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With his 1988 novel “The Alchemist” among the most-widely read novels of all time, Paulo Coelho is a publisher’s dream – except for the fact he doesn't mind giving away his books for free.
Coelho, whose work has been translated into 67 languages, earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, has emerged as an unlikely promoter of pirated Internet versions of his own works.
There again, to anyone who has read “The Alchemist” – an allegorical tale of one boy’s quest to follow his dreams and fulfill his destiny – this mission to give away his writing should make complete sense.
Despite being a successful songwriter, Brazil-born Coelho says he always wanted to be a writer – eventually penning “The Alchemist” in 1988. The novel initially had a small print run, but snowballed into a global bestseller to rival the likes of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code.”
Now a household name – and a United Nations messenger for peace – Coelho has emerged as an outspoken supporter of the Internet, seeing it as a useful tool for distributing his work to an even wider readership.
“I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it,” he said after revealing that he had been directing his readers to Web sites where they can download his books without paying.
What do you think of Coelho’s writing and his philosophies? Send us your comments, questions for Coelho and we’ll put them to him when he appears on the program on Monday.