Local Blogger Goes Viral

Sundae Horn

Philip Howard is top of the Google charts. Seriously. UPDATE: His story will be on Marketplace on NPR Wednesday! 

Try googling “Nookd” and you'll see.

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Local Blogger Goes Viral

Here’s the story: Last month, Philip was bragging to his loyal blog followers about how he’s reading the biggest book ever (War and Peace) and it was just too heavy to hold it up, so he had to use an e-reader. (How did all the readers of Tolstoy's tome – since its publication in 1869 until the invention of e-readers – manage it? Perhaps people were made of stronger stuff back then.)

Anyway, Philip ordered War and Peace for his Nook e-reader, and then somewhere about two pounds into the story, he noticed something odd. We’ll let him tell it: 

“As I was reading, I came across this sentence: ‘It was as if a light had been Nookd in a carved and painted lantern....’ Thinking this was simply a glitch in the software, I ignored the intrusive word and continued reading. Some pages later I encountered the rogue word again. With my third encounter I decided to retrieve my hard cover book and find the original (well, the translated) text.

For the sentence above I discovered this genuine translation: ‘It was as if a light had been kindled in a carved and painted lantern....’ 

Someone at Barnes and Noble (a twenty year old employee? or maybe the CEO?) had substituted every incidence of ‘kindled’ with ‘Nookd!’”

There you have it. Does Barnes and Noble feel so threatened by the competition from Amazon’s Kindle that they would screw with one of the longest works of literature of all time? Probably not. It was, most likely, the work of the publisher.

But for Philip, his discovery of the search-and-replace trick has taken him to new heights of fame.

Before his Nookd post, the most page views any one of his blog posts had achieved was 567 for some beautiful photos of snow on Ocracoke. As of this morning, his "Nookd" post is up to 57,000 views and growing.

Tech sites all over the internet have picked up on Philip’s "Nookd" post, even MSNBC! That venerable news source believes the word mix-up to be an honest mistake.

Comments on the other sites run from heartfelt concern about the authenticity of what we read to humorous analogies. One commenter on another blog wondered, “What happens to books about the Amazon River?”

Whatever the reason, "Nookd" has put Philip and his Ocracoke Island News blog on the World Wide Web map. One question remains: Will this story help Ocracoke Current go viral? We'll keep you posted.   


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