War and Peace E-book Readers Find a Surprise in Their Nooks

A "search and replace" by Barnes & Noble switched every mention of "kindled" to "nookd" in Tolstoy's classic

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E-books are often rife with spelling mistakes, formatting issues and photo problems. Now we can add another bizarre glitch to the list: Some e-books have been “Nookd.”

Blogger Philip Howard was reading his $.99 copy of the now public domain work from 1869 and took a second look when he saw the word “Nookd” nearly 700 words in. Howard didn’t think much of the sentence that made no sense: “Captain Tushin, having given orders to his company, sent a soldier to find a dressing station or a doctor for the cadet, and sat down by a bonfire the soldiers had Nookd on the road.” What?

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But less than 300 pages later he ran across another “Nook” reference (no word on how long it took Howard to move 300 pages through the classic) when Prince Dolgorukov says, “He has retreated and ordered the rearguard to Nook fires and made a noise to deceive us.” Bagration and Prince Dolgorukov weren’t the only ones being deceived in Howard’s version from Superior Formatting Publishing.

As the Nook references kept piling up—we are talking more than 3,000 pages of story here—it became apparent that every reference to “kindle” had been replaced by the word “Nook,” whether someone kindled (now: nookd) a fire or a “vivid glow kindled (again, nookd) in her face.”

A self-proclaimed Nook engineer spoke out online saying that this isn’t some backroom Barnes & Noble gimmick, but rather likely the work of a careless publisher. The Nook software doesn’t change publishers’ text; they leave that to the publisher. So, the most likely explanation of the Kindle-for-Nook exchange is that Superior Formatting Publishing took its Kindle version of the book and inputted it into Nook-friendly software. During the process, to market and advertise the product and company properly, it ran a find and replace on all “Kindle” references, making them Nook-ready.

Obviously nobody in the company was familiar enough with War and Peace to realize that the word kindle might appear in the actual text, which has probably kindled (ahem, nookd) a fire under the company to make that change.

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