Books: Does piracy now = marketing?

Torrentfreak has the fascinating tale of an author — Brazilian-born “magical realist” novelist Paulo Coelho — who has been busily “pirating” his own books, including setting up a dedicated website to point potential readers to BitTorrented copies of his various novels. Coelho says in a video at the Digital, Life and Design conference in Munich (which I’ve embedded below) that when he uploaded Russian versions of his books to P2P networks, his sales started to skyrocket in Russia.

As Mike notes at Techdirt, this is more evidence that peer-to-peer networks and other methods of “piracy” can actually be used as alternative marketing and distribution methods. Coelho isn’t the only one experimenting with P2P networks and giving away his books — Techdirt has also written about other authors that have done the same thing, including Charles Sheehan-Miles, who notes that obscurity is much worse than piracy.

Mike also mentioned in a comment on my earlier music-related post that author David Levine, an economics professor and an expert in game theory and intellectual property, has put his new book Against Intellectual Monopoly up in PDF format on his website for anyone to download. Prof. Levine looks at why copyright, patents and other mechanisms for protecting intellectual property don’t actually do what they claim, and in fact have a largely negative effect on society in general.


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