Monday, June 11, 2012

Nookd in War and Peace

Alyssa pointed me to this article by Saul Tannenbaum which detailed how "Barnes & Noble’s formatter, converting War and Peace for the Nook from a Kindle edition “changed every instance of ‘kindle’ or ‘kindled’ into ‘Nook’ and ‘Nookd’" Both Alyssa and Tannenbaum astutely lift the conversation from an  amusing antidote on the incompetence of profit-focused corporations (OMG classic being butchered!) to a larger issue of quality that even I, in my short time reading eBooks, have noticed. Many of the books that i've read on the kindle suffer from quality issues that I just don't see in printed books - from typos, to formatting issues. Just last night, an entire paragraph of 2313 was presented in italics when it most clearly should have not been. It's a serious problem in the industry, and one that I doubt will get better any time soon, given the eBook price wars.

I also think there's a bigger opportunity being lost to build some true interactivity into books. To choose just one example, hyperlinking in the books i've read - so far limited to footnoting - is awkward at best and unusable at worst. Given the advances is book building technology - see this demonstration of Creative Book Builder to see just one of the tools out there - I feel that we should be aiming for something more in our eBooks, not just a pale imitation of what is usually better presented on the printed page.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome. Though I think its important to note that it wasn't B&N's formatter. It was a formatter developed by a third-party.

    The third party describes the issue on their website:

    "We have seen several blog posts and articles that highlight the fact that the word Kindle was replaced with the word Nook on our copy of War and Peace being sold on Barnes and Noble.

    This happened because all of our titles were originally published on the Amazon Kindle platform first, and the titles formerly had a small paragraph of text describing our works at the beginning of the book. This paragraph had the word Kindle in it several times. When Barnes and Noble released their publishing platform we were obviously excited to offer our books there as well. A Find and Replace was done on the introductory paragraph to replace the word Kindle with Nook (along with some other formatting modifications specific to the Nook editions). On this particular title there was obviously a mistake in which the process was carried out on the entire work, instead of just the intro text.

    Barnes and Noble promptly brought this to our attention and the issue was resolved. The current copy of War and Peace on sale has had the error fixed. This was a simple editing mistake and we apologize for any inconvenience caused."