Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pirated Translations

I recently started getting the bi-monthly email newsletter called “Annogram”, sent out by Ann Cefola, whom I met at the AWP conference in January. The newest issue has the following interesting information:

Free translations lead to book sales

Thanks to translator Ruth A. Gentes Krawczyk ( for this fascinating piece of marketing insight:

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho has grown his readership with free translations. Fortune says, "Intrigued by his growing sales in Russia, Coelho used the Bittorrent site—a favorite for illicit distribution of media—to seek out and download online translations of his books as well as audio versions. By 2006 he was hosting an entire sub-site he called The Pirate Coelho, with links to books in many languages."

His newsletter is said to have 200,000 subscribers and Coelho indicates he gets about 1,000 e-mails from fans every day. "I don't understand why publishers don't understand that this new medium is not killing books," Coelho says. "I'm doing it mostly because the joy of a writer is to be read. But at the end of the day, you will sell more books."

I’ve heard a lot about the music and software industries being upset about torrents, but there hasn’t been as much news about how the publishing industry is dealing with this technology. So it is interesting to see what one author is doing with pirated trans
läted editions.


Sarah Alys said...

The video publishing industry (movies, TV shows, etc.) has been dealing with piracy and illegal distribution *in translation* for many years. With the internet, of course, it's exploded and become a big monetary issue that the industry is currently in the process of trying various different approaches to deal with. That's my industry, so I'm very familiar with the issues there, which means it's interesting for me to see the print version flipside.

B.J. Epstein said...

Thanks for your comment! I hadn't thought so much about it in regard to video publishing, so I am glad you brought that up. Can you say anything about how people are handling it in your industry?

Best wishes,