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1. Michael McKenzie Moves to Algonquin

Algonquin Books Logo (GalleyCat)Michael McKenzie has been named executive director of publicity at Algonquin. His start date has been set for May 26th.

McKenzie will be based at the publishing house’s New York office. He will manage publicity projects for both the adult and children’s books list.

Prior to this development, McKenzie serve as the senior of director of publicity of the Ecco and Harper imprints at HarperCollins. In the past, he has worked on campaigns for authors Michael Chabon, Amy Tan, and Joyce Carol Oates.

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2. Saturday Night Live Unveils a Black Widow Spoof

Have you ever envisioned a Black Widow movie? Scarlett Johansson, the actress who has played this character in several Marvel movies, teamed up with the Saturday Night Live cast to explore this project idea.

The video embedded above features the hilarious spoof trailer for a fake film called Black Widow: Age of Me. Marvel Entertainment has many projects in the pipeline, but unfortunately none of them focus solely on the deadly female assassin Natasha Romanova.

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3. 13 Authors to Write Short Stories For a Summer Reading Program

Scholastic SRC15 authors (GalleyCat)Scholastic has enlisted 13 children’s books authors to help with the Summer Reading Challenge program.

The participants include R.L. Stine, Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce, Gordon Korman, Michael Northtrop, Varian Johnson, Jude Watson, Blue Balliet, Patrik Henry Bass, Roland Smith, Tui T. Sutherland, Lauren Tarshis, and Wendy Wan-Long Shang. These writers will create original short stories; kids will be able to access these “rewards” by tracking the minutes they spend reading.

According to the press release, “each of the authors has written a unique short story using the same opening sentence which is, ‘I glanced over my shoulder to make sure that no one had followed me into the shadowy library, then took a deep breath and opened the glowing book…'” The organizers behind this venture hope to break the record of 304,749,681 minutes (spent reading) that was set last summer.

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4. David McCullough Takes on the Wright Brothers

Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough has a new book out this week in which he tells the dramatic story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

“The Wright Brothers” lands on book store shelves tomorrow and is already the No. 7 book on Amazon’s Top 100 Books list, and is No. 1 in various categories including History and Engineering & Transportation. Here is more about the book from Simon & Schuster:

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

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5. Iconic Feminist Bookstore Changes Hands

Kathryn Livelli, the woman who ran Provincetown feminist bookstore Womencrafts for the past 16 years, is passing the torch.

Livelli has sold the institution to a former employee named Michelle Axelson. Livelli plans to help guide Axelson and to stay present in the shop as it changes hands. Axelson plans to expand the store’s product lines and to produce more events at the store in order to expand its audience.

\"My journey as a woman and as a lesbian has been made easier by institutions like Womencrafts and women like Kathryn Livelli,” stated Axelson. “I am inspired by the shop’s history and excited to keep it dynamic and relevant for generations to come.”

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6. Harlequin Books to be Published Under William Morrow List

HarperCollins has revealed plans to bring Harlequin’s nonfiction books into the William Morrow family, a move that comes a year after the publishing giant acquired the romance imprint.

“We feel that our longstanding expertise and strength in nonfiction publishing will benefit the Harlequin nonfiction authors and titles,” stated Michael Morrison, president/publisher of HarperCollins. “Therefore, nonfiction titles acquired by Harlequin for August 2015 and beyond will be published on the William Morrow list.”

As part of the shift, former Harlequin editors will join new divisions of HarperCollins. Deborah Brody will join William Morrow on December 1 as Executive Editor. Cara Bedick will join William Morrow on December 1 as Senior Editor. Rebecca Hunt will join the Harper Design group on November 10 as Senior Editor.

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7. What Are the Most Profitable Comic Book Movie Franchises?

Marvel’s Spider-Man is the top grossing movie franchise based on a comic book, according to 24/7 Wall Street. The franchise has grossed $3.96 billion in worldwide sales across its five movies.

