While Michael Jackson singles shot up to top perches in the iTunes store over the weekend, after celebrations of the King of Pop's life took hold in the wake of his sudden death late last week, the run on MJ books has been, well, less noticeable. A survey of the major houses by PW found that only one publisher is going back to press with a book about Jackson. Additionally, the most popular titles currently on Amazon about the icon--looming, respectively, at sales ranks of 228 (Michael Jackson Conspiracy by Aphrodite Jones) and 298 (Michael Jackson: For the Record by Chris Cadman)--are self-published.
Random House's Vintage/Anchor Books is reprinting and, per a rep at the house "re-promoting," Margo Jefferson's 2007 paperback original, On Michael Jackson. RH has ordered another 20,000 copies of the book, which stands as a decidedly more intellectual examination of Jackson's life--Jefferson, a culture critic, won a Pulitzer in 1995--than much of the tabloid fodder currently available about the star.
And what of Michael Jackson's own library? Two books by Jackson, his 1988 autobiography Moonwalk and a 1992 poetry collection called Dancing the Dream (both published by Doubleday), are currently out of print, and a rep at RH confirmed that the rights to Moonwalk reverted to the singer in 1993.
While it's currently unclear whether the dearth of titles in print about Jackson will inspire U.S. publishers to sign up new works--Macmillan UK has ordered a major reprint on one if its backlist Jackson bios and a Montreal publisher is rushing its Jackson book--Da Capo has a suddenly-more-timely title on its hands with a recently acquired book by Nelson George about Jackson's bestselling album. George's Thriller, which is slated for spring 2010, will deconstruct the bestselling album in history as well as focus on Jackson's career arc and, now, his death.