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Headline the latest to enter Jackson race with July biography
01.07.09 | Catherine Neilan
Headline is hoping to be first to market with a new Michael Jackson book that it plans to publish in July, a full month ahead of rivals such as John Blake.
The publisher said it had already received pre-orders of 120,000 in the UK alone for Michael Jackson: Life of a Legend, and was planning an initial print run of 175,000. Headline is the fourth UK publisher known to have commissioned a new title in the aftermath of the pop star's death, which has seen sales of his CDs sky-rocket.
Described as an "ultimate pictorial celebration", the book is due out on 17th July, and will feature 200 images taken from the Daily Mirror’s archives. Music writer and journalist Michael Heatley, who wrote the John Peel biography A Life In Music, has written the text, drawing on five years of research into the Jackson family.
On top of the 120,000 UK pre-orders, 25,000 have been ordered by overseas retailers, predominantly in Australia. And although the book is due out mid-July, Kerr MacRae, m.d and chief operations officer, said he was hoping to make the book ready to retail even earlier.
Carly Cook, publisher of non-fiction at Headline, approached the Mirror and book packager Compendium last Friday, and the deal was signed on Monday. She said the title would be "gorgeous, and a fitting tribute to a legendary performer” and "an absolute must-have for any Jackson fan”.
Cook added: "As we have world rights, we are looking forward to working with publishing colleagues in several countries to bring this story to market at the time that Michael Jackson’s fans want it, in as many places as possible.”
James Horobin, sales and marketing director for the UK, said Headline had received "a tremendous reaction from all retailers”, adding there were "considerable opportunities” to work with non-traditional outlets. "The race to be the first to market with a new book is a challenge I know the Headline sales and marketing team will enjoy,” he added.
Since Jackson’s death was confirmed late Thursday night (25th June), a number of publishers have announced they will be bringing new titles to market in the next couple of months. As The Bookseller reported last week, first up was John Blake, who commissioned a biography on Friday morning after retailer demand persuaded him from the original intention not to do so. Illustrated publisher Carlton and independent Michael O'Mara followed suit, with both making announcements on Monday.
US publisher Triumph Books is also publishing Michael Jackson The One and Only on 30th July, a "lavishly illustrated tribute", which will be distributed in the UK by Roundhouse Group..
Meanwhile other publishers are revisiting their backlists. Omnibus Books is planning a memorial edition of its Visual Documentary title, while Macmillan is rushing through a reprint of 85,000 copies for J Randy Taraborrelli's Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness.
In Canada the Montreal-based publisher Transit Media Inc was due to publish this week Michael Jackson: The Last Days, written by author Ian Halperin, which it said it planned to distribute in the UK.