If you search for Philip M Parker on Amazon you will find thousands of book titles, including:
- The 2007 Report on Wood Toilet Seats: World Market Segmenting by City
- The 2007-2012 Word outlook for Agricultural Take-off Driven Power Sprayers over 4G.p,m Excluding Row Crop and Field Types
- The 2007 Import and Export Market for Seaweeds and Other Algae in France.
Let us not forget also The 2007-2012 Outlook for Edible Tallow and Stearin Made in Slaughtering Plants in Greater China.
Despite having written over 200,000 books, Philip M Parker is not a full time author (with or without very tired arms). He is a professor of management science at Insead, an international business school based in Fontainebleau in France. After reading a 1999 complaint by the Economist that publishing "has continued essentially unchanged since Gutenberg. Letters are still written, books bound, newspapers printed and distributed much as they ever were", he patented s a "method and apparatus for automated authoring and marketing".
What he has effectively developed is a book-writing machine. It works by feeding it a recipe for writing a particular genre of book into a computer - a tome about crossword puzzles, say, or a market outlook for products. The computer is hooked up to a big database full of info about crossword puzzles or market information. The computer uses the recipe to select data from the database and write and format it into book form. Parker estimates that it costs him about 12p to write a book.
Nothing but the title need actually exist until somebody orders a copy. At that point, a computer assembles the book's content and prints up a single copy.
So there you have it. If you are ever stuck for an absorbing read don’t forget "The 2007-2012 World Outlook For Bridges, Crowns, Dentures and Other Orthodontic Appliances That Are Customised For Individual Application on a Prescription Basis" – at a mere £398.34 from Amazon it won’t burn a hole in your pocket!