DC Comics’ Batman ranked at No. 2 on the list with $3.8 billion in gross earnings worldwide and Marvel’s X-Men ranked at No. 3 on the list with $3.05 billion in gross earnings worldwide.

Follow this link to check out the top 10 list.

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8. Bay Area Free Book Exchange is Closing

The Bay Area Free Book Exchange, a public book exchange that has given away more than half a million books since 2009, is shutting its doors due to a “massive rent increase.” The rent is reportedly going up 70 percent, according to SF Gate.

“So far, there are no plans to relocate as we haven’t found an affordable space in the nearby areas,” explains the website.

The East Bay organization operated by taking book donations, selling some books on eBay in order to pay the bills and then giving the rest away for free. The service will close permanently on May 17th. Until then, readers can still donate and take books every weekend 9am-6pm. “All books on All shelves are FREE!!; but we do have a limit of 100 books per person per day,” explains the organization’s site.

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9. ReedPop Releases Its First E-Book

reedpopReedPop has published an e-book entitled 12 Books You Can’t Miss at BookCon 2015. This digital project contains excerpts from 12 highly anticipated books.

According to the press release, “each author has also written a unique, personalized note addressing BookCon fans.” Below, we’ve posted the full list of books.

Titles Featured in 12 Books You Can’t Miss at BookCon 2015

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10. Most Parents Prefer Print: INFOGRAPHIC

firstbook304First Book has created an infographic to show that “Parents Value Printed Books.” According to the company’s blog post, “a recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that 9 out of 10 parents of children under 18 say it’s important to them that their children read printed books.”

We’ve embedded the entire graphic after the jump for you to explore further. To learn more about kids and reading, check out Scholastic’s “What Do Kids Want in Books?” piece and BookUp’s “Reading Among Teenagers in Decline” piece.

First Book Parents Value Print Books Infographic

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11. Common Craft Creates a Video on Libraries

How have libraries changed to accommodate the patrons of the digital revolution?

The team at Common Craft, an instructional video company, has created a piece that focuses on “Libraries in the Internet Age.” The video embedded above has drawn more than 4,800 views on YouTube.

In an interview with School Library Journal, Common Craft co-founder Lee LeFever talked about the thought process behind this project: “We made this video because librarians are among our biggest fans and supporters. We’ve talked to [librarians] about the issues they face, particularly regarding the public perception of libraries. Our hope is that the video can be a useful resource that helps people see that libraries have evolved in the Internet Age.”

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12. Toni Morrison and David Baldacci Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

God Help the ChildWe’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending April 26, 2015–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #3 in Hardcover Fiction) God Help the Child by Toni Morrison: “At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love.” (April 2015)

(Debuted at #4 in Hardcover Fiction) Memory Man by David Baldacci: “Amos Decker’s life changed forever–twice. The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect–he can never forget anything.” (April 2015)

(Debuted at #5 in Hardcover Nonfiction) Missoula by Jon Krakauer: “Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, with a highly regarded state university, bucolic surroundings, a lively social scene, and an excellent football team the Grizzlies with a rabid fan base. The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Few of these assaults were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical. ” (April 2015)

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13. 2015 Edgar Award Winners Revealed

theedgarsThe Mystery Writers of America have revealed the 2015 Edgar Award winners. According to the press release, the announcements were made at the organization’s 69th gala banquet.

This annual prize, named after beloved writer Edgar Allan Poe, was established in 1945 to honor the best authors within the mystery genre. Below, we’ve posted the full list of winners.

2015 Edgar Award Winners

Best Novel: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Best First Novel by an American Author: Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman

Best Paperback Original: The Secret History of Las Vegas by Chris Abani

Best Fact Crime: Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood by William Mann

Best Critical/Biographical: Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe by J.W. Ocker

Best Short Story: “What Do You Do?” (from The Rogues Short Story Collection) by Gillian Flynn

Best Juvenile: Greenglass House by Kate Milford

Best Young Adult: The Art of Secrets by James Klise

Best Television Episode Teleplay: “Episode 1″ (from the Happy Valley teleplay) by Sally Wainwright

Simon & Schuster-Mary Higgins Clark Award: The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey

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14. Weinstein Co. and BBC to Create a War & Peace Miniseries

War & Peace Cover (galleycat)The Weinstein Co. and the BBC will team up to create a miniseries based on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “the limited series will be simulcast in the U.S. in 2016.” Three cable networks, Lifetime, A&E Network and History, have agreed to air this adaptation.

