To combat the utter avalanche of AI-generated ebooks, Amazon is doing something about it. They have limited self-published ebooks to only three a day. Why are they doing this now? There have been several high-profile cases where AI books have increased the Amazon website. This past June, their bestseller pages were taken over by ebooks written by ChatGPT and other AI writing tools, and customers were up in arms due to the books being nonsensical. At the beginning of the year, more books were written by AI than by humans.
Some of the books available on Amazon were purported to be guides for foraging wild mushrooms. When mycology enthusiasts looked over the books, they discovered that the likely AI-generated guides misidentified fungi – with potentially deadly errors. When many news publications reached out to Amazon for comment, they deleted the books.
“While we have not seen a spike in our publishing numbers, to help protect against abuse, we are lowering our volume limits on new title creations,” Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s e-book platform, announced Monday.
In Monday’s announcement, Amazon said they did not expect many publishers to be impacted by the policy change. Authors can also seek an exemption from the rule if necessary. “We will continue to keep the interests of our authors, publishers, and readers at the forefront of our thinking and decision-making,” the company said.
I have been firmly against self-publishing authors for a long time. They have constantly abused and always devised new methods to game the system. Some enrol their books in Kindle Unlimited and trick users into scrolling to the end of the book to “win a prize” or win “free Amazon gift cards.” Since doing this at the time counted as a fully read book, the author would be paid. Amazon then changed the system to a certain number of pages read to count as a “sale.” Anyone with a word processor could play at a writer and pump out as many low-quality books as they want, which polluted the Amazon ecosystem, putting barriers in place for legitimate book buyers to find a compelling new title. Now, with basically the same authors using Chatgpt, they no longer have to write books; enter a subject, and the text will be generated. Some readers will fall for niche topics, where there aren’t that many new books being published.
Amazon’s new policy change for Kindle Direct Publishing is a welcome one. It not only stems the tide of real authors spamming out crappy books but also limits the number of ones written by ChatGPT or other writing bots.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.