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Batman Stars in a TED-Ed Lesson About Bats

The TED-Ed team has created a science lesson starring The Dark Knight. It explores the role that bats play in the world’s ecosystem and how these creatures are both “widely misunderstood and vilified.” The animated video embedded above features both Batman and cameos from several of Gotham City’s most infamous villains such as the Joker, Two-Face, and Poison Ivy. What do you think?

Hugh Howey’s Publishing Predictions For 2015

img-hughIndie author Hugh Howey is no stranger to the evolution of publishing. With his bestselling sci-fi series, he proved that self-publishing is a viable way to make a living as an author and that it can even lead to film partnerships with 20th Century Fox and print deals with Simon & Schuster.

Howey shared his book publishing predictions for 2015 with GalleyCat, revealing that he thinks that 2015 will be a quiet year compared to 2014.

“I predict eBook penetration will continue to grow,” said Howey. “Publishers seem to have embraced what digital does for their bottom line.”

The indie author thinks that the fate of Barnes & Noble will shake out this year and at the same time he expects that Apple and Google will win market share from Amazon.

“I’d like to think 2015 will be the year that major publishers budge on their digital royalty rates, but I’m not holding my breath,” he concluded.

Fan-Made ‘Marvel vs DC Epic Trailer’ Goes Viral

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the superheroes of Marvel and DC comics met one another? The person behind the Alex Luthor YouTube channel has created the “Marvel vs DC Epic Trailer.”

The fan-made video embedded above features appearances from Superman, The Hulk, Batman, The Flash, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Thus far, it has drawn more than 1.3 million views. (via ComicBook.com)

Trailer Unleashed For True Story

A trailer has been unleashed for True Story. This film adaptation is based on Michael Finkel’s memoir which shares the same title. The video embedded above features James Franco as Christian Longo and Jonah Hill as Finkel. A limited release date has been scheduled for April 10, 2015. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

PEN American Center Posts Letter Advocating For Free Speech to Sony Pictures CEO

PENThe hackers behind The Interview incident have elicited both anger and fear throughout the country. The PEN American Center has sent a letter addressed to the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, to protest against this act of censorship. The organization has posted the full piece on its website.

Besides various PEN executives and trustees, several high profile writers have also signed this note. Some of the participants include PEN president emeritus Salman Rushdie, novelist Neil Gaiman, children’s books illustrator Jules Feiffer, poet John Ashbery, and playwright Tony Kushner. Here’s an excerpt:

“PEN is appalled at the intrusive, criminal and profoundly menacing reprisals and threats that Sony Pictures has endured as a result of producing and planning to distribute The Interview. PEN has long stood with writers and creators who have suffered assaults aimed to suppress the dissemination of their ideas. We believe firmly that violence is never justified as a reaction to speech, no matter how offensive that speech may be to some.”

J.K. Rowling Shares New Draco Malfoy Story On Pottermore

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Harry Potter enthusiasts will be counting down the 12 days of Christmas with new stories on Pottermore. Over at the Pottmore Insider blog, fans were tasked with cracking a riddle (embedded above) about a student who was on a mission in service to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to unlock this new piece. For the past few days, J.K. Rowling has revealed new information about Professor Snape, Diagon Alley, and vampires in the wizarding world.

SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to know more, you should stop reading now!

Read more

Soundtrack Tool Booktrack Now Has 1 Million Members

booktrackBooktrack, a tool designed for self-published writers and publishers to add soundtracks to their eBooks, now has more than a million users.

The company, which launched 11 months ago, expects to reach 2 million by the end of its first year. Over the last year, more than 4,000 authors have joined the platform and Booktrack users have published more than 6,000 titles in 30 different languages. This includes more than just authors. Here is more from the press release:

Booktrack’s reach also extends to the classroom, where it has been proven to dramatically improve student literacy. More than 4,000 educators around the world have adopted the Booktrack Classroom application to help students more deeply engage with creative writing, essays, novels, and poetry studies.

Gone Girl Has Sold More Than a Million Copies

gone girlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn has sold 1, 049, 943 paperbacks, according to Nielsen Bookscan.

The book has earned the Nielsen Book Platinum Award, an honor given to books that have sold a million copies.

The title joins the ranks of The Da Vinci CodeTwilight, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceOne Day and The Lovely Bones.

 

 

Paco Porrúa, Credited With Popularizing Gabriel García Márquez, Has Died

UnknownThe Spanish editor and translator Francisco “Paco” Porrúa has died. He was 92 years old.

As the editor at Editorial Sudamericana, a publishing house in Buenos Aires, Porrúa discovered Gabriel García Márquez’s classic novel, 100 Years of Solitude.

The Buenos Aires Herald has more: “Apart from his undeniable gift as a translator and his keen eye for extraordinary, even if unknown or too daring, literary gems, Porrúa will forever be remembered as the man who, running contrary to the opinion of other editors and publishers who easily dismissed it as far too imaginative, devoured and became fascinated with García Márquez’s unpublished manuscript. Such was the fascination that Porrúa wrote him an advance payment cheque of US$500, which in 1967 was a small fortune for the impoverished writer and his wife, both living in Mexico at the time.”

The Hobbit Film Earned $90.6M in First 5 Days in Theaters

thehobbitPeter Jackson’s latest chapter in his adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit brought in $90.6 million in its first five days in theaters.

Variety has the scoop: “The franchise finale debuted Wednesday at 3,875 locations and easily trumped tracking that predicted a debut of about $70 million. For its inaugural three-day weekend, the fantasy adventure earned $56.2 million.”

In celebration of The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies movie, comedian Stephen Colbert recently dressed up as Bilbo Baggins, Legolas Greenleaf and Gandalf the Grey for the cover of Entertainment Weekly.

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