I just found a great article on digg via TorrentFreak that talks about Paolo Coelho, the best selling author of "The Alchemist". Paolo has been distributing his books via BitTorrent and other file sharing networks for free. The great part is that the end result has been a huge boost in sales of his books, particularly in developing countries such as Russia (he's very popular there).
This is a great "new economy" story...give things away and watch people line up to buy them. Think about what you can give away for free and how you can efficiently distribute it to your target audience... the only catch is that it has to be something of real value, otherwise who cares?!
Since Paolo Coelho has been brought up, I 'd like to mention that he is one of my favorite authors. His books touch millions of people by giving them a perspective on spirituality in their daily lives, covering topics that are important to everyone; love, friendship, sex, personal and spiritual growth... I would recommend "The Zahir", "11 Minutes" and "Warrior of the Light: A Manual" to everyone. I carry Warrior of the Light with me almost everywhere I go.
Download the books for free using links on the Pirate Coelho Blog. Enjoy!