Author Jane Friedman uncovers fraudulent books with her name on Amazon and Goodreads, likely AI-generated


  • Author Jane Friedman discovers counterfeit books with her name on Amazon and Goodreads, likely created by AI.
  • Both platforms initially resisted removing the fake titles until social media backlash gained momentum.
  • AI-generated counterfeit books exploit Amazon’s algorithm for fraudulent sales.
  • Scammers also misuse the “find more by this author” algorithm to deceive readers.
  • Authors face a complex process to remove fraudulent titles from platforms like Goodreads.
  • Amazon demands trademark registration for takedowns, highlighting challenges for authors without trademarks.
  • The issue points to the broader challenge of misattribution and misinformation in the digital age.
  • Many authors, including Friedman, call for platforms to implement better authorship verification and protection measures.

Main AI News:

The ever-expanding digital realm has ushered in unprecedented challenges for authors, and the latest menace to their reputations and intellectual property has arrived in the form of AI-generated counterfeit books. Esteemed author Jane Friedman recently stumbled upon a startling revelation that shook the foundations of her literary legacy: a slew of sham publications bearing her name on Amazon and Goodreads. These dubious tomes, suspected to be laden with either gibberish or AI-engineered prose, not only cast a shadow over her credibility but also underscore the mounting predicament facing the publishing industry.

Friedman’s vexing ordeal was illuminated in a candid blog post entitled “I Would Rather See My Books Get Pirated Than This (Or: Why Goodreads and Amazon Are Becoming Dumpster Fires),” a searing exposé of her uphill battle against the fraudulent publications. The enormity of the issue lies in the fact that unscrupulous entities exploit Amazon’s algorithmic intricacies, capitalizing on illicit sales by manipulating the system. A tactic eerily reminiscent of the February Reuters report that unveiled authors capitalizing on AI model ChatGPT to craft e-books, subsequently peddling them through Amazon’s vast marketplace. This dubious practice reached an apex when Vice reported on an inundation of AI-generated literary fluff that commandeered the Kindle bestseller charts.

The gravity of the situation becomes even more palpable when considering Friedman’s credentials – a formidable figure in the literary realm, having penned ten authoritative tomes and serving as an industry watchdog. The implications of AI-generated pseudo-literature masquerading under her moniker gnaw at her professional stature. “The perpetrators prey on the trust reposed by aspiring writers, who associate my name with these works of fiction. Let it be known that these compositions do not bear my mark; the hand of AI is the likely culprit,” Friedman asserts with a sense of urgency.

Rectifying this egregious falsification is an intricate endeavor. On Goodreads, the takedown protocol demands authors to engage with volunteer “librarians,” enlisting in specialized groups and engaging in comment threads to plead for the removal of the spurious titles. The efficacy of this process is far from assured, with no guarantees of a swift resolution. A glimmer of hope emerged when Goodreads finally purged the counterfeit titles from Friedman’s official author profile hours after her scathing exposé reverberated across digital platforms.

The labyrinthine procedure takes a more Kafkaesque twist when dealing with Amazon. Friedman’s entreaty to cleanse her author profile was met with a demand for “trademark registration numbers” to corroborate her claim. Upon her revelation of lacking a trademark, Amazon abruptly closed the case without retracting the counterfeit offerings from circulation. Though the rogue titles eventually vanished from Amazon’s virtual shelves following the eruption of the story, Friedman’s saga casts a revealing light on the intricate tightrope authors tread to shield their brand and creations from virtual predation.

Friedman’s ordeal is part of a pervasive pattern. Fellow wordsmiths, like Jane Ward and Sarah Rose, found themselves ensnared in a similar web of deceit, with fake titles erroneously linked to their identities on Goodreads. Rose lamented, “Scammers exploit the ‘find more by this author’ algorithm, leaving readers duped into purchasing my purported work.” The unsettling frequency of such incidents underscores the systemic challenge of author impersonation by nefarious actors, a scenario that irks and vexes an entire community of authors.

In a digital ecosystem teeming with generative AI, the threat looms larger, dousing communication channels with copious amounts of subpar, machine-conceived content. Platforms like Amazon and Goodreads grapple with the enormity of the problem, lacking robust mechanisms to counteract the tide of misattribution and falsehoods. This issue extends beyond AI’s mere involvement; even authentic book content can be compromised, as historian Dean Grodzins shared his own narrative of inadvertently purchasing a misaligned paperback. The cover of a reputable author’s book belied irrelevant content, extracted from an unrelated website.

The paramount question remains: How will Amazon and Goodreads, gargantuan platforms connecting millions of users, insulate authors and consumers against the torrent of duplicity and misinformation? Friedman implores these titans of e-commerce to adopt rigorous safeguards, beseeching them to validate authorship or empower authors to readily disown counterfeit works. This clarion call echoes the sentiment of many authors yearning for the day when the virtual realm echoes the authenticity and integrity of the printed word. The hour to act is now, for the literary universe stands at a crossroads, demanding vigilance and resilience to preserve its sacred essence.


The rise of AI-generated counterfeit books raises profound concerns about the integrity of online platforms like Amazon and Goodreads. The challenges faced by authors, as highlighted by Jane Friedman’s case, underscore the urgency for these platforms to develop robust mechanisms to verify authorship and protect against fraud. This issue reflects a broader need for the market to adapt and find innovative solutions to maintain trust and authenticity in an increasingly digital and automated landscape.