AI Grifters Fill Amazon With Kara Swisher Memoir Ripoffs

Journalist Kara Swisher’s long-anticipated memoir Burn Book hit the shelves today. Apparently, a long list of other writers have also been hard at work writing about her experience as well. On the day after her book launch, Amazon is flooded with AI-generated Swisher biographies, complete with cover art from beyond the uncanny valley.

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There’s Kara Swisher Book: How She Became Silicon Valley’s Most Influential Journalist by Cheryl J Stackhouse and Brotherhood Press. Not to your liking? You could try KARA SWISHER: Breaking Tech Barriers, by Fred W. Smith, or Kara Swisher: Trailblazing the Digital Landscape by the aptly named Kara Press. “Ready to meet the woman who holds Silicon Valley giants accountable,” asks one listing. Perhaps you’d be interested in Kara Swisher: Silicon Valley’s Bulldog (A Biography), by Jane Coelho.

All told, Gizmodo counted 21 Swisher books that were all but certainly AI-penned. The includes workbooks and summaries of her recent memoir, some published days before her most recent release.

The covers feature uncanny renditions of the reporter’s face, barely recognizable after a trip through the bizarre digestive system of AI image generators. Swisher’s actual book tops the search results.

After this story was originally published, an Amazon spokesperson said it had removed a number of titles that violated it’s guidelines. “We aim to provide the best possible shopping, reading, and publishing experience for customers and authors and have content guidelines governing which books may be listed for sale,” the spokesperson said. “We do not allow AI-generated content that creates a poor customer experience. We have proactive and reactive measures to evaluate content in our store.”

“I blame [Sam Altman]” Swisher wrote on X/Twitter, tagging the OpenAI CEO, and punctuating the post with a winking emoji. Swisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Swisher’s book, subtitled A Tech Love Story, is a memoir of her years as a pioneering tech journalist. Swisher was among the first class of reporters to focus on internet-based businesses in the late ‘90s, riding the spectacular rise of companies including Meta and Google to media success as a Silicon Valley insider. The book is available now on from Simon & Schuster.

The Amazon spokesperson said authors are required to report AI generated material, and the platform is “constantly reviewing content in the store to confirm it does not violate our content guidelines, improving our methods for detecting content that may be inappropriate for sale, and working to identify publishers who violate our guidelines.”

Update 02/28/2024, 9:31 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a comment from Amazon.