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War and Nookd — eBook Regex Gone Haywire

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the thinking-things-through dept.

Books 185

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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Okay, Okay It Was Me (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40182935)

But I went back and searched every kindle and cranny to set every instance of the word back to kindle to fix it.

I'm only human.

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (4, Funny)

jakimfett (2629943) | about 2 years ago | (#40183217)

Aha, my good fellow! Thy response doth Nook the warmth of delight in mine heart!

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (5, Insightful)

AKabral (1056068) | about 2 years ago | (#40183851)

Accidentally replacing nookd with kindled (or verse visa) is hilarious.

But...

When you intentionally mar a national treasure due to current political correctness:
http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/01/06/1555251/the-continued-censorship-of-huckleberry-finn/ [slashdot.org] - where they searched and replaced "ni99a" with "slave" from Huckleberry Finn...

Well that's just arrogant (demonstrates a belief in the superiority of current social mores over historical realities) spineless (so our genteel sexting children don't have to face the fact that some Americans enslaved and legislated the inferiority of a whole race) and impoverishing (robs people of the opportunity for a real authentic discussion of the troubled history of race in this country).

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184245)

You do realize that you can actually post the word "nigga" on slashdot, right?

Twain chose that word for a reason (4, Funny)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#40184495)

You do realize that you can actually post the word "nigga" on slashdot, right?

apparently AKabral is one of many avatars of Ironyman.

oh, and the word being referred to is nigger [google.com]

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (5, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | about 2 years ago | (#40184453)

Setting aside the idea of whether or not the word should be replaced at all, replacing it with 'slave' is deeply stupid.

I understand how that word can make the book hard to read, and if people want to release altered versions, whatever...but the word to substitute in is 'Negro' or 'colored', not 'slave'. 'Nigger' isn't about Jim's state of enslavement, it's about his skin-color. He will still be called that slur whether or not he is free, he will always be seen as 'other' and 'not part of society', not because of his enslavement status, but because of his pigmentation

Glossing over that is revisionist history of the worse kind, leading to a total screwed up lesson that, hey, Jim is now free, thus not a slave, and hence all those people who were so concerned about him being a nigger^Wslave will be entirely happy now, and Jim's entire life will be fluffy bunnies from now on and he'll be invited to their dinner parties.

I don't know how Mark Twain would feel about his text being altered, I suspect that he'd be happy that racial slurs are no longer accepted, and could conceivable be okay with changing the text so that people continued to read it...but I suspect he'd be rather annoyed at the new text conflating racial prejudice with slavery. (And, thus, sans slavery, everything is fine.)

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (1)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about 2 years ago | (#40185033)

I swear there's a quotation of Twain where he has choice words for anyone who dares to change his text, but I can't find it...

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185387)

It contained language unsuitable for the general public, so the censors changed it to a glowing review of how they should change his work as they see fit.

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (1, Insightful)

BattleApple (956701) | about 2 years ago | (#40185357)

A while back, I reverted an edit to the Black & Decker article. Apparently, someone was offended by the name of the company.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Black_%26_Decker&diff=prev&oldid=353835547 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Okay, Okay It Was Me (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#40185545)

Fucking hilarious.

Publishers need to be introduced to diff (4, Insightful)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | about 2 years ago | (#40183003)

Such an amazing set of tools such as diff and grep would probably amaze them.

Re:Publishers need to be introduced to diff (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 2 years ago | (#40183037)

Diff is the kind of thing that MOST PROFESSIONALS would benefit from.

Imagine diffing laws from year to year.

Re:Publishers need to be introduced to diff (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183079)

They didn't even tick the "case sensitive" box!

Re:Publishers need to be introduced to diff (2)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#40183199)

Who sed? A little globbing and reg-ex goes a long way :-)

Take This Kindled Book and Nook It (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183011)

Er, NUKE it.

George Orwell couldn't even come close to today (4, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#40183017)

"I accidentally Western Literature, is that bad?"

It's not just intentional malice you need to look out for but also just pure distilled stupidity.

