The Internet is a global village for him. Pirated copies of his books he sees as a compliment. DLD friend Paulo Coelho, interviewed by Die Zeit journalists Maximilian Probst and Kilian Trotier in today’s print edition, shares his thoughts on the digital revolution’s impact on communicating with readers.
Physical bookstores are still like temples. You dive in this magical, holy place filled with human imagination. Paulo Coelho, the Brazilian bestselling author of The Alchemist, walks in both worlds – online and offline. He is not afraid to sell his books for 99 cents at Amazon. He has more than 8.6 million fans on Facebook. More than 2 million people are reading his blog every month. And he has more than 4.7 million followers on Twitter.
Why isn’t he afraid, like so many of his colleagues, of this digital wall of fans?
Readers inspire him, Coelho admits. If it is a friend from Montenegro who tells him about his country’s legends. Or a Chinese he chats with but never met face-to-face. For him, it’s like meeting people in a digital bar.
And tweeting for him, like writing a blog post, is all part of the new digital world of literature and art.
Long live the “internetual”!
We should embrace new technology, and not be afraid of giants like Amazon taking it all. We want cheap books? He’s giving them to us. This way, you prevent people pirating your content. But even if people are illegally copying your books, you should be proud of it, take it as a compliment – a medal. Coelho wants as many people as possible reading his books. That’s his goal as an author.
His philosophy is like the one many journalists, musicians, artists have. We write, paint, compose because we have the urge to do so. It’s not about money. It’s not about what our bosses or publishers want. It’s about passion. If you are lucky, people around you see it as your gift. If not, you still need to do it. It’s part of you. Even more so when there are so many ways to express yourself, like on Twitter or a personal blog.
What else does the digital interconnectivity change?
The intellectual we knew is dead, he declares at the end of the Skype interview. Long live the “internetual”! He will change the way we write. More straightforward without being superficial.
This is how you keep the imagination of your reader alive.
Humanity transformed its way to tell stories, said Paulo Coelho in this ‘Disruption Talk‘ with Sean Parker at the DLD conference in 2011. We do change the way of how we share stories, but in the end all of what we do is to capture the human condition.
– Beatrice Jeschek
Original article posted on DLD.