Authors Confront the Surge of AI-Generated ‘Scam’ Books on Amazon

Authors Confront the Surge of AI-Generated ‘Scam’ Books on Amazon

March 14, 2024

Amazon has implemented a new policy requiring authors to disclose if their books contain content produced by artificial intelligence (AI) before selling them on its e-book platform. This move comes in response to concerns raised by influential tech journalist Kara Swisher, among others, regarding the proliferation of AI-generated “scam” books that mimic genuine works, potentially diverting sales from original authors.

Swisher, who experienced firsthand the impact of these counterfeit books with the release of her own work, “Burn Book,” took her grievances directly to Amazon’s CEO, Andy Jassy. Despite her ability to have the fake biographies removed, many authors, who do not have direct access to Amazon’s leadership, continue to struggle with this issue.

The Authors Guild, represented by CEO Mary Rasenberger, has highlighted the growing problem of scam books on Amazon, noting an increase in companion books designed to siphon sales from genuine works. Writer Marie Arana experienced this when her book “LatinoLand: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority” was released, only to find a summary book by “Clara Bailey” appearing alongside her original work, misleading potential readers.

The issue extends beyond financial losses for authors, posing a risk to their reputations as well. Publishing industry analyst Jane Friedman discusses the impact of fraudulent books on professionals’ credibility, especially for those who rely on their written work for income through other channels such as newsletters and classes.

Looking forward, authors and industry experts are concerned about the evolving capabilities of AI, which may make it increasingly difficult to distinguish between genuine and AI-generated content, threatening the integrity of authorship and publishing.

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