Uh, B&N marketing, we have a problem

Barnes & Noble recently unveiled its ebook reader, dubbing it Nook. Well enough.

Except when said product’s name is immediately followed by the words “e-reader” or “e-book.”

The results sound a little – no, exactly – like “nookie reader” or “nookie book.”

Which might be a small problem for sensitive ears, especially when you consider that the Nook is being marketed to young women.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary lists it thusly:


(Var.) Nookie

1 often vulgar : the female partner in sexual intercourse
2 often vulgar : sexual intercourse

The Urban Dictionary and other sources get into more, umm, graphic descriptions.

As slang goes, it’s not the worst you ever heard, and this might be a case of folks who recognize it are not likely to be offended, and folks who might find it offensive are not likely to know the meaning of “nooky” or “nookie” and thus remain blissfully unaware of the unfortunate juxtaposition of “nookie reader.”

The term “nookie” is widespread enough to have resulted in a minor hit for whiny rap-rockers Limp Bizkit  (“Nookie”) a decade ago.

Barnes & Noble’s promo video is innocuous enough.

But it just seems to me that somebody, somewhere, ought to make a point of researching potential pitfalls when developing and naming a product.

Apple’s iPad produced a few snickers among certain puerile critics, but those kind of things can kill a marketing plan if its intended audience is turned off by the name or terms associated with its name. Apparently it hasn’t hurt the iPad.

But things could be worse.

At least Nook’s not a cell phone. Imagine making a “Nookie call.” In public.


3 thoughts on “Uh, B&N marketing, we have a problem

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