Find-And-Replace Is Not A Good Idea When Porting Kindle Texts To Nook

As any thrifty e-book reader knows, there are a ton of cheap and free public domain titles available for download. But one War and Peace reader in North Carolina was confused about the new word he saw among the 1,100 or so pages of the classic Tolstoy novel.

The reader was enjoying his $.99 version of War and Peace on his Barnes & Noble Nook when he came across the sentence, “It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern….”

“Nookd”?

So he found another translation and found a sentence that made more sense: “It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painted lantern….”

Wrote the man on his blog:

Someone at Barnes and Noble (a twenty year old employee? or maybe the CEO?) had substituted every incidence of “kindled” with “Nookd!”

I was shocked. Almost immediately I found it hilarious…then outrageous…then both. It is definitely clever. But it raises many questions. E-books can be manipulated at will by the purveyors of the downloadable software. Here is a classic work of fiction (some claim it is the greatest novel every written) used for a sophomoric and/or commercial prank. What else might be changed in an e-book? Fears of manipulation for economic, political, religious, or other ideological ends come to mind. It makes one wary of the integrity of any digital version of not only War and Peace…but any e-book.

While we get that he was a little peeved, we’re pretty sure that not a single person at Barnes & Noble had anything to do with this error, nor does it seem likely that this is a prank of any sort.

As FutureOfTheInternet points out, it’s likely the publisher made an error when porting over its Kindle version of the book:

The Superior Formatting Publishing version isn’t a Barnes and Noble book, so this isn’t the work of a rogue Nook marketer from B&N. Rather, it’s likely that Superior Formatting Publishing ported its Kindle version of War and Peace over to the Nook — doing a search and replace to make sure that any Kindle references they’d inserted, such as in the advertising at the end of the book about their fine Kindle products, were simply changed to Nook.

The fact is that War and Peace is a public domain book meaning there is often little-to-no editorial oversight — outside of maybe writing a brief introduction and choosing the cover art — when it comes to publishing a bottom-dollar cash-in copy.

But if these publishers wish to escape the outrage of the Internet, they should probably be a bit more careful when doing the whole find/replace thing.

What this reader should really be outraged about is the fact that he spent $.99 on an e-book when there are other editions — most likely with the exact same text, sans the “Nookd” goof — available for absolutely nothing.

[via slashdot]

Thanks to Len for the tip!