02.07.09 Catherine Neilan in The Bookseller
Carlton had initially said it would try to launch Michael Jackson: The King of Pop by August, but it has now been brought forward to the first week of July. However, Headline publisher Carly Cook immediately hit back: "We were always factoring this in as a worst-case scenario, and we will work day, night, weekend—whatever it takes—to make it more than possible it will be out before [Carlton]."
Headline deputy m.d. Kerr MacRae added: "Everyone is working 24 hours a day to make sure everything is done‚the text, any amendments, the legal side – all the things we normally do, compressed into less time . . . It's just about behaving more like a magazine or newspaper."
Headline has received 120,000 pre-orders for the UK. The initial print run is 175,000. Carlton’s initial print run is 100,000.
John Blake was the first to announce a "straightforward biography" called Michael Jackson: King of Pop 1958–2009 due out on 24th August. Blake, who commissioned a biography after first rejecting the idea, said his title had generated 80,000 pre-orders, with 100,000 copies being printed initially. He told The Bookseller: "My team has a strong journalistic background, so this is the sort of thing that comes naturally." And added: "The trade are much more proactive than they used to be they realise this is where they can make the real money—so they are always looking for something that will boost sales unexpectedly."
Steph Bateson, books buying manager at Asda, applauded publishers but stressed quality was of equal importance. She said the store had "also been proactive" giving publishers the "retailer view" on what they are acquiring. Asda has so far ordered two titles but declined to name them.
Publishers, such as Omnibus, are also updating existing versions. Macmillan is now reprinting 110,000 copies of Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness, included in Waterstone’s three-for-two offer. Waterstone’s is also selling Blood Moon’s Jacko: His Rise and Fall by Darwin Porter at a £5 discount.