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And a great anger was Nookd in the hearts of the e-readers
June 1, 2012 12:34 PM   Subscribe

While reading an e-book copy of War and Peace on his Nook, North Carolina blogger Philip noticed a minor glitch in the text: "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern." He ignored it and moved on, but then encountered a similar error shortly thereafter. As it turned out, the word "kindle" had been systematically replaced by "Nook" throughout the whole book.

Some thought it was Nook branding gone horribly wrong, but the truth is more banal, though not necessarily less funny. In all likelihood, a simple search-and-replace on the book had been done to change "formatted for Kindle" to "formatted for Nook," and was not limited to the intro. Neither the bookseller (ironically named Superior Formatting Publishing) nor Barnes & Noble has commented on the situation. The book appears to still be available for the curious, though as the commenters note it is only one volume out of several. (War and Peace is in the public domain and naturally is available to download for free here)
posted by BlackLeotardFront (67 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, I saw this on MetaFilter: community weblog the other day! Thanks for posting it here, too.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [70 favorites]


clbuttic..
posted by k5.user at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [16 favorites]


I can't NOOK®ing believe some of the NOOK® that goes down these NOOK®. NOOK®!
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's a whole underground market for reselling ebooks of public-domain works with subtle advertising sprinkled in. Like this version of Ulysses I have where every mention of Plumtree's Potted Meats is changed to Doritos® Fiery Fusion® Sizzlin' Cayenne & Cheese.
posted by theodolite at 12:44 PM on June 1, 2012 [58 favorites]


Some thought it was Nook branding gone horribly wrong, but the truth is more banal, though not necessarily less funny. In all likelihood, a simple search-and-replace on the book had been done to change "formatted for Kindle" to "formatted for Nook," and was not limited to the intro.

It comes as a relief to me that in spite of the many stupid advertising attempts lately, nobody was actually stupid enough to think that using "find and replace" on the word "Kindle" in War and Peace would sell any Nooks.
posted by hypotheticole at 12:47 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


"The sky above the port was the color of television tuned to FOX TONIGHT FOR MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL ("hrunt! grunk!") FOLLOWED BY THE SIMPSONS ("awesome, man!") FOLLOWED BY TWO EPISODES OF SEINFELD ("that's gold, Jerry!") AND TWO HOURS OF COPS ("Bad boys, bad boys...")
posted by griphus at 12:47 PM on June 1, 2012 [31 favorites]


I told you so.
posted by gauche at 12:48 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


... And then I read theodolite's comment. Now I feel the opposite of relieved.
posted by hypotheticole at 12:48 PM on June 1, 2012


I like that we're skipping the outrage stage and going straight to mundane explanation - we should do that more.
posted by Artw at 12:48 PM on June 1, 2012 [42 favorites]


War and Peace is in the public domain and naturally is available to download for free here

Except that the words "apple" and "window" have been replaced with "linux" and "sheep".
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:49 PM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


Another fine edition from FTFY Press.
posted by RogerB at 12:49 PM on June 1, 2012 [26 favorites]


I like that we're skipping the outrage stage and going straight to mundane explanation - we should do that more.

Can we be outraged at their idiocy?
posted by kmz at 12:51 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I told you so.

War and Peace, without the Kindles replaced by Nooks. Gosh, good thing it hasn't been lost forever because there are many digital copies floating out there.
posted by muddgirl at 12:52 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Only in Amercia.
posted by RakDaddy at 12:53 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm sure DEODORANT that if anyone tried to pull this kind of TONY HAWK stunt in real life CEREAL, it would be much less SMITHFIELD ham-handed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:53 PM on June 1, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can we be outraged at their idiocy?

As a person who has sent more than his fair share of emails reading 'TEMPLATE' and cover letters to potential employers about how much I want [JOB] and looked forward to hearing from [PLACE], I find myself incapable of being outraged.
posted by griphus at 12:53 PM on June 1, 2012 [23 favorites]


While reading an e-book copy of War and Peace

This is one heck of a stealth brag.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:54 PM on June 1, 2012 [27 favorites]


[WITTY META-COMMENTARY FOLLOWUP]
posted by griphus at 12:54 PM on June 1, 2012 [5 favorites]


shit cancel CANCEL
posted by griphus at 12:55 PM on June 1, 2012 [10 favorites]


When we're bored with the mundane explanations we can always come back to outrage.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:55 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


Finally a way for me to show off my superior taste in books while reading on an e-reader
posted by shothotbot at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2012


I think this is a situation where you want to spend the $9.99 on the professionally made Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, looked over by actual copy editors and everything, rather than some fly-by-night publisher that's selling copies for less than a pack of Trident. Not that gauche's concern about the tyranny of the publishing houses isn't valid, but in this case, I think the real issue here is that you get what you pay for.
posted by Cash4Lead at 12:59 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Finally a way for me to show off my superior taste in books while reading on an e-reader

Wait, best idea ever: Kindle covers that mimic the dust jackets of Great Classics, like War and Peace or Moby Dick. How is this not a thing yet??
posted by muddgirl at 1:00 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


I wonder what Tyson Homosexual thinks of this.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:00 PM on June 1, 2012 [9 favorites]


If you think about it, Ulysses is just War and Peace with most of the words find-and-changed.
posted by fuq at 1:02 PM on June 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wait, best idea ever: Kindle covers that mimic the dust jackets of Great Classics, like War and Peace or Moby Dick. How is this not a thing yet??

