Giving Books Away Online Increases Sales?

Can giving away a book online increase the sales of the printed version of the same book? I know that Seth Godin has done this, but for fiction?

Terry Whalin mentioned at the bottom of today’s post about author Paulo Coelho‘s strategy of giving his entire novel away free online to increase sales of his printed book.

Not only that, but he took a bolder step and actually got involved in gathering together different pirated versions of his books, and he says this helped his sales as well.

He claims to have sold over 100 million books, and all spurred by giving it away free. His book, the Alchemist, is ranked #159 on Amazon.

The Alchemist

Why does this work? Paulo says:

“It’s very difficult to read a book on your computer. People start printing out their own copies. But if they like the book, after reading 30-40 pages they just go out and buy it.”

This kind of makes sense. But then again, I cannot see a traditional publisher doing this! Not sure what to make of it.

To read more about this, go to John Kremer’s Book Marketing Bestsellers site and read his post, which Terry Whalin points to.

One MAJOR concern I have is that on Paulo Choelho’s site, he is only giving away the English language prologue of The Alchemist, while the Spanish and other languages has it in its entirety. If he believes in what he is saying, why doesn’t he have the Alchemist available in full in English? Is he implying that his technique only works in non-English speaking countries?

In fact, of all of his eleven books available on Amazon, none of them are available in their entirety in English. The only book he has in full online for English speakers is a collection of 110 short stories, which is not available on Amazon.

Maybe I missed a link or something, but all I can say is hmmmm … ?

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