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  • Writer's pictureShanna Lutgert

The Rising Challenge of AI-Generated Books: Is Literature in Danger?

Updated: Oct 4, 2023


© Shanna Lungert

As artificial intelligence (AI) infiltrates the literary world of the Netherlands, questions arise about its effect on authors and readers, stirring debates on human creativity.


With the rise of AI, the world of literature also finds itself at a crossroad, battling between man and machine. The Dutch news channel BNR reported that hundreds of AI books flooded webshop Bol.com in the last few days. In February this year, Amazon experienced the same.


“Writing books with AI is now relatively easy,” Bart Brouwers, Media Studies Professor at Groningen University, says. He thinks this will have consequences for writers eventually, especially for those who didn't have a breakthrough yet. “Then, the idea of an automatically written book is a problem for you.”


People can write books with the use of AI within fifteen minutes and easily earn money that way, BNR reports. Whether writers are in trouble or not will depend on whether they keep up and defend themselves against AI writers.


It also depends on the category, because if the flow of fiction and romance books is not as good, it's not as bad as with non-fiction, Brouwers says. "You can just give ChatGPT an assignment to fix this, and if AI can’t generate emotion now, it will soon.”


“I’m scared that AI will replace everything”


On the opposite side, some think that AI cannot convey the same emotions a human writer can. "What does AI know about love? It's a feeling," Sam Collins (23), student at Groningen University with a love for romance books, says. “I wouldn’t want such a precious thing to get tainted by a computer,” she says.



Sam Collins wouldn't want romance books to get 'tainted by AI' © Shanna Lutgert


Collins also thinks there is an ethical standpoint where she feels the need to support human authors. “I see what AI does with art, and I’m scared that AI will replace everything.”


Nevertheless, she would be open to read an AI book. “Only out of pure interest because I want to compare it to regular books,” she says.


The Groninger has conducted a poll in which was asked whether people would read an AI-generated book or not. Of 60 responses, 37 percent said yes, 63 percent said no.


“AI is everywhere and it cannot be distinguished”


But how easily can AI be identified as an author, especially in literature? “It’s everywhere and it cannot be distinguished, which makes it a challenge for readers and writers,” Doris Weßels (61), AI expert at Kiel University, says. “We are far behind the technological development.”


Therefore, it is easy to copy the style of a famous author and produce very similar things, Weßels explains.


“The question is if we want to stop this development or establish rules to handle it,” she says. She explains that it’s challenging to make clear boundaries “because AI develops at a very high speed, which makes it exhaustive.”


AI considered an "online problem" for now


The difficulty of making rules for AI raises questions if not only web shops will be flooded with AI books, but also bookshops. “I think AI-generated books are currently more of an online problem," Leonie Piek (24), staff member of bookshop Van der Velde in Groningen, says.



Piek thinks AI-generated books are currently no threat for bookshops © Shanna Lutgert

There are many websites where people can sell books online, and these books are not checked on who wrote them at all, Piek stresses. “I think it will cause problems for writers eventually.”


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