Knowledgeable in the fine arts is something one cannot call me. Nevertheless I have read Paulo Coelho’s the Alchemist and I am aware of that he has received used to think that he had received the Nobel Prize in literature.

Monday evening Martin Källström reported from the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in the super(secret) PPlist. According to DLD it is ”Europe’s conference for the 21st century, covering digital innovation, science and culture”. Martin was there, and according to another member of the list he was ”typing every second”.

So, here is my first point. Martin is educated , connected, and social. Even though he is in a meeting – he is conversing with the outside world. If that was not the case you would not have read this. Beyond that he is an entrepreneur (co-founder of Primelabs, commented by Techcrunch yesterday).

Martins report was one of the best of its kind (wide coverage, broad, quick, short, and focused). I found value in every word. Let me share what Martin wrote about Paulo Coelho’s session (I got Martin’s permission to republish it here). Coelho (conference bio)  presented in the Creating Universes track. Ignore Martin’s typos, this is not an excercise in English, it is immediate reporting. Hopefully DLD will publish videos from the sessions, including Coelho’s, in the near future.

Pauolo Coelho made a very interesting and catching talk about how he uses the internet in surprising ways for a writer. I didn’t write it down so here’s a summary from memory:

”For books, the Internet has an impact in three areas: Language, Distribution, Social Interaction.

Some people think that internet destroys or deteriorates language with people writing 4 instead of ”for” or U instead of ”you”. But language is a living thing, I do not think internet is destroying language. And the fact is that people are reading more now than they ever hav done.

And writing more, in emails and IM and so on.

I use internet for distribution. I released one book exclusively on the internet and we had an amazing 1 million downloads. But even though this is a very high number, I didn’r receieve a single comment on the book. No one was actually reading the book, In 2001 we had really no readers in Russia. My best seller The Alchemist was selling a 1000 copies per year. And then it was pirated on Bittorrent and people started to download it. The next year it sold 10 000 copies, the next year 100 000 copies and today we have sold over 10 million copies in Russia.

But when I wanted to start to distribute my books over the Internet my publishers told me that I donät have the rights to the translations and so forth. So what I did was that I collected all bittorrents of my pirated books and put them on a website called Pirate Coelho. And I started to link to this page from my own blog, I have a link on my main page. And people are downloading my books very much trough this site. But I can’t tell this to my publishers because I don’t have the rights. So whenever they create a translation of a book to a language, say Portuguese, I ask to review it before printing and then I immediately release it on Bittorrent. I don’t know if the publishers have spotted this scheme but at least they don’t say anything.

Being a writer is a very lonely business. You sit alone and write.

Internet allows social interaction and through my blog I now have houndreds of thousands of people contacting me. Last year I invited 10 of my readers to a party and this year it’s going to be a hundred readers at a party in Paris.

Time for my next point. It is not the Producers (publishers and authors) that are in the driving seat. This case is just another illustration. But what an illustration! And note the amount of braveness Coelho demonstrate. He must be very well aware of the dangers of telling folks outside the connected world, who through their disconnectedness probably have missed what Coelho has already done.

Too many book authors refuse to both utilize what consumers are doing with their work and are afraid of letting control. Most likely that crowd include writers of educational literature. Furthermore, school teachers are obsessed by correct spelling, without respect for the dynamic evolution of Language. That is why I qouted Coelho in my gig för IPON 2008 this morning.

Thank you Paul. Thank you Martin. You are more than I. As a result of your inspiring ventures We are growing. I wish political legislators would understand this view on the world, and not only the Publisher/Producers desperate attempts to preserve old thinking.

Meanwhile, you can taste Celho’s stuff at Pirate Coelho.