Thursday, April 17, 2008

200, 000 Books and Counting

Quick quiz question: who is the most published author in the history of the planet?

The New York Times reports that it's actually ... one Philip M. Parker, who has ... wait for it ... 200,000 books to his credit, all selling on Amazon.

A couple of examples of his titles : The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Acne Rosacea, and The 2007-2012 Outlook for Tufted Washable Scatter Rugs, Bathmats and Sets That Measure 6-Feet by 9-Feet or Smaller in India. True, these aren't going to be best-sellers, but we're talking long tail here.

Parker who is a professor of management science couldn't of course have done it without a little help. In this case from his computers. 60-70 of them.

He has in fact developed algorithms that collect publicly available information on a subject and then turns the results into books which are available to customers via print-on-demand publishing.

He has has also extended his technique to crossword puzzles, scripts for animated game shows ... and get this, rudimentary poetry :
“Do you think one of them is Shakespeare?” he was asked.

“No,” he said. “Only because I haven’t done sonnets yet.”
and :

... he is laying the groundwork for romance novels generated by new algorithms. “I’ve already set it up,” he said. “There are only so many body parts.”
How does he do it? Mr Parker has been kind enough to put together a video to show us :


Anonymous said...

Now there's your ultimate manufacturer. See, this is what writing has become :)

Anonymous said...

i'm in awe (and not in a good way).. this brings to mind a short story written by ???? about a guy who invented a machine who churned out stories by the dozens that other writers were soon knocked off the market!

Madcap Machinist said...

oh my, echoes of calvino!

bibliobibuli said...

anon - ray bradbury?

Amir said...

I think it was the Roald Dahl story, "The Great Automatic Grammatizator."

bibliobibuli said...

yes, that's right. thanks!

Adline A. Ghani said...

Eeeeek... disturbing!

Adline A. Ghani said...

O my..Forgot to mention that freaky flying bilingual tomato! it flies to fight ignorance! Do they already have a specific word in the dictionary for 'auto generated book'? If they haven't you should come up with one Sharon.. Biblio...???

Anonymous said...

yes it was roald dahl! thanks amir!