Re:George Orwell couldn't even come close to today (1, Funny)

Garble Snarky (715674) | about 2 years ago | (#40183725)

Tolstoy isn't really western, is it?

Re:George Orwell couldn't even come close to today (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185497)

Yes, in the sense of Russia being part of the "western world" descended from Greek and Roman cultures.

No, in the sense of "Tolstoy wrote about cowboys and Indians."

Instant NewThought (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183025)

s/Raskolnikov/Obama/g

Re:Instant NewThought (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183237)

Congratulations. You've managed to demonstrate familiarity with Crime and Punishment and regular expressions while saying something completely inane.

This isn't about regular expressions... (3, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about 2 years ago | (#40183031)

'eBook Regex Gone Haywire'

This is a straight-forward substring replace, not a regular expression. A not-completely-stupid regex would at least have only converted \bKindle\b, although obviously even then human oversight would be necessary.

Re:This isn't about regular expressions... (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 2 years ago | (#40183121)

Not to mention keeping capitalization as part of the regex. there is no need to transform kindle or KINDLE, if you just want to transform Kindle

Re:This isn't about regular expressions... (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about 2 years ago | (#40183481)

Depends entirely on how they did it, it's perfectly possible to write a regex which is identical to a substring replace, and I'm sure there's plenty of software that does exactly that despite the technical extra overhead of calling a regex engine.

Generally though, yes I agree, regex is being used synonymously with replace just because this is Slashdot and we need to wave our special words around.

What a brute force method... (3, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | about 2 years ago | (#40183047)

You could say it's downright medireview.

Re:What a brute force method... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185535)

You could say it's downright medireview.

I think you need to reJSON.parseuate your regexes.

Amusing, but... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183065)

So, this story is definitely an amusing anecdote, but I feel like TFA has the wrong takeaway. The fact is, while this specific issue is obviously e-book related, the overall problem of poor quality, low cost public domain publications is in no way specific to e-books. There have always been low budget publishing houses that print poorly edited, poorly translated versions of public domain works. Spend some time digging around used book sales, you'll find an endless supply of these, most notably from the 60's and 70's.

Re:Amusing, but... (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40183147)

So, this story is definitely an amusing anecdote, but I feel like TFA has the wrong takeaway. The fact is, while this specific issue is obviously e-book related, the overall problem of poor quality, low cost public domain publications is in no way specific to e-books. There have always been low budget publishing houses that print poorly edited, poorly translated versions of public domain works. Spend some time digging around used book sales, you'll find an endless supply of these, most notably from the 60's and 70's.

No, the sad part is full price books from Amazon with incoherent pagination, horribly over recompressed jpegs and a verdant sea of spelling errors. I'd give Project Gutenberg a pass for those sorts of things except that the majority of PG books I've read are actually pretty well done.

When I'm paying top dollar for a product, I'd like some attempt at quality control....

Re:Amusing, but... (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40183341)

I find when paying top dollar is when you are least likely to get quality control. Look at really expensive software as a great example, I have never seen any costing 6 figures or more that was not a huge pain and did not fail to do its job on a regular basis.

Re:Amusing, but... (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#40183803)

Amen brother.

And the more your company paid for a product, the more likely you aren't allowed to use anything else. "Why would we use a *free* product, when we have this overblown expensive product that doesn't work?"

Re:Amusing, but... (4, Interesting)

b0bby (201198) | about 2 years ago | (#40183611)

This is the problem exactly. I can deal with odd formatting from a PG book (though as you say, most are fine); what pisses me off is recent, full price ebooks where there has obviously not been the slightest attempt at editing or typesetting. One I got recently had a consistent problem where quoted text changed font & size after the first paragraph, which is pretty jarring. A full price book on my Nook should be a better experience than PG or scanned & OCR'd pdb were on my old Palm Pilot but sometimes these types of glitches just take you out of the experience & actually seem worse.

