Self-publishing has empowered authors worldwide to bypass traditional gatekeepers of the publishing industry and share their work with the world. 

However, as the industry looks to keep up with modernization, the self-publishing platform Booksie has embraced blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).

In an interview with Cointelegraph, Booksie founder and CEO Sol Nasisi shared his vision for the future of self-publishing built on the powerful combination of these emerging technologies.

Blockchain: Transparency and ownership for authors

The idea of blockchain in the publishing industry isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon. In 2018, the Alliance of Independent Authors launched Blockchain for Books, an awareness campaign about the potential of blockchain technology in publishing. It resulted in a guidebook called Authors and Blockchain.

The core principle of a blockchain network, that of a shared public ledger, can act as a mechanism allowing authors to regain control over their work and access valuable data.

Nasisi explained that as more of the traditional web is closed behind “walled gardens,” blockchain can offer authors an additional pathway to selling their books.

“The blockchain [creates] a new digital book publishing and purchasing experience complete with real ownership, rare books in limited editions, and opportunities for book collectors and resellers to participate in external markets.”

Beyond financial benefits, blockchain offers transparency and empowers authors to protect their work.

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“The immutability and transparency creates a way for an author to prove they created the work,” says Nasisi. This is particularly relevant in a world increasingly concerned with AI-generated content.

AI: Empowering writers, not replacing them

Accessible AI has become more mainstream over the last year, and it has been integrated into companies’ business operations in almost every industry worldwide. 

However, authors have already had their gripes with the technology making alleged illegal use of their work. In July, author Sarah Silverman sued Meta and OpenAI for using copyrighted work to train their AI systems without permission.

In September 2023, a similar lawsuit was filed by the Author’s Guild against OpenAI, alleging misuse of copyrighted material in training of its AI models.

However, Nasisi stressed that AI can be used as a tool for authors, not to replace or exploit them or their work. 

“We never want to have an AI that is writing the story for a writer.”

He said that they designed Booksie’s AI bot integration to aid writers who provide feedback on fiction and non-fiction works.

The disruptive duo of blockchain and AI

When looking at the combined potential of blockchain and AI, Nasisi said the two will “fundamentally change” how the publishing industry functions over the next 10 years.

He said he envisions a future where “writers will combine their creativity with AI and blockchain to create entire worlds in multiple mediums and interact with fans in novel ways.”

This future could involve authors leveraging AI assistance to write a book, then utilizing blockchain to create a limited-edition version, a video series, a game based on the story’s world and accompanying merchandise — all while maintaining ownership and transparency throughout the process.

The impact of this technological convergence extends far beyond publishing. Nasisi highlights other industries ripe for disruption.

“AI is changing how higher education teaches while blockchain will provide the authenticity of learning via credentials.”

He likens the two technologies to yin and yang, feeding off each other and creating a new paradigm.

Booksie and its partner, Chainletter Labs, are actively working toward this vision. Nasisi concluded, “The publishing industry will never be the same.”

With blockchain and AI at the helm, self-publishing is poised to empower authors like never before, creating a future filled with exciting new possibilities for creators and readers alike.

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