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Another Major Publisher Caught Using AI-Generated Cover Image on Bestselling Author’s Work

If publishers will cut costs for Sarah J. Maas, no one stands a chance.

House of Earth and Blood book cover featuring art of a wolf.

We, and many others, have already written at length about the threat AI poses to writers and artists, not because the AI-generated works make good art, but because studios and organizations will use them to undercut and get away with not paying artists. The worst part is that they’re already doing it: Tor got caught buying AI art for an upcoming novel, a U.K. Literary Festival recently used AI-Generated promotional art, and Studios are already trying to use AI to replace their striking WGA writers.

Therefore, this most recent incident isn’t surprising, but it is disappointing.

Bloomsbury Publishing has been accused of using AI art for a book cover. This cover is not just for any author, either, but for Sarah J. Maas, author of A Court of Thorns and Roses. The book cover in question is actually the U.K. paperback version of one of the books set in the same universe.

Sarah J. Maas has been a figure of some controversy, especially in BookTok spheres, but it’s unlikely that she is the reason for the AI-generated cover. While she did share the cover on her Instagram, the Reddit page for her series seems to indicate that she herself does not support AI-generated art. Unfortunately, a little-known fact of the publishing world is that covers are generally under the publisher’s control, not the author’s. As a result, the blame seems to be squarely on Bloomsbury for using AI art to cut corners and avoid paying for an illustrator.

It just goes to show how large publishing houses, like the studios that writers are now striking against, are businesses out for their own profit. If they can underpay writers or artists or steal from them and get away with it, they will. Also, if they’re willing to pull this on a bestselling author, chances are that they’ve already done this for lower-profile writers who are just starting out and trying to get published for the first time.

Many fans are already looking for ways to cancel their U.K. special editions and are sharing how others can cancel or refuse their editions on TikTok.

@thesojournerdiaries

What to do if you dont want to support the potentially AI generated cover art for the new UK Paperback versions of HOEAB and HOSAB. I would like to see @bloomsburybooks show no AI art was used to make these covers. Also, shout out to @waterstones for a wonderful customer service and being so responsive and helpful to my questions. #sarahjmaas #sjm #hoeab #hosab #bloomsburybooks #bloomsbury #aiart #crescentcity #cc2 #booktok #boycottai

♬ Creepy and simple horror background music(1070744) – howlingindicator

While it’s a small action, it’s one that can hopefully hit Bloomsbury where it hurts: their wallets.

It’s unfortunate that consumers and creators alike have to watch out for these underhanded practices, but it is good to see both sides banding together against them.

(featured image: Bloomsbury Publishing)

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Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. Dhe has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.