AI-generated scam books stir controversy on Amazon

Tech journalist Kara Swisher’s new book, Burn Book, has sparked controversy in the publishing world due to the emergence of AI-generated scam books on Amazon, per Swisher, known for her influential role in the tech industry, expressed frustration after discovering fake biographies attributed to her on the platform.

In a statement to The New York Times’ Hard Fork podcast, Swisher criticised Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, saying, “You’re costing me money,” referring to the impact of these fraudulent books on her sales. While Swisher managed to have the fake books removed, the issue highlights a broader concern for authors facing similar challenges without direct access to Amazon executives.

Mary Rasenberger, CEO of the Authors Guild, voiced long-standing concerns about scam books on Amazon, noting a recent surge in such practices. She pointed out the detrimental effects on legitimate authors, including loss of sales and reputation damage.

One such author, Marie Arana, shared her experience with NPR after discovering a counterfeit summary of her book, LatinoLand, on Amazon. The unauthorised book, titled “America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority: A Summary of Latinoland” by Clara Bailey, was among several similar works flagged for removal.

Industry experts like Jane Friedman highlighted the distinct quality gap between AI-generated content and human-authored works, underscoring the need for stricter measures to curb such fraudulent practices. Amazon’s response included implementing policies requiring publishers to disclose AI-generated content and imposing limits on daily publications.

Despite these efforts, concerns remain about the evolving sophistication of AI tools used to create deceptive books. Rasenberger warned of ongoing challenges in identifying and combating these scams effectively.

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