The Oatmeal's book "5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth" I luckily got out of the library (through Overdrive) - the images are so small as to be unreadable, both on the PC & ipad. If you look at the Play store, there are lots of good reviews, but they're all from Goodreads & such for the paper version. I'm sure it's funny, if you can read it; if I'd paid money for this pile of bits I'd be pissed. Does the publisher not own an ipad or a Kindle Fire? Did they not load it on one single device & say to themselves, "hmm, this really sucks, let's fix it"?

Re:Amusing, but... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#40183875)

When I'm paying top dollar for a product, I'd like some attempt at quality control....

Heh. Believe it or not, some people actually still buy the myth that free markets encourage this.

Re:Amusing, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183893)

It is not surprising PG books are of good quality. They are free. Someone actually CARED enough about the BOOK to turn into a free e-book.

sed -i ... (5, Funny)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 2 years ago | (#40183105)

sed -i s/wand/wang/g Harry\ Potter*

Re:sed -i ... (2)

EkriirkE (1075937) | about 2 years ago | (#40183141)

I love this version!

Re:sed -i ... (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#40184069)

Let's not wanger off-topic...

Re:sed -i ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183683)

for those who haven't read the referenced bash.org quote [bash.org] :

<JonJonB> Purely in the interests of science, I have replaced the word "wand" with "wang" in the first Harry Potter Book
<JonJonB> Let's see the results...

<JonJonB> "Why aren't you supposed to do magic?" asked Harry.
<JonJonB> "Oh, well -- I was at Hogwarts meself but I -- er -- got expelled, ter tell yeh the truth. In me third year. They snapped me wang in half an' everything

<JonJonB> A magic wang... this was what Harry had been really looking forward to.

<JonJonB> "Yes, yes. I thought I'd be seeing you soon. Harry Potter." It wasn't a question. "You have your mother's eyes. It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wang. Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wang for charm work."
<JonJonB> "Your father, on the other hand, favored a mahogany wang. Eleven inches. "

<JonJonB> Harry took the wang. He felt a sudden warmth in his fingers. He raised the wang above his head, brought it swishing down through the dusty air and a stream of red and gold sparks shot from the end like a firework, throwing dancing spots of light on to the walls

<JonJonB> "Oh, move over," Hermione snarled. She grabbed Harry's wang, tapped the lock, and whispered, 'Alohomora!"

<JonJonB> The troll couldn't feel Harry hanging there, but even a troll will notice if you stick a long bit of wood up its nose, and Harry's wang had still been in his hand when he'd jumped - it had gone straight up one of the troll's nostrils.

<JonJonB> He bent down and pulled his wang out of the troll's nose. It was covered in what looked like lumpy gray glue.

<JonJonB> He ran onto the field as you fell, waved his wang, and you sort of slowed down before you hit the ground. Then he whirled his wang at the dementors. Shot silver stuff at them.

<JonJonB> Ok
<JonJonB> I have found, definitive proof
<JonJonB> that J.K Rowling is a dirty DIRTY woman, making a fool of us all
<JonJonB> "Yes," Harry said, gripping his wang very tightly, and moving into the middle of the deserted classroom. He tried to keep his mind on flying, but something else kept intruding.... Any second now, he might hear his mother again... but he shouldn't think that, or he would hear her again, and he didn't want to... or did he?
<melusine > O_______O
<JonJonB> Something silver-white, something enormous, erupted from the end of his wang

<JonJonJonB> Then, with a sigh, he raised his wang and prodded the silvery substance with its tip.

<JonJonJonB> 'Get - off - me!' Harry gasped. For a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncles sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wang.

hey (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183123)

It's a dangerous world of low cost ebooks out here. Try this. At least, typos are not intentional.
http://archive.org/details/warandpeace030164mbp

There is also that brand new site called Project Gutenberg, look for it.

Re:hey (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40183365)

It's a dangerous world of low cost ebooks out here

Nah, some of the expensive ebooks are worse; I've seen a number of people complain about e-books of recent high-priced novels where they've clearly OCR-ed the print book rather than use the actual digital text it was created from, because it's full of uncorrected OCR errors or 'corrections' to the OCR errors which are even further from what the text should say.

