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On The Books: BookExpo to feature Neil Patrick Harris, Amy Poehler

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Neil Patrick Harris
Tibrina Hobson/WireImage

The annual publishing convention BookExpo America began Wednesday at New York City’s Javits Convention Center. The four-day-long event will feature appearances from Neil Patrick Harris, Lena Dunham, and Amy Poehler, all of whom are promoting their forthcoming memoirs: Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography (Oct. 14), Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl (Oct. 7), and Poehler’s Yes Please (Oct. 28); other events include previews and discussions of film adaptations. EW’s YA expert Sara Vilokmerson is moderating The Fault in Our Stars event with author John Green and director Josh Boone, and EW’s Anthony Breznican  is moderating the This Is Where I Leave You panel with author Jonathan Tropper and actors Tina Fey and Jason Bateman. In addition to these star-studded events, the first-ever BookCon, modeled on ComicCon, will take place on the final day of BookExpo – organizers expect as many as 10,000 readers to attend. We can expect that the ongoing battle between Amazon and Hachette books will be a topic of discussion during BookExpo. [USA Today]

On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton released an audio author’s note for her forthcoming memoir Hard Choices(June 10), which focuses on her time as Secretary of State. Clinton said that she wrote her memoir for “Americans and people everywhere who are trying to make sense of this rapidly changing world,” and not for “followers of Washington’s long-running soap opera.” Clinton hopes Hard Choices will “be of help to anyone who wants to know what America stood for in the early years of the 21st century.” Readers were given another sneak peek at the book earlier this month when Vogue published an excerpt from it, in which Clinton described her relationships with her mother, Dorothy Rodham, and her daughter, Chelsea. [New York Times]

Amazon finally spoke out on its dispute with Hachette — and the retail giant isn’t budging. The company admitted that contract negotiations with the publisher led Amazon to remove pre-order buttons and increase shipping times for books by Hachette authors — including J.K. Rowling and James Patterson. In a Kindle forum post, an Amazon representative stated that “we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon.” Amazon defends its decisions by saying that, like any other retailer, it has the right to choose how many books to stock in its warehouses. “If you do need one of the affected titles quickly,” Amazon added, “we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors.” Support your local indie bookstore, folks. [Publishers Weekly]

British Education Secretary Michael Gove is under fire after a report surfaced that he wanted to remove Arthur Miller’s The Crucible from school syllabi. Gove said that he wants to drop American classics — like To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and The Crucible — in favor of “broader and deeper” content, which apparently means fewer books from this side of the pond. Toni Morrison, for one, is not amused. At Britain’s Hay Festival, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author said that categorizing by nationality is bad for books. “I used to see in bookstores in the States they had ‘mysteries’ over here and something else over here, and then they had ‘women’s literature’ and ‘black literature,'” she said. “To some of them I said, ‘Wait a minute, can’t I just be alphabetized?'” Secretary Gove, you have been schooled. [The Telegraph]

— Jacob Shamsian and Chancellor Agard