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War and Nookd — eBook Regex Gone Haywire 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the thinking-things-through dept.
PerlJedi tips a story that highlights one of the downsides to ebooks. A blogger who recently read Tolstoy's War and Peace on his Nook stumbled upon some odd phases, such as: "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern..." After seeing the word 'Nookd' a few more times, he found a dead-tree version of the book and discovered that the word was supposed to be 'kindled.' Every instance of the word 'kindle' in the ebook had been replaced with 'Nook.' "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 unwitting hilarity of a publisher doing a 'find and replace' and accidentally changing the text of a canonical work of Western thought is alarming. Many versions of e-books are from similar outfits, that distribute public domain works formatted for Kindle or Nook at the lowest possible prices. The great democratizing factor of the ebook formats – that anyone can easily distribute – can also mean that readers can never be quite sure that they are viewing the texts as the author intended."
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War and Nookd — eBook Regex Gone Haywire

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  • You can be sure (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 01, 2012 @01:45PM (#40183219)

    " can also mean that readers can never be quite sure that they are viewing the texts as the author intended."

    As an owner of a publishing company I can assure you the authors intentions are almost never the highest priority. Having read thousands of unedited manuscripts, many by very well known modern authors, I can say with confidence that you don't want to know what the authors originally pooped out.

  • Scunthorpe Problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by constpointertoconst (1979236) on Friday June 01, 2012 @02:12PM (#40183627)

    There is a Wikipedia article about this issue:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scunthorpe_problem [wikipedia.org]

    "The problem was named after an incident in 1996 in which AOL's dirty-word filter prevented residents of the town of Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, England from creating accounts with AOL, because the town's name contains the substring cunt.[1] Years later, Google's filters apparently made the same mistake, preventing residents from searching for local businesses that included Scunthorpe in their names.[2]"

    There is also a stub article about a specific instance of the replacement effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medireview [wikipedia.org]

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Friday June 01, 2012 @04:50PM (#40186985) Homepage Journal
    Take your pick:

    There's nobody for me to attack in this matter even with soft and gentle ridicule--and I shouldn't ever think of using a grown up weapon in this kind of a nursery. Above all, I couldn't venture to attack the clergymen whom you mention, for I have their habits and live in the same glass house which they are occupying. I am always reading immoral books on the sly, and then selfishly trying to prevent other people from having the same wicked good time. - Letter to Denver Post dated Aug. 14, 1902; also published in NY Tribune Aug. 22, 1902 (regarding banning of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the Denver Library.)

    But the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me. - Letter to Mrs. F. G. Whitmore, 7 February 1907

    Censorship is telling a man he can't have steak, because a baby can't chew it.

Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly. - Henry Spencer, University of Toronto Unix hack

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