Bloomsbury Acknowledges Utilizing AI-Generated Artwork for Sarah J Maas’s Novel

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  • Publisher Bloomsbury used an AI-generated image on the cover of a book by Sarah J Maas without being aware of its origin.
  • The image of a wolf on the paperback cover was credited to Adobe Stock, but it was later discovered to match an AI-generated illustration by a user named Aperture Vintage.
  • The use of AI on the book cover has faced criticism from illustrators and fans.
  • Bloomsbury claims that their in-house design team incorporated the image from a photo library without knowing it was AI-generated.
  • Similar incidents of AI-generated book covers have occurred in the publishing industry.
  • The Bradford literature festival apologized for using AI-generated images in promotional materials after artists voiced their concerns.
  • Sci-fi publisher Clarkesworld had to temporarily stop accepting submissions due to an influx of entries generated by AI.
  • The Society of Authors (SoA) has released a paper addressing the use of AI in the creative industries, recommending consent from creators and transparency in data sources.
  • The SoA’s guidance reflects concerns raised by artists about AI image generators using existing art and text without permission.

Main AI News:

Publisher Bloomsbury has come under scrutiny after it was revealed that an image used on the cover of a book by fantasy author Sarah J Maas was generated by artificial intelligence (AI). The paperback edition of Maas’s House of Earth and Blood prominently features a captivating drawing of a wolf, which Bloomsbury had credited to Adobe Stock, a popular service offering royalty-free images to subscribers. However, it has been reported that the wolf illustration closely resembles one created by a user on Adobe Stock named Aperture Vintage, who explicitly marked it as AI-generated.

The utilization of AI in the creation of the cover has sparked criticism from a number of illustrators and fans. Bloomsbury, however, has maintained that it was unaware of the image’s AI origin. In a statement, the publisher clarified that its in-house design team was responsible for creating the UK paperback cover, incorporating an image sourced from a photo library. Bloomsbury stated that at the time of licensing, they were not aware that the image was AI-generated, emphasizing that the final cover was entirely designed by their in-house team.

This occurrence is not an isolated case within the publishing industry. In 2022, the sci-fi imprint Tor discovered that a cover it had produced contained a licensed image created by AI but chose to proceed with its use, citing “production constraints” as a factor. Similarly, the Bradford literature festival faced criticism from artists for employing AI-generated images in their promotional materials, prompting the festival to issue an apology for the perceived offense caused.

The use and impact of AI in publishing extend beyond cover design. Clarkesworld, a prominent sci-fi publisher known for its science fiction short stories, was compelled to temporarily suspend submissions due to an overwhelming influx of entries generated by AI. These incidents reflect the broader challenges that the publishing industry grapples with regarding the utilization and influence of AI.

Recognizing the significance of the issue, the Society of Authors (SoA) has recently released a paper addressing artificial intelligence. The SoA acknowledges the potential benefits of machine learning while highlighting the necessity of evaluating associated risks and implementing safeguards to ensure the sustained prosperity of the creative industries. The organization recommends seeking consent from creators before employing their work within AI systems and advocates for developers to disclose the data sources used to train their AI systems.

These concerns raised by illustrators and artists echo the sentiments expressed earlier this year in a Guardian article. The article explored how AI image generators draw from databases of existing art and text without obtaining permission from the original creators. The SoA’s guidance aligns with the calls for greater transparency and consent in the use of AI technology, emphasizing the importance of upholding the rights of creators.


The use of AI-generated images on book covers, as highlighted by the recent case involving Bloomsbury and Sarah J Maas’s book, signifies a significant development in the market. This incident sheds light on the challenges faced by the publishing industry in navigating the integration of AI technology. The scrutiny and criticism from illustrators, artists, and fans emphasize the importance of maintaining transparency and obtaining consent when using AI-generated content.

Publishers must carefully evaluate the potential benefits and risks associated with AI, ensuring ethical practices are in place to protect the rights of creators. Furthermore, the Society of Authors’ guidance on AI usage underscores the need for accountability and disclosure of data sources. As the market continues to grapple with these issues, it is imperative for publishers to adopt responsible approaches that balance innovation with the preservation of creative integrity.



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