Amazon Restricts Authors to Self-Publishing Three Books a Day

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As authors grapple with the anxiety of an impending AI takeover in the publishing world, Amazon wants you to know that it’s taking those concerns very seriously. The bookstore-turned-commerce giant has revealed a new self-publishing limit that cannot exceed three books per day.

Amazon announced the change on its Kindle Direct Publishing forum earlier this week saying that it would be “lowering volume limits” for new titles. The online retail giant told The Guardian that it previously had a more generous limit in place, but wouldn’t disclose what it was to the outlet. Amazon further said that it may change the three-titles-per-day limit if needed. The company said in its statement on the Kindle Direct Publishing forum that the change should not affect many publishers and authors will be able to apply for an exception.

“We are actively monitoring the rapid evolution of generative AI and the impact it is having on reading, writing, and publishing, and we remain committed to providing the best possible shopping, reading, and publishing experience for our authors and customers,” Amazon wrote in its release on the Kindle Direct Publishing forum. “While we have not seen a spike in our publishing numbers, in order to help protect against abuse, we are lowering the volume limits we have in place on new title creations.”

Amazon did not immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment on the new policy.

The new limit comes after a self-published book about the Maui wildfires this summer began making headlines last month. The book, titled Fire and Fury: The Story of the 2023 Maui and its Implications for Climate Change, is an 86-page narrative of the recent wildfires in Hawaii with reviewers claiming that the book “smells of AI.” The book’s description on its Amazon page uses the phrase “the book” to begin five of its seven sentences. The description also mentions that the book covers the timeframe of August 8th to 11th, despite the book itself being listed on Amazon on August 10th. Fire and Fury is credited to Dr. Miles Stones, who also has a profile on GoodReads, with all of their books having been published in or after June 2023. A majority of these books are nonfiction and feature clearly AI-generated art as well as overwhelmingly negative reviews.

AI has begun to infiltrate nearly every aspect of our workforce, with authors beginning to put their foot down over the technology. Comedian Sarah Silverman and authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadre are suing OpenAI and Meta over their large language models allegedly being trained with copyrighted material. While both OpenAI and Meta mention that they do not train on copyrighted material, the authors allege that some of the training data come from a shadow library of sources like Library Genesis, Z-Library, Sci-Hub, and Bibliotik, which are internet-based torrent repositories that include copyrighted books. In an exhibit from the author’s lawsuit, the plaintiffs asked ChatGPT to recite excerpts from Silverman’s book The Bedwetter, to which it relayed passages from the memoir verbatim.

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