AI-Generated Books of Nonsense Are All Over Amazon's Bestseller Lists

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited bestseller list was full of books with titles like “Apricot bar code architecture” and “Jessica’s Attention” earlier this week.
list of ai-generated books on amazon
Amazon's bestseller page on Tuesday. Image Credit: Wesley Chu on Twitter.

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited young adult romance bestseller list was filled with dozens of AI-generated books of nonsense on Monday and Tuesday. As of Wednesday morning, Amazon appeared to have taken action against the books, but the episode shows that people are spamming AI-generated nonsense to the platform and are finding a way to monetize it. 

“The AI bots have broken Amazon,” wrote Caitlyn Lynch, an indie author, in a Tweet on Monday. “Take a look at the Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks top 100 chart. I can see 19 actual legit books. The rest are AI nonsense clearly there to click farm.” Motherboard viewed dozens of clearly AI-generated books Tuesday afternoon; by Wednesday, the vast majority of them had fallen off of the bestseller list but were still available to buy on the platform.


Select titles include: 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, The God Tu mutters, Ma La Er snorted scornfully, Jessica's Attention, etc.

Lynch included a screenshot of one book that, as of Wednesday morning, is in 90th place in the Top 100 Bestseller list for the Teen Contemporary Romance category. The book is called wait you love me and its cover is a black-and-white photo of a seagull with a neon yellow bar stretching across it containing the title text. The book has two one-star reviews, both of which call it a “fake AI book.” 

“This will absolutely be the death knell for [Kindle Unlimited] if Amazon cannot kill this off. The KENP payout will halve and writers will pull their books in droves,” Lynch continued in a thread, referring to the payout that publishing writers get based on how many pages of their book were read by Kindle users. If AI-generated nonsense books were those with the farthest reach, then Kindle writers’ income would steeply drop. “I honestly thought Amazon had a handle on the click farms. CLEARLY NOT.”

A second Tweet on Tuesday posted a screenshot of the bestseller list at that time. Out of the 16 books in the screenshot, two appear to be real. 

Though these books are no longer on the bestseller list as of Wednesday morning, they are still searchable on the site, and users can even read samples of the books. Apricot bar code architecture, for example, begins with, “Black lace pajamas, very short skirt, the most important thing, now this lace pajamas are all wet.” 

An Amazon spokesperson told Motherboard in an email, “We have clear content guidelines governing which books can be listed for sale and promptly investigate any book when a concern is raised. We invest heavily in funds, time, and company resources to provide a trustworthy shopping experience and protect customers and authors from abuse.”