Not "The Text of a Canonical Work" (4, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | about 2 years ago | (#40183143)

Unless it is in Russian. Any translation runs the risk of not being "as the author intended".

Re:Not "The Text of a Canonical Work" (2)

Pope (17780) | about 2 years ago | (#40183307)

If the translation is done with care, it will follow the author's intentions very closely. That is the hallmark of good translations.

Death of the author due to death of the author (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40183465)

How do we know what the author's intentions are, especially for works whose author has been dead for at least 70 years?

Re:Death of the author due to death of the author (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#40184141)

How do we know what the author's intentions are, especially for works whose author has been dead for at least 70 years?

If the author's intentions are not obvious from the text, then you're no better off reading it in the original Russian.

Re:Death of the author due to death of the author (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184675)

If an author is deliberately unclear and leaves two possible explanations, which the reader is supposed to understand and be conflicted over - perhaps to be explained later - well, it would be very hard to translate and still produce the same two interpretations.

Re:Not "The Text of a Canonical Work" (2)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#40183697)

No. Definitely no. There are works which only shine in translation. A notable example would be the TV series The Persuaders! [imdb.com] , which was o.k. in the original English, but hilariously great in the dubbed German version.

Re:Not "The Text of a Canonical Work" (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#40183863)

It's not possible to translate Russian into English and maintain the original depression. Nothing can possibly be more depressing than it can be in Russian.

Re:Not "The Text of a Canonical Work" (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 2 years ago | (#40185247)

Indeed, some authors actually do their own translations, or have substantial input into them.

The problem with eBooks. (0)

professorguy (1108737) | about 2 years ago | (#40183149)

There is no way to hide an eBook. If you cannot HIDE it, you cannot OWN it.

That which cannot be hidden will eventually be stolen.

Re:The problem with eBooks. (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | about 2 years ago | (#40183249)

Sure there is. Put it on an encrypted partition.

Re:The problem with eBooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183335)

That which cannot be hidden will eventually be stolen.

I prefer "security through geometry." If you make something big enough, it doesn't matter who sees it, they're not going to cart it away in any useful timeframe. So far it's worked for over 90% of the pyramids of Giza.

It's a bit harder to implement the concept with data, but CDs, DVDs, and BDs have each had a couple years where they were too big to reproduce.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have 453 stonemasons to oversee.

Re:The problem with eBooks. (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | about 2 years ago | (#40183383)

What are you talking about? If you are talking about hiding the collection of bits that make the file well that can bi hidden/obscured/encrypted/brokenup in an number of ways. If you are talking about hiding it when it exists on a reader... I can hide my nook just as easy as hiding a dead tree.

Just wrong. (4, Funny)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 2 years ago | (#40183155)

They really shouldn't mess with the clbuttics.

Re:Just wrong. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183493)

Lol, wish I had mod points.

The solution is simple... (2, Insightful)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#40183165)

Part of the problem is the grotesque need to put advertisement inside everything we do, because sweet Jebus help me if we can't find some way to squeeze another penny of profit off a dead author's moldering corpse. Sadly, this problem isn't going away any time soon. How about this, separate the "Work of Art" from the annoying bits. Literally have them be distinct and separate objects. Leave the art alone. Do not touch it. Keep your grubby mitts off my masterpiece you heathen. Dork with your part as much as you like... it is after all your part. This is about sloppy data management and publishers need to begin to understand the nature of data. That is, if they intend to sell books in an electronic format. All you publishers, please have a brief but productive conversation with a few software and IT folk about how you manage data integrity, and ensure your product doesn't A) Get stepped on by stupid stuff B) Get corrupted by lack of proper data safeguards.

The rest as they say, is business as usual... please proceed, nothing to see here.

Re:The solution is simple... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#40183483)

The solution IS simple: Read actual books.

Another clbuttic case... (4, Funny)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#40183177)

Just more of the same clbuttic errors.

(Hint: "ass" was one of the 13 words.)

You can be sure (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:You can be sure (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40183475)

Yes, I would.

If I cared what the publisher wanted to write, then I would read something written by the publisher.

