Until recently, Brett Schickler never imagined he could be a published author, though he had dreamed about it. But after learning about the ChatGPT artificial intelligence program, Schickler figured an opportunity had landed in his lap.
“The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible,” said Schickler, a salesman in Rochester, New York. “I thought ‘I can do this.’”
Using the AI software, which can generate blocks of text from simple prompts, Schickler created a 30-page illustrated children’s e-book in a matter of hours, offering it for sale in January through Amazon.com Inc’s self-publishing unit.
Now ChatGPT appears ready to upend the staid book industry as would-be novelists and self-help gurus looking to make a quick buck are turning to the software to help create bot-made e-books and publish them through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing arm. Illustrated children’s books are a favorite for such first-time authors. On YouTube, TikTok and Reddit hundreds of tutorials have spring up, demonstrating how to make a book in just a few hours. Subjects include get-rich-quick schemes, dieting advice, software coding tips and recipes.
“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 writers’ group the Authors Guild. Ghostwriting – by humans – has a long tradition, she said, but the ability to automate through AI could turn book writing from a craft into a commodity.