Actors Paul Dano, Lily James, Gillian Anderson, James Norton, and Jim Broadbent have joined the cast. Click here to download a free digital copy of the novel. (via Variety.com)

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15. Cover Revealed for Felicia Day’s Memoir

Felicia Day Memoir Cover Art

The cover for Felicia Day’s forthcoming memoir, entitled You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), has been unveiled. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?

Day showcased the jacket design in a YouTube video. Touchstone, a Simon & Schuster imprint, will publish the book on August 11th.

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16. Suzanne Murphy Named President of HarperCollins Children’s Books

Harper Children's Logo (GalleyCat)Suzanne Murphy will become president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Susan Katz, the executive who is currently holds these titles, will retire this summer.

Murphy has been working as a vice president and publisher at Disney Publishing Worldwide. Her start date at HarperCollins has been set for May 20th. She will report to CEO Brian Murray.

Murphy gave this statement in the press release: “I am thrilled and honored to be taking the baton from Susan, whose leadership of HarperCollins Children’s has set the bar high in the industry for so many years. I look forward to working with the incredibly dynamic, creative, and smart team at HarperCollins. Joining the Children’s group at a time when they are experiencing such tremendous success, with the prospect of even greater growth globally, following the establishment of new international divisions, is incredibly exciting”

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17. Fifty Shades Darker Teaser Video Released

Universal Pictures has unveiled a teaser for the Fifty Shades Darker film adaptation. The video embedded above features actor Jamie Dornan in the lead role of Christian Grey.

Niall Leonard, the husband of E.L. James, will serve as the screenwriter for this project. The Fifty Shades of Grey sequel movie is set to hit theaters on February 10, 2017. (via ETonline.com)

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18. Couple Sues Self-Published Author Over Image Use

A couple in Ohio is suing self-published author Lacey Noonan for allegedly using their photo on the cover of her self-published book, “A Gronking to Remember.”

John & Jane Roe claim that the photo used on the cover was taken for their engagement and was misappropriated by the author. According to the complaint, they did not give permission, nor were they paid for the use of their image. “The subject matter of the book, A Gronking to Remember, is less than tasteful and is offensive,” they claim in the complaint.

The book has been featured on The Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live. The couple is seeking profits derived from the use or as an alternative, $10,000 in damages.

The complaint also lists Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple for selling the book.(Via Gawker).

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19. Revolving Door News at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

HMH LogoThree members of the team at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have received promotions.

One change has taken place at the general interest group; henceforth, Liz Anderson will serve as the social media manager.

Within the children’s publishing division, Candace Finn has been named the senior manager of subsidiary rights.

Over at the publicity department, Leila Meglio is now a publicity associate.

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20. A Spider’s Heart Book Featured On Kickstarter

Writer Alon Seifert and artist Eitan Cohen hope to raise $10,008 on Kickstarter. The collaborators have created an kid’s artbook entitled A Spider’s Heart: A Book About a Vegetarian Spider Artist. We’ve embedded a video about the project above.

According to the Kickstarter page, the book explores “choosing a path that is right for oneself and not giving up. It is also about creativity and how it can help anyone solve any problem. It is also a (very) general introduction to art for young kids. At the end of the book there is a glossary that presents the original pieces side by side with Little Pablo’s interpretations of these art works.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

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21. President Obama to Bring eBooks to Low Income Students

President Obama has launched a new plan to bring eBooks to underserved kids, in an effort to expand their access to digital learning materials. The effort is an expansion on Obama’s ConnectED program and includes two parts: securing $250 million worth of eBooks, as well as the ConnectED Library Challenge.

