Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, has pirated his own book and subsequently increased his sales by an astronomical amount. This is a news story you can find here

The linked story tells more in-depth about it and it also has an embedded video of Paulo Coelho giving a keynote speech where he discusses how pirating his own book increased his sales. The video is over 90 minutes long, but only the first 20 minutes is Paulo's speech. The story gives a good synopsis if you don't have time to watch the video.

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Hmm, I thought non-fiction was were most of the money went.
Well, as Barbara pointed out, it isn't so much, "instead of books," as it is, in addition to books.
No, my point was that I have a hard time believing that over half of the books sold were fiction. I would have thought that non-fiction has a disproportionately large share of the book market. Non-fiction, however, is nothing like fiction and doesn't help us with the decline in readership. Too many of those books are "how to" or picture books, or cook books and similar types that involve very little sustained reading.
You're right, of course, the non-fiction doesn't help us, but I think there's still some disagreement over whethor or not there is actually declining readership.
I'm intrigued by the term "copyright purists". I wonder what that actually means? To me, and to people like those behind Creative Commons, copyright is a tool, whereas it appears to me that many publishers and indeed authors see it as a weapon.

Good licenses, like CC and the software licenses such as GPL, rely heavily on copyright protection for their teeth, but in a slight twist on the normally accepted version where you use your rights to provide others with rights, rather than to take their rights away.

Cory stated at the Melbourne Writers Festival that no author that has gone down the path of releasing their work free on the internet (presumably with the CC license) has lost out by the act, and all have plans to do it again. If I remember correctly Cory stated that sales of his first book exceeded the publishers expectations by a factor of 6, because of the exposure of the free version.

Cory had a few theories for this, one of which resonated with me and that is that the average book buyer goes through 3 stages of life. The first is as a poor student who cannot afford books, so sticks to the library, downloads it for free, or photocopies his friends. These are never going to pay full price for a book. Then as the student graduates and gets a job, buying books is a natural extension of this maturity and they are the main source of income for authors. As the person gets older, and retires, they go back to libraries or second hand books, dropping out of the new book market. Publishing on the internet tends to pre-seed the up-and-coming book buyers with books they'd like to own, and therefore has a direct benefit in pre-marketing.
Interesting. Since I'll be closing my small press soon, maybe I'll just throw PDFs of my entire novels up on my site.
Al Greco and two other Fordham professors wrote the book with those stats. I interviewed Greco once. He's the number-cruncher behind the Book Industry Study Group and really knows his stuff. He gets very frustrated that the industry does so little to understand its market or promote reading.

Fwiw, I've seen statistics from several studies including some described in this book that say about half of men's book reading is fiction; 70% of women's book reading is fiction.

99% of my reading is fiction.
Those stats sound right to me. I gather that most readers are women over 50. But this does not mean that they buy those books. I think with Adam Donnison that the buyers come from that stressed-out but financially healthy group in the middle, the businessmen and career women who pick up a book in the airport or buy a thriller because their friends talk about it. And those folks are computer and gadget savvy, as is the coming younger generation -- provided they still know how to read.

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