Author Paulo Coelho learned that a teenager in New Delhi was selling copies of his books. He could’ve gotten angry at the boy for selling these “pirated” copies in the streets, but instead, he shared the story on his Facebook page, congratulating the boy for finding an honest way to make money.
Coelho, a Brazilian novelist best known for his 1988 title, The Alchemist, learned of the young man selling his books yesterday.
However, he didn’t take legal action or call for the books to be taken from the boy. Instead, he posted this photo on his Facebook page, of the young man selling not only books by Coelho, but by others including John Green and Malala Yousafzai.
The smallest bookstore in the world, the arms of a teenager, has two of my titles. Thank you for the photo taken in Delhi, India, Jessica Senra.
(NOTE: I know that people call this “pirate” editions. But for me this is an honor, and an honest way for this young man to make money.)
Coelho isn’t the first author to express that there are limits to disapproval of pirating. However, this ties in neatly with his most recent blog post in which he talks of his pleasure in knowing that his books are touching people across cultures.
“When I realized my books were being read around the world – currently over 180 millions copies have been sold, and each book is read by an average of three people – I felt if I can share stories that touch the hearts of so many different people, then I can in some way collaborate to make improvements in this world. Each of those readers has a different background, from Iran, Israel, Iraq, Kurdistan, South Africa…but there is still a cultural bridge.”
The books the teenager is selling — Paulo Coelho’s Adultery, Chetan Bhagat’s Half Girlfriend, John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, I Am Malala, and others, certainly span a wide spectrum of cultures and cultural issues. If Coelho is giving this teen credit for sharing stories across cultural divides, the boy probably has a perfect selection.
Judging from the comments, many of Coelho’s readers agree that the boy is performing a service.
“This guy’s are really helpful, we can’t go to bookstores all the time to buy books, they are the easy stores.”
“I bought ‘The Alchemist’ from pirate.. n this post reminds me of buying that book out of my savings in footpath.”
There’s plenty of approval for Paulo Coelho too — the majority of his followers are telling him how much they appreciate his gracious attitude toward the young entrepreneur.
[Photo by: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]