AI Copyrights? Racist James Bond? New Grinch Content? All This and More, This Week on Bookstr News!

As if last week’s book editing debacle wasn’t enough, this week is packed with more edits! Plus AI-generated novels? But it’s not all bad on Bookstr News! Read about it!

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Bookstr assistant editor Gracie Lambright in green and white, in front of Bookstr News logo

Hello again! We’re back with another episode of Bookstr News! What’s Bookstr News, you ask? Well, we are talking news from the book world — everything from missing romance authors to Florida’s many (many, many, many) book bans! There’s something of interest for everyone, from all of us here at Bookstr. We’re bringing you an interesting mix of news this week, so let’s unpack what’s happening. 

To Rewrite or Not to Rewrite? That is the Question.

James Bond Books Edited to be Less Racist

Last week, we updated you on the Roald Dahl fiasco that had everyone in an uproar. To recap: some of Roald Dahl’s children’s books were being edited to remove words like “fat” and “ugly” with the intention of replacing them with more inclusive language. The major backlash prompted his publisher, Penguin Random House, to keep the original versions of the books and publish separate, altered versions alongside those. 

Black and white photo with author Ian Fleming posing seated at his desk in front of a typewriter
Image via Ian Flemming Villa

Now, Ian Fleming’s James Bond books have also been edited to omit racist language. Terms such as the N-word and certain racial descriptors have been removed, although some misogynistic and homophobic references have been kept. 

Fleming’s estate said that this is what Fleming himself would have wanted since he approved changes to the U.S. version of Live and Let Die way back in the 1950s. The revisions come ahead of the republishing of the novels to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Casino Royale, Fleming’s first Bond book. The revised novels will be available this April. 

The Takeover of the AI Authors Begins

Hundreds of AI-written Books Published on Amazon

A few weeks ago you might have heard of students using ChatGPT to write their essays, which alarmed many teachers and school administrators. Recently, ChatGPT has been used to author books that have been published on Amazon through its self-publishing platform. 

Several in the writing industry are concerned because they fear these AI-written books will flood the market and put authors out of work. Amazon has not yet announced whether it will change its policies regarding AI-generated material. At the moment, Amazon does not require authors to disclose whether their work was written by a computer, which is what many people have taken advantage of to publish books. 

ChatGPT Logo via Wikipedia
cr. Wikipedia

Sci-fi Publisher Halts Submissions Amid Plague of AI-generated Submissions

While Amazon is still allowing AI-authored books to be published, popular science-fiction publisher Clarkesworld has completely halted pitches amid a surge of AI-generated submissions over the past few weeks. 

Clarkesworld has previously rejected submissions that have been plagiarized from other authors, which amounted to roughly 10 submissions a month. 

But as the popularity of ChatGPT surged, Clarkesworld has received and rejected hundreds of submissions for being AI-generated. Influencers have been promoting “get rich quick” schemes using AI, according to Clarke. 

“It’s not just going to go away on its own and I don’t have a solution,” Clarke admitted. 

AI-generated Images in Books Not Given Copyright Protection

This is the last AI story, we promise! 

Last year, Kris Kashtanova was granted copyright protection by the U.S. Copyright Office for her novel Zarya of the Dawn. However, the office did not grant copyright protection to the AI-generated images she used in the novel, and Kashtanova is not happy with that decision. 

“​​I think that they didn’t understand some of the technology so it led to a wrong decision”, she tweeted. Her argument is that Artificial Intelligence “depends directly on the creative input of the artist and is not random.”

The copyright office thinks otherwise. 

Kashtanova said her lawyers are continuing to find ways in which her AI-generated images are copyrightable. 

Returning to Who-ville & The Last Can of Who Hash

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is Getting a Sequel 

And to wrap up this week’s news, we’re getting you into the Christmas spirit a little early this year! 

The Grinch is returning to a bookstore near you, this time in the sequel How the Grinch Lost Christmas! The sequel is set one year after the original, which was published in 1957 and is one of Dr. Seuss’ most beloved children’s books. 

book cover of How the Grinch Lost Christmas
Image via Amazon

This is the first time the Grinch’s narrative is being expanded on without Dr. Seuss—real name Theodor Geisel—who died in 1991. 

Author Alastair Heim and Illustrator Aristides Ruiz are working on the sequel, and both of them have previous experience working on other Dr. Seuss books. 

The sequel will be available on September 5 this year, so mark your calendars to see what the Grinch is up to!

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