It is a thing already.
posted by arcticseal at 1:04 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm in the middle of rereading Wouk's The Winds of War; my old copy was a disintegrating 80s-era paperback, and the Kindle edition was $4, so I've been reading it that way. And I've come across at least one instance of dialogue being changed and added (I even dug out the old paperback to confirm it).

I guess that's not necessarily an ebook thing; it could just be a book that's been around a while being subjected to Lucasian tinkering. Still, it hit me as really weird and left me not trusting Kindle versions.
posted by COBRA! at 1:06 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of thing that happens under the Obama amercia.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:08 PM on June 1, 2012


Can we be outraged at their idiocy?

Well, it cost 99 cents, so you can be 99 cents' worth of outraged.
posted by dirigibleman at 1:09 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


You can get way more outrage for $5 right here at home.
posted by Bovine Love at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [7 favorites]


Kind of related: I run a small online forum where I replaced some generally offensive words with a made-up word. It was good for a laugh, then I forgot all about it.

Of course a few years later, I started to think there was some inside joke or conspiracy that I wasn't in on, as forum users would throw the made-up word into conversation inadvertently, then follow up with a big question mark and a smile, and others would laugh about it.

I started a long reply one day, wondering what was going on, when it finally came back to me. Truly community software administration is not an ideal task for the anxiety-prone.
posted by circular at 1:10 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is a thing already.

Wellll, it would be best if it didn't look like an interesting book to read. Something like the older Penguin Classics - although I find those covers to be irresistable, I know I'm kind of a book freak.
posted by muddgirl at 1:18 PM on June 1, 2012


In other news, ebooks promising to re-nook the passion in your marriage are selling like hotcakes...
posted by Rykey at 1:20 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Skipping the outrage and going to the mundane explanation?

What kind of idiot does a search and replace across an entire corpus of text? I'm outraged that the moron responsible got paid to do it.

Brought to you by Carl's Jr.
posted by chimaera at 1:26 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


More unintentional hilarity can be found on the current front page of the "publisher's" website:

FEATURED KINDLE BOOKS:

Amazon API Error
Amazon API Error
Amazon API Error
Amazon API Error
Amazon API Error

Shop

Browse some of selected Amazon Kindle books below. Click the titles to be taken to Amazon to purchase the title.

Whoops, looks like there was a problem get the book data from Amazon. Please try again in a moment

Whoops, looks like there was a problem get the book data from Amazon. Please try again in a moment

Whoops, looks like there was a problem get the book data from Amazon. Please try again in a moment

posted by brain_drain at 1:31 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


the professionally made Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, looked over by actual copy editors and everything

The translation, probably. The e-book, probably not.
posted by Trurl at 1:32 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


A linguist I knew -- she studied syntax acquisition, so was published in journals in psychology and cog sci and linguistics etc -- once noticed that her article kept talking about the participant of the sentence. Eventually she realised that this journal had a house style of not talking about subjects of experiments, and did a lot of find/replacing without editorial oversight.
posted by jeather at 1:42 PM on June 1, 2012 [12 favorites]


Ha!

(it's too bad she wasn't a semanticist)
posted by iamkimiam at 1:45 PM on June 1, 2012


Clearly, global search/replace is history's greatest monster.
posted by Cash4Lead at 1:47 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In other news, ebooks promising to re-nook the passion in your marriage are selling like hotcakes

Over at Amazon, I find ebooks on how to have hot kindley with Skindli in my breakfast kindle.
posted by hattifattener at 1:49 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is a African-American day in the history of eBook publishing.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:51 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


In reaction, Amazon is renaming snookers, "skindlers."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:11 PM on June 1, 2012


"Papa Nook! Papa Nook!"
"Why so nookd, Brainy Nook?"
"Garganook and Azrenook are nooking this way!"
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:30 PM on June 1, 2012


Clearly, global search/replace is history's greatest monster.

You know who else liked to search/replace?
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:37 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jeez, you people need stop getting Fire™d up about this. You're getting skindlered into adding more nooking to an already delicate situation, and to be quite honest I feel like some of you may have biases that could Color™ your view of it.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:38 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know who else liked to search/replace?

Ah, yes - "I've looked on a lot of Nooks with lust. I've committed search/replace in my heart many times..."
posted by sysinfo at 3:19 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]




> I think this is a situation where you want to spend the $9.99 on the professionally made Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, looked over by actual copy editors and everything

Or you could buy one of the many other professionally made translations, also looked over by actual copy editors and everything. Pevear and Volokhonsky (or Volokhonskaya, as I like to call her, for that is her name) did not descend from the sky with the sacred tablets of Tolstoy, you know. They're just another translating team, and some of us think no better than anybody else.
posted by languagehat at 4:39 PM on June 1, 2012


They're just another translating team, and some of us think no better than anybody else.

