Angela Gentile is a counselor with over 25 years experience working in both public and private healthcare. Angela has taken her ample experience and first hand knowledge to write and self published seven books. A few weeks ago, Angela reached out to Goodereader after reading our pieces on AI books to share her personal story of her books being plagiarized by someone using AI. I recently sat down with Angela to talk about her experience.
Please walk me through what happened.
Angela: “As I was preparing for a presentation on Alzheimer’s and dementia last week, I went to look at my book reviews and star ratings on Amazon. I typed in my book, Caring for a Husband with Dementia, and another book popped up that looked very similar. Since my books are niche, I was a little surprised to see another book with such a similar title to mine. As I read the book overview, I was absolutely floored. It was worded slightly different- but it was my work.”
What did you do next?
Angela: “I was in shock, so I called my husband into the room to double check what I was seeing. We decided to order a copy of the book and when it arrived, I saw my writing and photos; my heart sank. The formatting was a bit off, but it was my work. I think it was a sort of cross between my writing and what an AI generated work would come up with; an AI/Cloning Hybrid Plagiarism.”
What did you find when researching?
Angela: “In the process of searching, I have found books by other authors that follow the same pattern. It appears that ebooks have been pirated and the scammers have gotten around the plagiarism rules by using AI. The AI-generated introduction, which appears to be a 500 (or so) word summary of the book, passes the Amazon plagiarism checks. The title, author, and book cover are different, so all the checks that Amazon uses don’t catch it.”
Angela: “I started out with the regular Amazon customer service number and got passed around to five or six different people- they couldn’t help me. So I did everything online and never got to talk to anyone about it. I submitted a copyright infringement report to Amazon for the first fake book and it has since been taken down. I am now working with goodreads.com to get it removed from their website, too. Amazon has told me that I will be compensated for any sales the fake book got, but I have no way of knowing that number.”
Do you think Amazon’s new guidelines about “AI Self-Declaring” will help?
Angela: “Maybe, but people can still lie. This is a huge issue, I can see how it’s snowballing into our everyday lives now. More protection is needed for authors, sellers, and consumers.”
What do you plan on doing next?
Angela: “Thanks to the fast growing field of AI, with regulations still catching up, criminal activity and robbery is taking place right under our noses. This needs to be exposed so that the public is aware. This experience made me feel helpless, so I decided to try to connect with other authors, in order to get the word out. I started a Facebook page with the books I have found that follow the same “recipe” that bypasses all of Amazon’s plagiarism scans. I have been focusing on the self-help type books as that’s my genre- but there are most likely other genres that have been targeted.”
How has this experience affected you?
Angela: “I was shocked, dumbfounded, and sickened. I felt like I had been robbed. It felt like a violation, even more so since my personal bio information, acknowledgements and dedication, had all been scrubbed. After a while, it all started to sink in and I felt angry. I wanted to see if anyone else was dealing with this. I have since found one other copy of a book that plagiarized mine and I am on the hunt for more.”
What do you think about AI?
Angela: “I can understand why the Hollywood writers are on strike. AI has presented some very real concerns and it is affecting writers. I’m sure it’s got some good applications, and I wouldn’t mind if my work was used- just give me the credit that’s due and reference my work properly.”
What do you think it’s going to take to see some change? What would you like to see?
Angela: “I would like to see all the authors who’ve been plagiarized gather and form a class action lawsuit against Amazon. I honestly don’t think Amazon cares. I would also like to see law enforcement track down who’s using the AI and charge them directly. Mostly, to be honest, I just don’t want to lose my love of writing and the urge to share my knowledge with others in order to help people.”
Angela G. Gentile, M.S.W., R.S.W. has more than 25 years of experience working with older adults and their families in a variety of capacities. She is currently building a thriving private practice and includes Brainspotting in addition to her regular psychotherapy. In 2021, she started up a little hobby business called Gentle Angel Treasures which offers handcrafted bracelets and jewelry made from crystal healing gemstones.
Angela has written 7 books, countless articles, contributed to two books, and co-authored a mobile app called Dementia Caregiver Solutions.
Angela is married, has two adult children, and lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba. When she is not working, she enjoys writing, traveling, photography, and exploring what it means to age well. www.angelaggentile.com
An avid book reader and proud library card holder, Angela is new to the world of e-Readers. She has a background in education, emergency response, fitness, loves to be in nature, travelling and exploring. With an honours science degree in anthropology, Angela also studied writing after graduation. She has contributed work to The London Free Press, The Gazette, The Londoner, Best Version Media, Lifeliner, and Citymedia.ca.