Ask AI: What do Book Publishers Want for Christmas?


December 19, 2023




Written By

Exploring all things AI and book publishing, with a festive twist!

Easypress have been debating what we think publishers want most for Christmas this year. Printing costs returning to 2015 prices would raise a few glasses; several bestsellers would also create plenty of festive cheer. However, perhaps the best gift would be the ability to see what 2024 has in store for the industry – that would help us all to sleep more soundly!

Much of the debate at this year's major book fairs and conferences has focused on the influence that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will have on the future of our industry. The main question is will it be a force for good or bad?

Our views are certainly mixed. However, the one thing we can predict is that the impact for publishers will be significant, and it will force major change. Yes, change – the word that strikes fear into many publisher's hearts!

Of course that doesn't mean that AI is going replace authors, graphic designers and editors anytime soon. But for some fun, we have put AI to the test for you this Christmas.

The Easypress team have tried several AI-driven text and image generators to see how they respond to the prompt: "What do publishers want for Christmas?"

From a number of AI chat bots we have selected two: Google (Bard) and Open AI (Chat GPT). Let's see how they fared:

Google (Bard):

"Publishers have a number of things on their wish lists for Christmas. Some of the most common requests include:

  • Strong sales: Publishers are always looking for ways to increase book sales, and the holiday season is a particularly important time for the industry. A successful Christmas season can make or break a publisher's year.
  • Positive reviews: Publishers also want to see their books getting positive reviews. Good reviews can help to boost sales and attract new readers.
  • Awards and recognition: Publishers are always proud when their books win awards or receive other forms of recognition. This can help to elevate the profile of the publisher and its authors.
  • Happy authors: Publishers also want to maintain good relationships with their authors. Happy authors are more likely to write more books and promote their publisher's books to their readers.
  • A break from the hustle and bustle: Like everyone else, publishers appreciate a chance to relax and recharge during the holiday season. A few days off can help them to come back to work feeling refreshed and ready for the new year." (ChatGPT):

"While it's impossible to provide a universal Christmas wish list for all book publishers, as individuals have unique preferences, here are some general items or wishes that might resonate with many in the industry:

  • Bestseller Success: Every publisher hopes for a hit that becomes a bestseller, bringing both financial success and recognition to their publishing house.
  • Discovering New Talent: Publishers often wish to find and nurture emerging authors with fresh and exciting voices.
  • Smooth Editorial Processes: A wish for streamlined workflows, efficient editing, and smooth collaboration among authors, editors, and other team members.
  • Innovative Marketing Ideas: Publishers may wish for creative and effective marketing strategies to reach a broader audience and increase book sales.
  • Quality Book Covers: Eye-catching, well-designed book covers that attract readers and accurately represent the content of the book.
  • Diverse and Inclusive Stories: A wish for a diverse range of stories that reflect a variety of voices and experiences.
  • Collaborative Author Relationships: Positive and collaborative relationships with authors who are passionate about their work and open to feedback.
  • Adaptation Success: If a book is being adapted into a movie or TV series, success in the adaptation process is often a publisher's wish.
  • Technological Advancements: Access to and successful implementation of cutting-edge publishing technologies to enhance the publishing process.
  • Community Engagement: Building a strong community of readers and authors who are enthusiastic about the books they publish.
  • Positive Book Reviews: Wishes for positive reviews from reputable critics and readers alike, boosting the book's visibility and credibility.
  • Literary Awards: Recognition through literary awards and nominations for the books they publish.

Remember, these are general ideas, and individual preferences may vary. If you know a specific publisher well, you might be able to tailor a gift or gesture based on their unique interests and aspirations."

We thought the AI responses were fairly detailed, if prescriptive. However, it’s clear from industry chatter that agents, editors and readers do not want AI-generated books. Why is this the case? Well, although AI can create coherent and grammatically correct prose, it lacks the depth and creativity that a human writer brings to their work.

But how does AI do when it comes to creating festive images to decorate our blog? We challenged two AI image generators to create artwork based on the prompts 'articial intelligence', 'digital', 'book publishing' and 'Christmas'.

First to be tested was Adobe's Firefly:

AI image generated by Adobe Firefly

Next was AI engine, Caiyon:

AI image generated by Craiyon

A skull perched on a book and a Daliesque woman in a Christmas hat. As you can see, both images have a distinctly 'Nightmare Before Christmas' vibe! Although Santa-style hats and festive decorations are showcased, there is something fundamentally wrong here.

So, why is AI so notoriously bad at generating images?

The simple fact is: AI image generators don’t always get it quite right. Whether it is an extra finger or a leg that bends in the wrong direction, AI has a long way to go before it has the ability to accurately create realistic images of humans! Trained using algorithms and datasets, an AI engine can only produce images that are as good as the material it was trained by.

Thankfully, AI fared slightly better when it came to generating alt-text for our festive images. Although we might question whether this figure without human features can really be classed as Santa Claus, the alt-text is on the right lines!

AI image generated by Caiyon.

AI-generated alt-text by A Santa Claus is holding a snowflake

Although it’s difficult to predict whether AI will revolutionise the publishing industry in the long-term, we hope you have enjoyed our festive dive into all things AI and book publishingI!

The team at Easypress would like to wish everyone a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2024!


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