Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Amazon - We Sell Book's

On a recent trip to Barnes & Noble, my ladyfriend and I got an impressive demo of the Nook, and we were both quite taken by the idea of an e-book reader. She's since dropped some blatant hints about her desire to have one, so I've decided to start paying attention to this burgeoning gadget-category.

After a few weeks of seeing Nooks and Kindles at every turn (it was a few weeks full of airport departure lounges, hotel lobbies, and caf├ęs) I'm starting to believe that e-books are in fact 'the future'.

As soon as I decided to start paying attention to the technology, Amazon unveiled their newest iteration of the Kindle, so I decided to check out the official video detailing why it was worth the cash. It's a fairly typical video for this type of product: the main points appear as text on screen as a soothing male voice dishes out the impressive facts, and the Kindle pirouettes around on screen flirtatiously from different angles. Sadly, I was only able to enjoy this gadget-porn for about 78 seconds before an unwelcome visitor presented itself to me:

Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!

Begone, misplaced apostrophe! You don't belong here! You'd think that the largest purveyor of the written-word in the world would know where to put a shagging inverted-comma, right?

Of course they do:

These are the kind of silly mistakes that pedants like me use as excuses to ruin Christmasses. (Ask my girlfriend about the year when she really wanted an iPod, and ended up with a Sansa instead)

(Okay, maybe these are the kind of silly mistakes that pedants like me use to make themselves feel smarter than a huge corporation that earns more in one hour of operation than they will in their entire lives.)


Update: Gamma Goblin kindly pointed out in the comments that this matter isn't as black and white as I'd like to believe. The prick.

3 comments:

Gamma Goblin said...

Wrong again Sully. Adding 's to the end of acronyms is not only syntactically correct but favored by many reputable literary agencies. The reason for it's inclusion is simple: without it, the acronym can be read as PDFS. Even the inclusion of periods between the letters will not help the matter, so even in that case, 's can still be added i.e. P.D.F.'s.

The fact is, the initialising of phrases in the first place is the real misuse of the English language. It's almost, but not quite, as vulgar as using numeral figures rather than spelling out amounts of money, when writing prose.

I will be in my office all day Friday if you wish to debate this with me.

Sully said...

So it's one of those matters of preference, eh? Tarnation and drat. I hate all this 'let's all just get along' malarkey.

Here's what Wikipedia profferred:

"Acronyms are initialisms used as if they are words. The most consistent approach for pluralizing acronyms is to simply add a lowercase -s as a suffix. This works well even for acronyms ending with an s, as with CASs (pronounced "kazzes"), while still making it possible to use the possessive form (-'s) for acronyms without confusion. The traditional style of pluralizing single letters with -'s was naturally extended to acronyms when they were commonly written with periods. This form is still preferred by some people for all initialisms and thus -'s as a suffix is often seen in informal usage."

To that I say: "two wrongs don't make a right".

Gamma Goblin said...

What happens when you write ".pdf" (as in the file type extension) and you want to make it plural? And don't try to be smart and say ".pdf files".

Most silly things like this have no set rules, like the old chestnut: "an hero" verses "a hero". Both are actually correct but using one version may get you destroyed in 4Chan.

Enough of this nonsense. The important thing is that I'm very taken by the new Kindle.