Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho does not mind that we get copies of his books for free.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock and do not know Coelho, he is the author of well known books such as “By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept”, “The Alchemist” and “Veronika Decides to Die.” Coelho has sold more than 100 million books in over 150 countries worldwide, and his works have been translated into 71 languages.

He also is a strong advocate of spreading his books through peer-to-peer file sharing networks.  When a fan posted a Russian translation of one of his novels online, sales of his book jumped from 3,000 to one million in three years, with no additional promotion or publicity from his publishers.

This is an excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s Blog:

“Please take note that the freebooks download is only available till the first week of January 2010. You can find the titles in PDF, Sony Reader, Kindle, and iPhone.”

He was asked in an interview why he’s giving away his books for free. He answered:

“First, because I need to write, and I write more than the market can absorb. Second, because I believe in free contents. Third, although I wish I could share all my books, the publishing houses have the translation rights. So these are the only ones that I have the translation rights to.”

It is important to note that Coelho is the only living author whose books have been translated in 67 languages and has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide, as awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records. Now, that’s a big feat. And very generous of him too to share his work with the public.

Recently, Coelho expressed support of the file sharing site, The Pirate Bay. The Swedish bit torrent site may be in hot water right now — with its founders facing jail time and needing to pay hefty fines (about US$4.2 million) for abetting copyright infringement — but Coelho still hosts most of his books there for free downloading. He says that his dream is to empower as many people as he can with his books.  And the good old days where ideas originated from a person are gone.

“The more often we hear a song on the radio, the keener we are to buy the CD. It’s the same with literature.

The more people ‘pirate’ a book, the better. If they like the beginning, they’ll buy the whole book the next day, because there’s nothing more tiring than reading long screeds of text on a computer screen.”

“Pirates of the world, unite and pirate everything I’ve ever written!”

 

Do you agree with him? Or disagree? Will you download his free books? Let us know what you think.

 

Related reading: Coelho’s Thoughts on Stop Online Piracy Act  (SOPA)