Re:You can be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183711)

So you only read unedited works? I would bet all you have ever read is what the publisher wants you to read. But this is slashdot, home of the alpha/hyper-critical nerds that talk a way bigger game than they bring in real life.

Re:You can be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183927)

You have a reading comprehension problem, don't you?

Re:You can be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184023)

I know I am finding it very hard to comprehend YOUR comment since everything else up to that has made perfect sense.

Reading War and Peace (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183225)

Probably one of the best arguments I've ever heard for reading books on tablets. The book usually weighs somewhere from four to six pounds.

Same with DB dumps (2)

stackdump (553408) | about 2 years ago | (#40183231)

I once saw the same issue when a db dump was edited. A user 'bend' was replaced with 'ainsleyj' globally - hilarity ensued.

Normalize plz (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40183521)

What that means is that your database wasn't normalized properly. In a normalized relational database, the username is stored in only one place, and all other references are through the primary key, which is typically a 32-bit integer userid.

Romeo & Juliet (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#40183263)

But soft, what light through yonder Linux breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the Oracle(TM).
Arise, fair Oracle(TM), and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she

dead tree (1)

Corson (746347) | about 2 years ago | (#40183283)

Yes, and you can Search & Replace "dead tree" with "paper" to make sure that readers view text as originally intended.

Umm, yeah? (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40183285)

Has anybody ever been introduced to the wonderful world of the truly dreadful unauthorized variants of canonical texts that were being hacked out while the ink on those texts was barely dry?

Actors and/or audience members cobbling their (often surprisingly good; but not good enough) memory of a new work of Shakespear into a cut-price unauthorized edition, some really trippy stuff in those version... Hack printers buying first editions and setting blunt type as fast and furious as they could, to get their knockoff on the street before the other guy did... Never mind the various editorial mistakes in subsequent prints, bowdlerizations, etc.

Of course, works that started as oral traditions or assembled-by-committee mashes of existing texts are far worse than even the worst horrors of post-gutenburg hackery. Oh, and let's not even talk about the dark history of situations where translation has been needed...

There's a whole industry, in academia, of 'critical editions' that are distinguished in no small part by the editor actually giving a damn about the sources drawn from, attempting to provide the most accurate reproduction of the original, essays and footnotes illuminating the process of choosing between manuscript A and manuscript B, and how to transliterate manuscript C's character names, and whatnot.

Sure, .99 public domain cash-ins are largely shlock(Project Gutenburg isn't world-class critical editions; but they do at least tend to be produced by people who give a damn and aren't just grubbing for cash by releasing quick and dirty repackages); but the quality of the low end of the market for printed works has always been pretty dire. At least, these days, we don't generally see physical problems like crap ink, blunt, used type, or horrid paper stock also being inflicted on the readers in the cheap seats.

Re:Umm, yeah? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#40183633)

I've actually had fairly good success with PG and eBooks. They are just as good, if not better in some cases, than the eBooks I've purchased so far as quality control goes.

Re:Umm, yeah? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40185099)

I have as well. My point was merely that serious freaking out about textual integrity and historical accuracy and translation and whatnot is fairly serious business. It's a pretty big deal within academic publishing.

PG largely fails the zOMG MUST BE AUTHENTICEST!! test; but produces fairly high quality results because only people who care are involved.

The cut-price shlock slingers can be widely variable. If you are lucky, they are a more or less straight PG rip, and fairly decent; but you can't expect more than a few minutes of effort went into the book.

Buttbuttinate (1)

J'raxis (248192) | about 2 years ago | (#40183295)

Buttbuttinate [google.com] . That is all.

Digital version of scribes (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 years ago | (#40183349)

We have reentered the realm of scribes. Time to apply textual criticism [wikipedia.org] .

ISBN+ (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#40183355)

The ridiculous fees you pay to get an ISBN for each type of distribution (one # for each hardcover, paperback, epub, .pdf, .html, etc), or new addition of the work should also include registry of a verifier code generated by Secure Hash Algorithm. A SHA verifier would be simple to validate when the work is in an electronic form. $150 and up per ISBN? DAMN, they should do SOMETHING for you other than enter a row in a DB! Unique descriptive domain names don't even cost that much. So what's the point? A: Distributors won't sell it unless you've paid the ISBN tax.

