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Today in books and publishing: Ireland's "national treasure" Maeve Binchy dies; Y.A. author to write erotica; the Berenstain Bears are drawn into the Chick-fil-A controversy; why e-publishing isn't so promising for self-published writers.

The Berenstain Bears Learn About Gay Marriage Controversies. The Jim Henson Company—overseers of all things Muppet—cut its ties with Chick-fil-A last week over its president's stance against gay marriage. In need of new toys to package with their kids' meals, Chick-fil-A launched a cross-promotional deal with the wholesome Berenstain Bears books. But the real-life Berenstain family, owners of the copyright to Jan and Stan's series, aren't too pleased with the association. "This program was in development for over a year. We were unaware of any controversy involving Chick-fil-A until July 25," they write in a press release. "The Berenstain family does not at this time have control over whether this program proceeds or not. We hope those concerned about this issue will direct their comments toward HarperCollins and Chick-fil-A." [Time]

Maeve Binchy dies at 72. Maeve Binchy, a popular journalist and writer who Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny called a "national treasure," died last night in Dublin at the age of 72. She was born in 1940, the eldest of four children. In 1968, she became Women’s Editor of the Irish Times. She wrote 16 novels, many of which were adapted for TV and film. Her 1998 novel Tara Road was selected for Oprah's Book Club, and she sold over 40 million books worldwide. Novelist Patricia Scanlan writes, "The greatness about Maeve was that she had empathy, and any reader who read her understood perfectly where she was coming from because she touched the lives and the hearts of people." [Irish Times]

The e-publishing bubble. E-publishing has long been pitched to aspiring writers as a way to circumvent the traditional publishing route and go straight to readers. A viral snowball effect will catapult you to fame, your e-book will earn you lots of money, and you'll have done it all on your own, is the line of thought. Hold on a second, says Ewan Morrison in The Guardian. "I'm convinced that epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months," Morrison writes. "E-publishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn't, and we're just starting to get the true stats on that." He cites some harsh statistics about the self-publishing industry to back up the claim, such as this one: 50% of self-published ebooks make less than $500. [The Guardian]

Nightshade goes from PG-13 to R. With the popularity of both Y.A. and erotica skyrocketing, some authors are trying to straddle the two genres. Andrea Cremer is best known for her young adult trilogy Nightshade, which follows the strained cross-species love between teen werewolf Calla Tor and human heartthrob Shay Doran. But Cremer will be taking the Nightshade universe into more adult territory soon. The author just signed a deal with Penguin’s Dutton imprint to write an erotica set in the world of the popular series. The books will appear in late 2013. [Galley Cat]

Visiting W.G. Sebald's grave. Teju Cole detects echoes of war while tracing the late writer's footsteps in Norwich, England.  [The New Yorker]

Borders rebranded as Bookworld. Now an online only e-book store, the bankrupt bookseller gets a new name. [The Australian

Dylan Thomas Prize longlist. The award for emerging English-language poets has announced two of its youngest ever long-listers, Ben Brook (20) and Chibundu Onuzo (21). [The Bookseller]

Lit beef. Mark Twain disses Jane Austen. Norman Mailer clocks Gore Vidal. Truman Capote insults Jack Kerouac. Melville House's Dennis Johnson collects 10 writer feuds. [Melville House]

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