This AI-generated book cover is causing controversy

Book cover
(Image credit: Bloomsbury/Future/Adobe/Aperture Vintage)

AI-generated art has been causing controversy for a while now, with concerns over copyright and ethics plaguing text-to-image generators. Perhaps the most existential worry of all is the idea that AI could put human artists out of work – and while many still find the idea fanciful, we're already seeing examples of AI-generated art being used commercially.

Twitter users have spotted that the cover of a recent New York Times bestselling book features an image of a wolf head that, according to Adobe Stock (where the image is credited to on the book's back cover), was generated with AI. And this is potentially scarier than any of the weirdest AI art (see our pick of the best AI art tutorials to see how image generators work)

The cover for the UK edition of Sarah J. Maas's House of Earth and Blood, part of the Crescent City series published by Bloomsbury, features an image apparently created by Aperture Vintage and  distributed by Adobe Stock. Adobe has, of course, recently unveiled its own AI model, Firefly, and is embracing the tech on its platform – as well as insisting that, as part of its Content Authenticity Initiative, its own AI offering is not trained on any copyrighted imagery.

AI-generated image of a wolf's head

The image is marked 'Generated with AI' on Adobe Stock (Image credit: Adobe/Aperture Vintage)

So the issue here is less about this particular artwork itself being derived from copyrighted material, than it is about the ethics of a sizeable publisher like Bloomsbury choosing to prominently use AI in its cover design, with some speculating that it could be intended as a cost-saving measure.

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Indeed, based on the books' popularity, many simply can't fathom why a publisher would decide to go with an AI-generated illustration available as part of a Creative Cloud subscription. Bloomsbury is yet to comment on the controversy, but we have a feeling it won't be the last publisher to put out an AI-centric cover design. It isn't even the first – fantasy publisher Tor recently apologised for (apparently accidentally) including an AI-generated image on one of its covers.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).