You don’t need to search for long to realize that AI-generated ebook spam is the newest scam on the Amazon Kindle Store.
It only took me a few minutes to find thousands of them, all published within the last few months.
The main giveaways are usually no reviews, no author page, trashy book covers, and some authors (sic) are bold enough to add ChatGPT as the co-author.
During my research for this article, one ebook scammer published three new ebooks.
Ebook spam is polluting the Kindle Store
I can’t think of a better word than polluting. The Kindle Store is for books, authors, and readers.
But how can you class junk AI text produced in a few minutes as a book worth reading?
And worse, how can someone who produces this rubbish be labeled an author?
But that’s what shows on the Kindle store. It’s garbage, but Amazon allows these ebook spammers to publish with KDP at an astonishing rate.
AI technology has only been with us for a short while, so this is only the beginning.
ChatGPT is clearly the most popular free AI generation tool, and it started the rush to publish AI ebooks.
But new variations and AI writing apps are popping up all the time.
The Authors Guild took to Twitter (X) to air its concerns about a new program, GPT-Author.
It claims it can produce the text and a book cover for fiction novels in only a few minutes. Not only that, it will also output to Epub and upload to the Kindle Store.
As I write this article, which will take me at least two hours, I wonder how much AI-generated ebook spam will be published on Amazon.
Finding ebook spammers on Amazon
The quickest giveaway is the inferior quality of book covers AI spammers produce.
Here’s one that caught my attention.
The book is ranked number three in the top 100 free ebooks.
I quickly checked other books by the same publisher.
The list of all the books is too long to show you in one screenshot.
But there were around thirty titles with the publishing dates within a few weeks of each other.
Also, notice that there are no reviews for any of the titles.
Another factor is the book covers.
These are typical of AI spam ebooks.
My next stop was to check new releases on Amazon.
Again, this was a long list with similar poor-quality covers and no reviews, so it’s a list of mostly spam ebooks.
Use advanced search to find scammers
Amazon’s advanced search is another way to find ebook scammers.
Unfortunately, Amazon removed the link from the main menu, but it still appears if you search in books, not ebooks.
But if you can’t find it, here is the link.
Now, you can search a little more deeply.
It helped me find a prolific AI ebook scammer. In an earlier article, I mentioned that he had published over 500 titles.
Well, he has been even more prolific with almost 2,000 ebooks, all published within the last few months.
The strange part is that this guy unashamedly lists ChatGPT as his co-author.
I don’t think I need to give you more examples to understand that junk ebook spam is now rife on the Kindle Store.
What’s the attraction for spammers?
Money! Simple as that.
It’s not about selling ebooks but profiteering from Kindle Unlimited (KU) and KENP page reads.
Amazon search works very much the same as Google. When someone is looking for an answer, Amazon returns suggestions.
A reader with a KU subscription who searches for a topic can read a few pages of an ebook to see if it’s what they are looking for.
Even if they discover that a book is rubbish, those few page reads reward scammers with an income.
So it’s not about reading books, only pages. And that’s how ebook spammers make money.
But also keep in mind that Amazon also makes money for every page read of a spam ebook, and that’s an issue to consider.
What is Amazon doing about it?
Judging by my research, not a lot just yet.
However, you can find many articles about the problem, and included in some are responses from Amazon.
According to an article on Axios, an Amazon spokesperson stated:
“Amazon doesn’t prohibit AI-generated book content but works created using AI sometimes intersect with violations, including not complying with intellectual property rights and misleading and “disappointing” customers.”
Another article on Techradar asked for a response from Amazon regarding the problem.
“We have clear content guidelines governing which books can be listed for sale and promptly investigate any book when a concern is raised. We invest heavily to provide a trustworthy shopping experience and to protect customers and authors from abuse.”
I also checked the content guidelines on Amazon KDP.
There is no mention whatsoever of using artificial intelligence to produce books.
As an aside, I also tried to find any mention regarding AI writing on Apple Books but came up with a blank.
Where will ebook spam end?
It’s early days, but at the current rate, the Kindle Store will be awash with trashy ebook spam very soon.
When it takes a genuine author months to write and publish a book but only minutes for AI junk titles, the sheer numbers will turn the Kindle Store into a spammer’s paradise.
Until Amazon takes firm action against AI-generated ebook spam, there will be no end to this sorry state.
Right now, it’s bad for authors, bad for readers, and bad for Amazon.
AI-generated ebook spam is annoying for everyone except the spammers and perhaps Amazon’s profit line.
It’s truly difficult to understand why Amazon is dragging its feet on taking action.
If allowed to continue, the only possible result will be a loss of exposure and income for genuine authors, who painstakingly write every word in their books.
In fact, the downward trend in Kindle Unlimited royalties is already being felt by real authors, with rates falling from $0.0058 to now only $0.0039 per page read.
Laws and government legislation can’t keep up with advances in AI technology. It will be years before we see any action regarding copyright infringement, and even then, it will be too little, too late.
The only hope to stop ebook spammers is for Amazon, Apple, Google, and all other ebook publishers and retailers to say no.
Readers, book buyers, and the Internet in general don’t need this AI-generated rubbish.
Someone has to put their foot on the brake, and if Amazon did so, it would be a good start.
Related Reading: Amazon Can Penalize Authors Because Of Ebook Piracy