Major publishers including: Macmillan, Simon& Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, Bloomsbury and HarperCollins, among others have agreed to donate $250 million worth of eBooks available to libraries as part of the program.  In addition, nonprofits and libraries have teamed up on an app that will distribute materials from the public domain.

To help get these digital materials into the hands of kids, the White House has launched the ConnectED Library Challenge, a commitment by more than 30 communities to get every student to sign up for a library card. In addition, The New York Public Library and FirstBook are collaborating with Digital Public Library of America to help the effort to actually get these eBooks into the hands of young readers by helping patrons match their reading levels and interests.

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22. St. Martin’s Press To Publish Military Themed Books

St. Martin’s Press has formed a new publishing partnership with Force12 Media, the publisher of the Special Ops website SOFREP.com.

The two companies will work together to publish military and special operations themed titles under the St. Martin’s imprint, branded as SOFREP books. SMP Executive Editor Marc Resnick, Force12 Media CEO Brandon Webb and SOFREP Editor Jack Murphy will unite on the effort. The imprint will produce “several titles a year” beginning next year. The first book will be from  New York Times bestselling author Nick Irving.

“I’ve had the pleasure of publishing great books with Brandon Webb, including his bestselling memoir, THE RED CIRCLE.  To enter into a publishing partnership with him and Force12 Media, the largest digital network in the military content space, makes a lot of sense,” stated Resnick. “With St. Martin’s tradition of publishing quality, bestselling military nonfiction and Brandon and Jack Murphy’s knowledge, connections and promotion capabilities in this world, we look forward to developing some really exciting projects.\"

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23. Harper Lee Forms The Mockingbird Company

To Kill a MockingbirdAuthor Harper Lee has launched a nonprofit organization called the Mockingbird Company. AL.com reports that it will coordinate yearly performances of the To Kill a Mockingbird stage adaptation in Lee’s Alabama hometown.

Prior to this development, the executives behind the Dramatic Publishing Co. refused to extend the performance rights. After Lee stepped in, an announcement was made on the Dramatic Publishing Co.’s Facebook page that the “Mockingbird Company will produce the play in Monroeville beginning in 2016.”

Here’s more from The Independent: “A Facebook page was called Save Monroeville’s To Kill a Mockingbird play was set up to bring attention to the issue and help keep the play in Lee’s hometown. The page garnered support from around 4,000 people and even big names such as Oprah and J.K. Rowling.” (via The Huffington Post)

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24. Viola Davis to Star in Harriet Tubman Biopic

Viola DavisAcademy Award-nominated actress Viola Davis (pictured, via) has signed on to play abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a biopic. Tubman, who was born into slavery, became well-known for escaping and leading 300 others to freedom through an Underground Railroad.

The story will be based on Kate Clifford Larson’s biography, Bound For The Promised Land. Deadline.com reports that “HBO Films has teamed with writer Kirk Ellis, producer Doug Ellin and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV” for this project.

Here’s more from the article: “Cliff Dorfman, who had optioned the book, was a writer on the HBO comedy Entourage, created and executive produced by Ellin, who has a deal with the pay cable network. All key auspices have strong ties to HBO.”

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25. “Get Caught Reading” Campaign to Focus on Comics This Year

caughtreadingAAP is focusing in on comic books for its \"Get Caught Reading\" campaign this year. This year comic book characters including: Archie,  Fone Bone, Hip Hop Family Tree, Usagi Yojimbo and Charlie Brown will be featured in free posters caught in the act of reading.

The month-long promotion, which runs through May, focuses on encouraging literacy and reading for pleasure. “The freedom to read is an ongoing challenge for our industry, with many seeking to censor thoughts and ideas that they don’t agree with,” stated Charles Brownstein, Executive Director, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. “Comic books and graphic novels are especially likely to be challenged or even banned. We’re pleased to participate in this campaign that raises awareness of the role comic books have in our culture and supports the pleasure of reading.”

Coinciding with the free posters is Free Comic Book Day, in which participating stores will offer comic book giveaways.

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