Before Prince Harry’s Spare was released, I read a financial analysis of what it would take for Penguin Random House to “make money” from the memoir, considering that the publisher reportedly paid Harry $20 million upfront. The analysis was like “Spare would have to sell in the vicinity of 1.5 million just to ‘break even’ with Harry’s upfront.” Spare sold that many units in its first day. So how did it sell in its first week? Amazing:
Prince Harry’s “Spare” sold more than 3.2 million copies worldwide after just one week of publication and will likely rank among the bestselling memoirs of all time.
Penguin Random House announced Thursday that Prince Harry’s headline-making memoir sold 1.6 million copies in the U.S. alone. It’s a number comparable to first week sales for blockbusters such as former President Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” and former first lady Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” which has sold more than 17 million copies since coming out in 2018.
The British publisher announced last week that “Spare” sold 400,000 copies in the United Kingdom in all formats — hardback, e-book and audio — on its first day.
The total sales announced for “Spare” are for print, audio and digital editions in the major English-language markets: the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. The book has come out in 15 other languages, and editions in 10 additional languages are expected.
“Spare” may set records for nonfiction, but no book in memory approaches the pace of the final Harry Potter novel, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” which in 2007 sold more than 10 million copies in its first 24 hours.
Royal Suitor says that the AP actually got it wrong, Spare sold 1.6 million copies in North America alone, not in the US alone. Which is still amazing. There’s also a shift in how people are consuming Spare, as compared to how people consumed the Obamas’ books. While Barack Obama’s A Promised Land sold more hardcopies than Prince Harry, Spare is being bought on ebooks and audiobooks at a much higher rate.
Prince Harry ‘s memoir sold 629,300 hardcover copies in the U.S. in its first week, trailing only two titles by the Obamas on the list of top first-week U.S. adult-nonfiction hardcover sales.
According to NPD BookScan, which started releasing first-week U.S. sales numbers in 2004, Prince Harry’s “Spare” sold more hardcover copies than all but two adult-nonfiction books in the U.S. in their first week: former President Barack Obama ‘s memoir “A Promised Land” and former first lady Michelle Obama ‘s memoir “Becoming.”
Mr. Obama’s “A Promised Land,” published in 2020, sold 831,300 copies in the U.S. its first week, according to NPD BookScan. Mrs. Obama’s “Becoming,” published in 2018, also outsold “Spare” in week one, with 645,900 first-week sales in the U.S.
Basically, Harry is, again, just below the Obamas in print copy sales. But something being left out is that A Promised Land sold 3.3 million in its first MONTH. Spare has sold 3.2 copies (print, ebook, audio) in a WEEK. Spare will be one of the bestselling memoirs of all time, mark my words.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.