Languagehat, this made me giggle. Shouldn't it be, "They're just another translating team, and, some of us think, no better than anybody else?"

Because otherwise I am reading it as some of us thinking not goodly. ;)
posted by misha at 4:44 PM on June 1, 2012


Ha! A hit, a palpable hit...
posted by languagehat at 4:46 PM on June 1, 2012


Like this version of Ulysses I have where every mention of Plumtree's Potted Meats is changed to Doritos® Fiery Fusion® Sizzlin' Cayenne & Cheese.

All kind of places are good for ads. That quack doctor for the clap used to be stuck up in all the greenhouses.
posted by pullayup at 4:53 PM on June 1, 2012


SHAZBOT!
posted by thewalrus at 4:59 PM on June 1, 2012


I vow never to make such an error, so help me that higher Being Whom we revere.
posted by stargell at 5:02 PM on June 1, 2012


Now I'm wondering if I picked the wrong platform to read Nakindle of the North on...
posted by uosuaq at 5:12 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was the best of USA TODAY, it was the worst of USA TODAY ...
posted by pyramid termite at 5:20 PM on June 1, 2012 [4 favorites]


Your favorite Russian literature translator sucks.
posted by Trurl at 5:30 PM on June 1, 2012 [3 favorites]


Nook engineer at B&N provides some insight on Hacker News:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4053726

Most likely a careless search and replace by the company that ported the book from the Kindle.
posted by Loudmax at 6:04 PM on June 1, 2012


Hey stargell, thanks for the Heinrich Boll link, great story and great author discovery for me. BTW here's a link to the complete story without the annoying Gbooks page limit.
posted by jackbrown at 7:57 PM on June 1, 2012


I once put a medication order into our stupid ALL CAPS electronic medical record for Metamucil powder. It was for someone with chronic diarrhea and I indicated it was "TO ADD BULK TO STOOLS". Somehow this got changed to "TO ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER BULK TO STOOLS."
posted by neuron at 9:03 PM on June 1, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can see it now, sometime, somewhere, some one will be wondering about Ignatius J. Reilly's pyloric nook.
posted by juiceCake at 9:56 PM on June 1, 2012


I've searched every Kindle and cranny of my collection, but nothing seems amiss.
posted by Abiezer at 10:17 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The various members of my book club ended up with several printings of the same edition of one of our books. In the earliest printing, "fine" had been globally replaced with "coworkers." This resulted in such confusing phrases as "looking coworkers as hell," or "I'm feeling concoworkersd in this relationship." Later printings went back to "fine."

We wrote the author and asked how this could have happened, but got no response. I guess it's coworkers that she didn't want to talk about it, but...what a mystifying replacement! Why would you ever want to make that change at all?
posted by I've a Horse Outside at 11:53 PM on June 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know this fits into this thread somehow.... I recently bought this volume of pre-US Civil War history for my Kindle and was stunned to find it rife with copy errors, some times many per page, mostly dropped words or word fragments.

I might expect this sort of thing from a volunteer based organization transcribing public domain works for free distribution to various ebook readers, but this is a fully copyright protected work, sold on the market by an honest to god publisher. It's just miserable, and I've been tempted to ask for my money back, but so far I've only posted a nasty 0 star review at AMZ.

Otherwise, it just reinforces my practice, so far, of minimizing my purchases of new and current works as ebooks, and loading my Kindle up with the public domain stuff. The complete works of Dickens for $2.99? Why thank you, I think I will. I'll even tolerate a few transcription errors. Everything else is hard copy, preferably used.
posted by hwestiii at 11:28 AM on June 2, 2012


Wizards of the Coast once told an editor to change every instance of Mage (and outdated rules term) in the Wizard in the 4 volume, leather bound, Wizard's Spell Compendium.

He ran the replace using something like s/mage/wizard/g when he should have run s/ mage / wizard /g can you spot the difference? Thats right, he replaced every instance of mage with wizard, even if it was already part of a word.

You know where the letters mage appear a lot in D&D rules? Damage. This editor didn't check any of his changes, and the books went to print. So there were lots of instances of dawizard in those books, costing TSR a huge barrel of money. Needless to say the person who didn't bother to check that replacement was fired in short order.
posted by Canageek at 11:31 AM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of my colleagues suggested checking if the Google Books version of the Old Testament told the story of Eve taking a bite out of the Android.

Another colleague once was asked, earnestly, when he had started the "nadegressive" movement. He had no idea what the person meant until he looked at the article he'd written. He'd said in his article several time that a particular point of view was naïve -- which the Westlaw scanner had converted to na°ive and then na-degrees-ive.
posted by zittrain at 12:55 PM on June 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


gauche: "I told you so."

"I told you so", and you link to a moment where you comment on an absurd piece of hyperbole as "facile", and treat it as a perfectly cromulent argument.

Yep, you sure told us.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:22 PM on June 2, 2012


I just find it charming that scribal errors have found their way back into the digital space.
posted by dgran at 8:33 AM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


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