As imagined, AI-powered tools such as DALL-E 2 & ChatGPT are causing stirs in more industries. Now, it’s the world of indie publishing, more specifically, Amazon’s Kindle store. Normally a bastion where new writers can self-publish their work without the hurdles of traditional publishing, it’s being reported that AI-generated books are entering the market in force according to South China Morning Post.
While speaking with the Post, Brett Schickler, a salesman in Rochester, New York opened up about his use of ChatGPT to help him become a published writer. “The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible…I thought ‘I can do this.” He’s not the only one. According to the same article, ChatGPT has been used to create thousands of books that have been published on Amazon. Interestingly enough, the genres and topics covered by these AI-generated books are quite wide, ranging from self-help to cookbooks to romance novels.
In Schickler’s case, he was able to create a 30-page illustrated children’s e-book using simple prompts. What would normally take authors months, if not years, only took the Rochester native mere hours to accomplish. The book, “The Wise Little Squirrel: A Tale of Saving and Investing” was rendered using AI and the story revolves around the squirrel who learns the value of saving money from his forest friends. The character hopes that one day he’ll be able to invest his coin and buy an acorn grinding stone.
Though not exactly a smash hit, the book has already garnered the AI user around $100 dollars. This in turn has inspired him to use AI to achieve his dreams of creating more books. And in his view, others will follow suit, “I could see people making a whole career out of this.” One of the prompts used by Schickler on ChatGPT was “write a story about a dad teaching his son about financial literacy.”
And he might be right. According to the same article, there are over 200 e-books on Amazon’s Kindle store, as of today, which lists ChatGPT as an author or co-author. One can enter using the advance search bar of Amazon’s Kindle store and see for themselves that number is slowly climbing, which as of this writing stands at over 250 e-books with ChatGPT as an author or co-author. The process it seems isn’t all that hard.
In the video below, author, Frank White, shows how a book can be created in less than a day using AI-powered tools:
This is causing some authors to take notice and worry. Mary Rasenberger, executive director of the writer’s group Author’s Guild opened up with the New York Post about her concerns. “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.” In her view, the best policy should be transparency, “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.”
Much like with the art world since mid-2022, it seems the world of literature is seeing its own reckoning with artificial intelligence.