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Paulo Coelho got quite some press exposure after his speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week — which he startet with a reference to the heretic Giordano Bruno. Quite purposefully, I think, as he goes along picturing himself as the “pirate Coelho” who is giving his books away for free, on the Internet and (good forbid) via peer-to-peer networks.

But Coelho went even further — he invited his readers to shoot films based on his novel The Witch of Portobello. The results of this competition can be found on his blog. Also, Coelho staged a virtual exhibition for readers sending him their photos of reading Coelho which he used as a backdrop for the Frankfurt Book Fair. There is the author connecting with his readership using the Internet.

So is he the new bad kid on the block or the (re-)inventor of the book in a world 2.0?

This is ‘The Author’s Rights Awareness Campaign’, and our message to the public is: ‘Texts don’t grow on trees. – It is all about authors’ rights. Respect the authors’ position. Get to know their economical situation – also and particularly in the digital era. Become their partners.’ Equally, our message to authors could be: ‘Texts don’t grow on trees. – It is all about your rights: Use your rights for bargaining. Make people your partners in text.’ Eventually it is your, the authors’ choice how you want to use your rights.