Furthermore, I wonder if the ISBN #s match between the Kindle and Nook versions? If they do match, then it's actually FRAUD. They essentially created a new "Nook" edition...

Re:ISBN+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183557)

At best it's a violation of their agreement with the issuing agency (R.R. Bowker in the US). But there's no law that says books even must have an ISBN, let alone that re-using an ISBN for the ongoing publication of substantially similar work would constitute fraud.

checksum (4, Interesting)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 years ago | (#40183363)

Every novel should have an MD5 hash....

Re:checksum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183901)

Is it only me that fears printed matter will become a rarity and digital texts is far too open to abuse?

Re:checksum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184193)

I for one welcome our Idiocratic[sic] overlords

Re:checksum (1)

InfiniteZero (587028) | about 2 years ago | (#40183947)

... as its ISDN.

Re:checksum (1)

InfiniteZero (587028) | about 2 years ago | (#40183955)

ISBN that is.

Re:checksum (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184847)

Okay... what is the MD5 of this: “

Answer: It depends.

If converted to plain straight quotes before MD5 hash is computed:
b15835f133ff2e27c7cb28117bfae8f4

If encoded as the HTML character code, &ldquo;
c309d08e0bdcc7dec5860193c920b9f7

If the curly quote character is encoded using Windows-1252
5c5aa2ba6e48a0e559c149cdd4ce7a9e

If the curly quote character is encoded using UTF-8
3699ad8ab1969bd365181914e04f52eb

Do you begin to see where it might not be so easy to verify that the digital version is correct by comparing a MD5 hash to the one printed on the inside front cover?

Holy Sh1t, someone made a mistake (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40183409)

someone did a replace all because they were lazy, on a FREE PUBLIC DOMAIN BOOK

its a conspiracy, B&N is not allowing any use of the word kindle in any book they sell. in fact if you go to the store you will find EVERY PHYSICAL BOOK they sell will have the word kindle crossed out and Nook written in

Just like paper books (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183497)

This isn't a unique trait of electronic publishing -- exactly the same sort of thing happens all the time in paper-based books. That's why the second edition doesn't match the first; they corrected typesetting errors, the author fixed mis-edited sections, etc.

If you wanted to argue that many of the ported-to-electronic-version-separately-from-original-publication book release are low-quality I'd agree 100%. Just like many of the ported-to-DVD-from-VHS-release movie releases are low quality. But that's a matter of the amount of effort they put into the conversion process, not a fundamental limitation of the format.

Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40183539)

The iwizard of a previous publisher was dawizardd by a similar problem.

Well, this is the biggest ebook problem I've had: (2)

hey! (33014) | about 2 years ago | (#40183571)

Cheap, crummy ebook conversions with no editorial checking. This has been going on for years, and it will continue to be a problem for the foreseeable future.

A physical book is costly to produce. It's costly to stock and ship them as well. Given those costs, the additional cost of doing a little editing is insignificant. Ebooks, on the other hand, open up new depths of low cost publishing. It's one of those perverse, ironic results. You'd think that cutting down the reproduction and stocking costs of a book would free up money for other tasks, but in fact what happens is that editing, design and promotion become an opportunity for cutting what is now a more significant proportion of expenses.

As ebooks become the dominant form of book reading, the opportunity arises for marginal publishers to publish books with expenses cut to the bone. Eventually the role of publishers as mediators between the author and public to disappear, and authors will hire editors, story development consultants and designers themselves. Or perhaps literary agents will take the place of traditional publishers, becoming full service business management services for authors. In any case, expect that a greater proportion of "published" books to be poorly designed and edited.

Scunthorpe Problem (5, Informative)

constpointertoconst (1979236) | about 2 years ago | (#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]

Re:Scunthorpe Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184581)

Businesses such as this one [cumings.ca] can also have similar difficulties. Yes, that link IS safe for work.

