This online scam can make scammers win big

Anyone can sell their book on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing platform. Control is weak. And potentially high profits: authors receive 70% of the sale price of the electronic version. If you search Amazon for “Paul Auster,” the writer who died on the evening of April 30, several biographies in English published the day after his death appear. They have 30 to 110 pages.

Here are the online scams to watch out for now

The inventions in the biography of Léon Gautier, a book signed by an unknown woman, “Grace Shaw”, most likely come from the creativity of ChatGPT. When the famous OpenAI software is forced to write long texts on specialized topics, it has no choice: it extrapolates and falls into fiction.

“Stereotypical scenario”

ChatGPT can help generate detailed timelines of a character’s life, suggest memorable events that may have influenced their development, and provide setting and background to add depth and cohesion to their story.“, we read in Martin Arellano’s guide “How to write books with ChatGPT”.

The paper itself, published on KDP in 2023, appears to have been written with the help of AI. Amazon pulled it from sale. And we can’t find any details about the biography of this very detailed author with half a dozen titles in the last year.

There are plenty of how-to books that promise to get rich by publishing such books. We learn to ask ChatGPT for a stereotypical script, then stick bits of the book behind us that also lack originalityAlexandre Gefen, director of research at CNRS, explains to AFP. “Children’s fiction fits well with what ChatGPT can do, which is moral, very positive, which produces short texts. But we are very far from the ingenuity necessary to create a new Harry Potter“, adds the author of “Life with ChatGPT”. The US online retail giant, whose bookstore was the first market in 1995, says it is taking action against the phenomenon of hastily written works.

Resumes for 50 cents

Last year, we began asking all publishers using our Kindle Direct Publishing service to indicate whether their content is generated using artificial intelligence, and further reduced the total number of titles that can be published per day.“, a spokesperson for Amazon France replied to AFP.

But this limit seems ridiculous to publishers, as the head of their professional organization Vincent Montagne suggested in mid-April. “If I remember correctly, Amazon even said “I ban the author from publishing more than three books a day”, which is still incredible” he declared about France Culture.

Second hand: beware of scams via “fake buyers”

Software like ChatGPT”reproduced“He believed only what he observed. That’s why the president of the National Association of Publishers said he was more concerned about the lack of rewards for real authors whose texts are driven by OpenAI machines than about competition from fake authors.

Some comply with the obligation to state that “this book was created by artificial intelligence”, a negligible part of the overall offer and which probably does not reflect the reality of a volume written mostly by ChatGPT. Amazon suggests that it has been hunting genres where ChatGPT is king, such as summaries of novels that have entered the public domain or “workbooks based on existing titles“.

According to Alexander Gefen in the literature, “it is not a massive and disturbing phenomenon. ChatGPT is currently unable to organize a comprehensive story that would garner many positive reviews“. But this way of writing”works well for some specific segments like 50 cent organic“.

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