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How a Classic Book Got “Nookd”

Posted by JenThorpe at 9:22 PM on June 2, 2012

I love to read, but I’ve never quite trusted eReaders. To me, it doesn’t matter if the eReader in question is a Nook, or a Kindle, or any of the other varieties. It just isn’t the same as holding an actual book, made of paper, in my hands. The electronic version cannot replace the feel of the weight of the book as I pick it up, the sound of the pages turning, the texture of those pages, or that freshly-printed book smell.

A blogger named Phillip Howard, who writes the Ocracoke Island Journal found another way that eBooks are vastly different from paper books. The text in an eBook can easily be changed from what the original author wrote into something the author never intended.

Phillip was reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace on his Nook. He downloaded this classic work of literature onto his Nook for $0.99. The Nook is the eReader that comes from Barnes & Noble. As he was reading, he came across a sentence that stuck out. Something seemed different about it. The sentence read:

“It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern….”

That odd misspelling made the sentence jump out. Tolstoy never used the word “Nookd”. When Phillip compared the Nook version of War and Peace to an actual hardcover book version, he found that what Tolstoy actually wrote was:

“It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painted lantern…”

In other words, the work kindle had been removed from the text, and had been replaced by Nook. Conspiracy theorists on the internet are saying that this error was intentional, in an effort to prevent people from reading the word kindle and having that lead to the desire to purchase a Kindle from Amazon.

What most likely happened was that the substitution of the word kindle with the word Nook, (odd capitalization included), was nothing more than a Copy-Paste error.

The publisher may have originally put together a digital copy of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in a format designed for the Kindle. Later, the publisher made a version that would be the right format for the Nook. It is possible that the publisher told the software to do a universal find-replace, and change the word Kindle to Nook – never realizing that the word kindle actually appeared in the text of the book.

I think I’ll just stick with the old-fashioned books made of paper, thanks.

Image from Bn.com.

3 Comments

  1. From Luis at 9:34 am on June 3, 2012

    So because one book is poorly edited then you abolish all thoughts of ever reading a digital book. Lame excuse. I’ve never read more since I started reading ebooks. I especially like having my non-fiction books all in one place where I can carry them & reference them quickly & easily for work.

  2. From JenThorpe at 2:13 pm on June 3, 2012

    Actually, Luis, I had decided against reading digital books from an eReader long before I wrote this article, and long before the “Nookd” error occurred. As I said in the article I wrote, electronic books cannot replicate the sensory aspects of an actual, physical, book made of paper. I happen to enjoy those things enough to seek out physical books instead of getting the ebooks.

    In other words, I did not “abolish all thoughts of ever reading a digital book” as a result of the “Nookd” error. That particular error had no causal effect on a decision that was made before it existed.

    I am aware that plenty of people enjoy ebooks, just like you do. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Enjoy your reading! :)

  3. From Terry R at 4:37 pm on June 3, 2012

    JenThorpe, I am with you on this one! My bedside table and the table by the chair in the living room are stacked with books being read or waiting to be read. Plus, there is a box in a corner of some fav authors, that I picked up at a garage sale for $5.00. They were only 15 cents each, and they are practically brand new! As you wrote, the feel, smell, and touch of a book isn’t replaceable by any kind of e-reader anyway. I doubt any e-reader will ever be able to replace those qualities.

    I think I’d like the kindles, nooks, etc. because you can take 973469 books with you while on the go but I’m rarely THAT much on the go, and NO ONE can read umpteen thousand books at once anyway. I can keep up with four to six books at a time which is enough for me, and they fit quite nicely in a beach bag or suitcase. Besides, with gas at $5/gal in Alaska, no one is much ‘on the go’ anyway.

    Speaking of costs: I can’t afford one of the ebook-readers anyway. So far, a paperback at a garage sale is about a quarter, sometimes a buck. And those recycled books entertain me and tell me who-done-it without having to pay the equivalent of a car payment just to read it! After spending all day looking at a computer screen, I need a rest from the flicker anyway. My eyeballs work plenty fine and they were free.

    Great article! BTW .. heehee .. publishing error found: “… the work kindle had been removed … WORD, perhaps? We both see how that stuff can happen and its not the problem.

    The only problem I truly see is the price of the e-readers … anywhere from $399 to $79 (and that latter one has terrible reviews). Good grief! Maybe when they are just as great but only cost $25, I’ll spring for one. Until then, sorry manufacturers: that’s my gas money!

    Maybe “Big Publishing” should talk to the ‘military-industrial complex’ about being less greedy, then watch retail sales of EVERYTHING soar! Or, they can wait til the People storm the streets. Times, they are a’changin’ ….