Authors Concerned as AI-Generated Books Fill Amazon Shelves Again

Authors Concerned as AI-Generated Books Fill Amazon Shelves Again

Amazon is cracking its whip on AI generated books after authors raised concerns with the e-commerce platform over what they term reputational harm and the potential impact on sales.

This is not the first time Amazon is forced to take action against deceptive publishers. Last year AI generated books also flooded the platform forcing the company to act resulting in thousands of books removed from its shelves.

The deceptive practices irk the author community

The rise in generative AI has come with benefits and disadvantages too. The technology makes it easier for unskilled professionals to produce work of art, compose lyrics, prose, poems, and books. AI tools like ChatGPT allow users to generate blocks of text from a simple text prompt.

This has resulted in deceptive publishers flooding Amazon with their AI written books, sparking an outcry among authors calling on the e-commerce platform to act. There has been an increase in the proliferation of fake biographies, copycat work, and unauthorized summarized books.

Now there are concerned that the AI books are a mimicry of the authors’ original works which may undercut their sales as well as damaging their reputation.

Recently, tech journalist Kara Swisher had an encounter with AI generated biographies on the online marketplace, subsequently bringing the issue to light. One of the AI generated biographies were about herself, which made her quickly notify the Amazon CEO Andy Jussy.

Although the books were removed, it sparked widespread concerns among authors over the rise in such deceptive practices.

According to Cryptopolitan, another writer identified as Marie Arana also saw her book “LatinoLand: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority,” summarized and appearing on the platform under a different name.

Also Read: Google Bans AI chatbot Gemini From Responding To Inquiries About The 2024 Election

Advocacy groups pressure Amazon to act

Responding to authors’ outcries, their representative bodies such as the Authors Guild have also piled pressure on Amazon to reign in on the matter and bring sanity to the authors’ community.

Amazon spokesperson Lindsay Hamilton highlighted the online marketplace’s steps and measures to address the matter that include prevention of listing deceptive books, coupled with removal of any book that violets its guidelines.

Hamilton also emphasized the company’s pledge to keep a positive customer experience stating publisher accounts may be suspended in the event of repeated abuse.

Last year, Amazon implemented several measures including a requirement for publishers to use Kindle Direct Publishing to show if their work is AI generated or not.

The company also imposed a limit of three titles that could be published in a single day. In a peculiar case, about 15 AI generated books written by someone using the pseudonym “Steven Walryn’ were published in a single day, only to be taken down by Amazon.

Jane Friedman, a writing and publishing industry analysts spoke of the compromised quality of such works, which she said “often need more authenticity of human-authored content.”

Friedman added such practice potentially harms authors’ reputations, especially whenever readers encounter substandard content attributed to the authors.

Another industry expert, Authors Guild CEO Mary Rasenberger concurred, adding the prevalence of AI written books does not pose challenges to authors alone but also to platforms like Amazon itself.

A need for continued vigilance

While Amazon has made efforts to curb the problem authors have emphasized the need to keep a watchful eye on trends that may lead to a rise in the deceptive practices.

This comes as authors and other industry experts are mindful of the adverse impacts that AI generated books have on the industry, thus the need to stay ahead of the rising threats.

However, Rasenberger warned detecting AI content may become difficult as AI tools increasingly become more sophisticated.

Writers like Friedman are already looking at ways to safeguard against future risks while upholding the “integrity of the publishing industry.”

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.