is convinced, and I agree with him, that giving people free electronic copies of his books helps physical sales. I’m hoping we can do something similar with The Pirate’s Dilemma at some stage. But I’d rather get my publishers to come to the table on this idea instead of going behind their backs. While I have no problem with free/pirate copies of my book circulating, I wouldn’t put them out there myself the way Coelho did, against the wishes of his publisher, out of respect for the time and effort the many people at the publishers put in. I suspect Coelho’s publisher let him get away with this for the same reason Micheal Jordan got away with playing baseball. But the strategy has clearly worked.