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Slashdot: Bloomsbury Chief Warns of AI Threat To Publishing

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    The chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing has warned of the threat of artificial intelligence to the publishing industry, saying tech groups are already using the work of authors to train up generative AI programmes. From a report: Nigel Newton, who signed Harry Potter author JK Rowling to Bloomsbury in the 1990s, also said ministers needed to act urgently to address competition concerns between large US tech groups and the publishing industry given their increasing market dominance in selling books across the world. The warning came as Bloomsbury reported its highest-ever first-half results on the back of the boom in fantasy novels, leading the publisher to boost its interim dividend. The group said revenues grew 11 per cent to $165.7mn, sending profits 11 per cent higher at $21.4mn, for the six months to August 31.

    Newton pointed to the "huge" growth in fantasy novels, with sales of books by Sarah J Maas and Samantha Shannon growing 79 per cent and 169 per cent respectively in the period and demand for Harry Potter books, 26 years after publication, remaining strong. The next Maas book, scheduled for January, has already received "staggering" pre-orders of 750,000 copies for the hardback edition, he said, underscoring the resurgence of the book-selling industry. The group's consumer division will also publish new books in the expanding Harry Potter franchise -- such as a new Wizarding Almanac this autumn.


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