Can I Help

As soon as he opened the church, a priest saw a woman come in, sit in the front pew and place her head between her hands. Two hours later, he noticed that the woman was still there, in the same position.

Concerned, he decided to approach her.

Can I do anything for you?” he asked.

No, thanks,” she answered. “I was already getting all the help I needed when you interrupted me.”

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.

Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”

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