Meet the Man Who's Authored 100K Books

Though, technically, they were compiled by a computer
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2015 11:00 AM CST
Meet the Man Who's Authored 100K Books
Yes, he cheated.   (Shutterstock)

Reading 100,000 books in a lifetime sounds impossible. Authoring that many sounds unthinkable, but that's exactly what Philip M. Parker can proclaim he has done. The professor at business school INSEAD calls himself "the most published author in the history of the planet" and claims 200,000 titles to his name, though Amazon puts the number at 107,566. Parker, born in 1960, doesn't profess to have typed his way to his immense total, a collection that includes titles like The 2007-2012 Outlook for Public Building Stacking Chairs Excluding Bar, Bowling Center, Cafeteria, Library, Restaurant, and School Stacking Chairs in India. After all, doing so would mean he has churned out six books a day since the moment he was born, per Now I Know. Rather, for about 15 years Parker has owned a patent for computer software that writes books for him by employing info that's publicly available.

A 2008 profile in the New York Times said he generated his collection via those algorithms, six or seven programmers, and 60 to 70 computers. Most books aren't actually printed until someone buys a copy, and there are many titles to choose from: in late 2012 reported another 700,000 books on Amazon are listed under Parker's company, ICON Group International; it looks like nearly another 100,000 have been added since then. They're also essentially useless to you "if you are good at the Internet," he concedes. As for how much he profits from his books—which can cost as little as $2.23 (for Ecstasy: Webster's Quotations, Facts and Phrases) to $495 for the aforementioned chairs book—he doesn't, or at least he said he didn't in a 2008 Q&A. "ICON Group as a whole makes no “profit”—all resources are plowed into R&D for new genres." (This woman was Amazon's most prolific book reviewer.)

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