21 April 2008

Philip M Parker - Author Extraordinaire

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!

14 comments:

Frank Partisan said...

This weekend I went to a 24Hour play festival. The plays were written and presented in a 24 hour period. It had hot and cold episodes, but the conept is good.

James Higham said...

There was a story about this type of thing - was it Roald Dahl's.

jmb said...

This had me laughing. I guess there could be a place for it. I suppose everyone ordering a copy of most are using grant money.

MisterZyl said...

Hi there, just dropping by to say Hello,

I found your blog from the Big Bang Master List.

Have a nice day.

jams o donnell said...

Wow Ren that must have been hard work.

One of his tales of the Unexpected James? (or tales of the blindingly obvious as we used to call the tv series)

I daresay jmb. The prices quoted put the books rather out of the price range of teh casual buyer!

Hi faizal!

Liz Hinds said...

Well, that's okay then. I can forget trying to write a novel and concentrate on developing a novel-writing machine. Would probably be more successful ...

Steve Bates said...

200,000 books, eh? Oh well; you know what they say: in for 12p, in for £398.34 ...

CherryPie said...

What an unusual idea!

jams o donnell said...

Don't give up Liz, you've got talent!

Indeed Steve, it's a bit of a mark up eh?

It certainly is cherie!

Roland Dodds said...

"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"

I'm ordering it now! And for only 398 pounds, it's a steal!

jams o donnell said...

At that price, probably better you actually steal ROland!

Nunyaa said...

How very strange and amusing at same time .

Hey it's said...

Okay, that is the weirdest post I've read all day... Not kidding!
I wonder if he's made any books about lip gloss, fairies or glitter.
I'm gonna go check...

jams o donnell said...

It's pretty odd eh Nunyaa?

I daresay he has Amy. If he hasn't I am sure wh will add them to his bibliography!