ChatGPT Is Now a Published Author of Over 200 Books on Amazon

The language model is credited as the writer on several titles, including children's books

A book of poems lies on a screen on which the homepage of ChatGPT is called up. ChatGPT is being used to write books that are available on Amazon.
That book of poetry? It may have been written by AI.
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

The most prolific author on Amazon appears to be people utilizing the language model ChatGPT to ghost-write books, with over 200 titles available on the shopping site that list the artificial intelligence program as the author.

Reuters recently profiled Brett Schickler, a salesman in Rochester, NY, who gave prompts to ChatGPT 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 (and to note, he does not list ChatGPT as a co-author of the book).

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.

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“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.

For now, Amazon doesn’t seem too concerned. “All books in the store must adhere to our content guidelines, including by complying with intellectual property rights and all other applicable laws,” Amazon spokeswoman Lindsay Hamilton told Reuters. (Also of note: The Wise Little Squirrel book currently has a 1.9 out of 5 stars rating from consumers, although there are admittedly only four reviews.)

As long as these books are properly labeled and part of Amazon’s self-publishing milieu, this might be more of a novelty at the moment. And we still approve of ChatGPT as a tool, even in publishing — but given that the program is still riddled with mistakes and odd errors, skilled human writers and editors are still 100% necessary, even for the most mundane of guides (or bad space erotica).

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