In a bizarre twist on mangling the meaning of writing a book — “author” Philip Parker now claims “writing” over 200,000 books — using computers as a co-author and Amazon’s BookSurge.com Vanity Press as his publisher.


The New York Times details what feels like a disingenuous writing scam — or at least a very tenuous form of modified plagiarism for profit:

But these are not conventional books, and it is perhaps more
accurate to call Mr. Parker a compiler than an author. Mr. Parker, who
is also the chaired professor of management science at Insead (a
business school with campuses in Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore),
has developed computer algorithms that collect publicly available
information on a subject — broad or obscure — and, aided by his 60 to
70 computers and six or seven programmers, he turns the results into
books in a range of genres, many of them in the range of 150 pages and
printed only when a customer buys one.

If this sounds like cheating to the layman’s ear, it does not to Mr.
Parker, who holds some provocative — and apparently profitable — ideas
on what constitutes a book. While the most popular of his books may
sell hundreds of copies, he said, many have sales in the dozens, often
to medical libraries collecting nearly everything he produces. He has
extended his technique to crossword puzzles, rudimentary poetry and
even to scripts for animated game shows.

Is this real writing? 

Or is this just an editorial compilation — by computer and not the human mind — of already published assets on the internet?

Does this sort of writing and publishing violate Copyright?

How can any author claim to have written 200,000 books and not be laughed off the planet as a lunatic or a liar?

If this sort of thing is the future of publishing — re-publishing the public work of others — then write me out of the next iteration of plagiarism-as-creativity.