As of Wednesday, Amazon appeared to be in the process of removing dozens of titles that had secured spots in the section’s “top 100” by way of “click farming”—that is, hiring low-wage workers to click links over and over again to boost a product’s views.
Titles include the likes of When the three attacks, Apricot bar code architecture, The journey to becoming enlightened is arduous, Department of Vinh Du Stands in Front of His Parents’ Tombstone and Jessica’s Attention.
Caitlyn Lynch, an independent author, suggested that AI has fundamentally altered the way that Amazon works.
“The AI bots have broken Amazon,” Lynch wrote in a tweet on Monday.
The AI bots have broken Amazon.
Take a look at the Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks top 100 chart.
I can see 19 actual legit books.https://t.co/fy9rtV6Ck6
The rest are AI nonsense clearly there to click farm.@AmazonKDP what are you doing about it? pic.twitter.com/cziuKcQrq3
— Caitlyn Lynch aka Catherine Bilson (@caitlynlynch6) June 26, 2023
According to Lynch, only 19 out of the top 100 books in the “Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks” section were written by living authors during a recent review of the site.
All of the others were allegedly written by artificial intelligence bots.
Many of the books contained poorly-written and raunchy passages. The opening lines of Apricot bar code architecture, for example, were: “Black lace pajamas, very short skirt, the most important thing, now this lace pajamas are all wet.”
The first page also contained allusions to being “sexy,” and the book as a whole included long chapters of incomprehensible dialogue.
Lynch predicted that AI-generated novels “will absolutely be the death knell for [Kindle Unlimited] if Amazon cannot kill this off,” because writers will pull their books from Amazon in search of markets that actually promote writing and are not vulnerable to the practice of click farming.
For others, however, the development raised deeper questions about what constitutes literary and artistic merit.
I have questions about Apricot Bar Code Architecture 😂 sounds like a really bad attempt at surrealist fiction.
— S. Z. Attwell | Sci-fi author ☀️🪐💻☕️ (@szattwellauthor) June 27, 2023
And some readers were intrigued to find out what the newly banned books might actually contain that was so problematic that Amazon had to deplatform them.
I dunno. I'm kind of curious about Apricot Bar Code Architecture myself.
— brendancarlos (@brendancarlos) June 27, 2023