Obnoxious geeks (2)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#40183629)

"Dead tree version"? Really? Is that kind of asshole-ish snark really justified? If you want to read an Amazon-brand Shakespeare-flavored Licensed Advertisement-Delivery System (tm), go right ahead, but there's no reason to poke fun at actual books, which are significantly less likely to have these kinds of glaring mistakes in them.

Happens in teh Wiki, too. (1)

geckoFeet (139137) | about 2 years ago | (#40183751)

From (my contribution on) the talk page of the article on Romance Languages:

Can anything be done about the automated censorship of the Dante quotation in footnote 12, which now ends: "nam domus nova et dominus meus lo**censored**ur"? The censored part is a "c" followed by a "u" followed by an "n" followed by a "t"; the original can be found, for example, here: http://www.greatdante.net/texts/vulgari/vulgari.html [greatdante.net] (chapter XI, paragraph 7).

Apparantly, their Automated Puritan can pull lady parts out of the middle of a Latin word.

Re:Happens in teh Wiki, too. (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40184615)

What about Japanese? A very common verb conjugation is "-shite", if you use the most common (for westerners) romaji transliteration.

Re:Happens in teh Wiki, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40185115)

I would suspect that books written in Japanese don't use romanji.

Re:Happens in teh Wiki, too. (1)

Dahan (130247) | about 2 years ago | (#40184693)

What makes you think the censorship was automated? The article had "locuntur" from when it was first added [wikipedia.org] on 2 August 2011 until a change [wikipedia.org] made by an unregistered user on 26 January 2012. While I don't know why that user made that change, it wasn't automatically done by Wikipedia. So what can be done is for you (or someone) to change it back (actually, someone has already fixed it).

Their site doesn't work, either. (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40184015)

"Superior Formatting Publishing" [superiorformatting.com] 's web site is broken. It consists mostly of "Whoops, looks like there was a problem get the book data from Amazon. Please try again in a moment" and "Amazon API error". Plus a Kindle ad. And "All of our e-books are formatted specifically for the Kindle by an expert in formatting online content using only raw code."

Copyright Violation? (1)

literaldeluxe (1527087) | about 2 years ago | (#40184239)

If thery're doing this to copyrighted works, aren't they violating the copyright by making an unauthorized modifications and then distributing it?

fp dick (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184279)

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Workflow! (1)

metrometro (1092237) | about 2 years ago | (#40184299)

Publishing houses are unfathomably bad at editorial workflow. Consider all the official, licensed ebooks with OCR problems. The publishers didn't have a soft copy of their own books. Staggering.

Now consider that managing the editorial workflow is their only value add, and ask yourself if there's a way to short stock on the publishing industry. Direct to consumer can't come soon enough.

What a dummy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184399)

The first fail here is paying for an epub copy of War and Peace. Only a shoddy questionable "publishing" company would make you pay for a digital copy of a book that is in the public domain.

It took me 2 seconds to find the book on gutenberg.
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2600

Re:What a dummy... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 2 years ago | (#40184689)

Lowlife scumsuckers like this should be named and shamed. Publicly. Preferably prominently on google and Amazon reviews. Then they should be destroyed. These bitches are probably fleecing public libraries and schoolboards.

Old AD&D Text (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184475)

I remember seeing this same sort of thing in hardcopy in the AD&D "Encyclopedia Magica". There were dozens of places where it described characters taking e.g. 2d6+1 points of dawizard.

A clbuttic abuse of search and replace (1)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40184531)

My favorite still has to be the newspaper story about the Enola Homosexual [google.com] that dropped an atom bomb on Tokyo.

get your ebooks from gutenberg.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184755)

problem solved, you're welcome.

Funny but stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40184779)

What's disgusting and sad is how much a little human proofreading would have prevented, or at least lessened, this sort of thing. I get disgusted when I see these sort of errors in modern day print, where all it would have taken is a few minutes that these companies don't want to pay for. When are these companies going to realize that when you take the human factor out of the equation, what you are left with is garbage?

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