With the rise of print-on-demand technology, it’s become easier to print and sell books. For a number of authors and independent publishers, this has been hugely beneficial, allowing a wider range of work to reach a potentially wider audience. But there’s a downside to this — with the rise of AI technology
, it’s led to a lot of AI-generated books rising on the sales charts on Amazon
A recent report in the New York Times
suggests that this new technology is also being used by scammers to create realistic-sounding travel guidebooks that are not particularly useful — and may be credited to nonexistent writers.
Have bookish scams reached a new market? As Seth Kugel and Stephen Hiltner report
, Amazon listings have begun featuring a number of highly-rated books by legitimate-sounding writers that don’t hold up to much scrutiny.
The article cites one book in particular, titled France Travel Guide
and ostensibly written by one Mike Steves, whose biography sounds uncannily similar to that of beloved travel writer Rick Steves — and whose author photo appears to have been generated using AI.
Was the book useful? One buyer offered the Times
a candid review: “It seemed like the guy just went on the internet, copied a whole bunch of information from Wikipedia and just pasted it in.”