AI books falsely written under author’s name found for sale on Amazon

AI books falsely written under author's name found for sale on Amazon

The Rise of AI-Generated Books: A Threat to Authors and the Publishing Industry

image source

In a shocking revelation, author Jane Friedman recently discovered that several books falsely attributed to her had been uploaded to Amazon. This incident has once again brought to light the issue of AI-generated content, which not only infringes upon copyright but also spreads misleading or fraudulent material that can damage the reputation of writers.

Friedman, known for her extensive writings on the media and publishing industry, stumbled upon this discovery while checking her Goodreads profile. She was horrified to find “a cache of garbage books” uploaded to Amazon under her name. Suspecting AI-generated content, Friedman explained in a blog post titled “I Would Rather See My Books Get Pirated Than This (Or: Why Goodreads and Amazon Are Becoming Dumpster Fires)” why she believed these books were not written by her.

“I’ve been blogging since 2009—there’s a lot of my content publicly available for training AI models,” Friedman mentioned. As soon as she started reading the first pages of these fake books, she noticed similarities to the ChatGPT responses she had generated herself. This experience solidified her belief that these books were indeed AI-generated.

By Tuesday, the books had been removed from both her Goodreads profile and Amazon. However, the incident had already gone viral, once again raising concerns about AI-generated content using an artist’s name without permission or credit. Apart from copyright infringement, this unethical practice poses serious risks by spreading misleading or fraudulent information that can harm the reputation of authors.

While Friedman’s immediate issue was resolved, she addressed the need for platforms like Goodreads and Amazon to develop methods to verify the legitimacy of books and allow authors to block falsely attributed listings. Without such mechanisms, authors are burdened with the responsibility of policing websites for fraudulent books. “How can anyone reasonably expect working authors to spend every week for the rest of their lives policing this?” Friedman voices her frustration in her blog post.

Moreover, the repercussions are not limited to authors alone. Readers who have unknowingly purchased these AI-generated books might be left disappointed and dissatisfied. Another author even reached out to Friedman, revealing that she had to report 29 illegitimate books to Amazon. This shows the scale of the problem and the urgent need for platforms to address it.

Interestingly, Friedman’s ordeal was not without initial resistance from Amazon. They initially insisted that the books could only be taken down if her name was trademarked. It was only because of her visibility and established reputation as an author that Amazon ultimately took action. However, this incident highlights a disturbing question: How long until it happens again? What about authors who lack the ability to raise a big red flag like Friedman?

The rise of AI-generated books poses a significant threat to the publishing industry and the integrity of its content. Authors and platforms must work together to develop robust systems for verifying book legitimacy and preventing the proliferation of fraudulent material. This issue should not be taken lightly, as it has the potential to undermine the trust and credibility of both authors and the publishing industry as a whole.

In conclusion, the incident involving Jane Friedman and the AI-generated books falsely attributed to her serves as a wake-up call for the publishing industry. It underscores the urgent need for platforms to take responsibility in ensuring the authenticity of book listings and protecting authors from the damaging effects of AI-generated content. By addressing this issue head-on, we can safeguard the integrity of literary works and uphold the trust of readers worldwide.