How a Copy-Paste Fail Rewrote 'War and Peace' for The Nook

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Would you trust your e-reader to re-edit Tolstoy? As Fast Company's Neil Ungerleider reports, bloggers discovered that Barnes and Noble's Nook readers contain a universal find-replace on the word "Kindle,"substituting it with "Nook" in War and Peace, which, to the best of our knowledge is pretty agnostic about e-readers.

The change that initially tipped off Philip Howard of the Ocracoke Island Journal to the "fix" was a Tolstoy sentence that read, "It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern."

The Future of the Internet's Kendra Albert noted that the fault actually seems to lie not with Barnes and Noble itself, but with Superior Formatting Publishing, which formatted the Gutenberg Project's public domain copy of the novel and took a shortcut when reformatting its Kindle edition to the Nook. But one imagines that if the mistake were repeated, we'd get some funky stuff happening in our public domain. David Copperfield might read, "For a little while, his eye nooked." Jane Eyre might go, "and it is madness in all women to let a secret madness nook within them." Even The King James Bible might read, "Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to nook meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually."

Don't worry, priests, we wouldn't even know how to nook a meat offering if we wanted to.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.