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Creating more low-quality books through ChatGPT threatens the publishing industry
ChatGPT appears to be the most prolific author on Amazon, with more than 200 titles credited to the artificial intelligence program on the shopping site.
A salesman from Rochester, NY, Brett Schickler, gave ChatGPT prompts to write a 30-page illustrated children’s book called The Wise Little Squirrel: A Tale of Saving and Investing. Schickler, who had never written a book before, estimates he’s only made about $100 through the book’s sales.
Still, he seems inspired. “I could see people making a whole career out of this,” said Schickler. And apparently, other people have the same ideas, as several titles by ChatGPT have launched on the site’s self-publishing program, with several of them actually utilizing the AI to write about the AI (e.g. How to Write and Create Content Using ChatGPT). The rest appear to be other children’s books, guides and even a collection of poetry.
On the surface, this isn’t that much of a problem — the books aren’t selling much and ChatGPT is listed, at least on some titles, as the “author,” so it allows people to decide for themselves. The issue comes if and when major literary houses decide that AI has reached a point where it can replace humans.
“This is something we really need to be worried about, these books will flood the market and a lot of authors are going to be out of work,” said Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the writers’ group the Authors Guild. “There needs to be transparency from the authors and the platforms about how these books are created or you’re going to end up with a lot of low-quality books.”
Tutorials on using ChatGPT to publish books are popping up on YouTube, Reddit and TikTok; a person named Frank White recently uploaded a video on how he was able to utilize the AI to write an original novella called Galactic Pimp and publish it on Amazon for $1.
Currently, Amazon does not seem to be concerned. According to Amazon spokeswoman Lindsay Hamilton, all books in the store must comply with Amazon’s content guidelines, including intellectual property rights.