Harry's Spare Had a Very Good First Week

Prince's memoir sold more than 3.2M copies worldwide
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2023 9:09 AM CST
Harry's Book May End Up One of the Bestselling Memoirs Ever
The book "Spare" by Prince Harry is shown for sale at a Barnes and Noble store in Pittsford, New York, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

If Prince Harry was worried that leaks of his new memoir ahead of its Jan. 10 release would hurt sales, he needn't have fretted. Spare ended up selling upward of 3.2 million copies around the globe in its first week, and the AP notes the book will probably end up "among the bestselling memoirs of all time." Publisher Penguin Random House said Thursday that 1.6 million copies in hardcover, digital, and audio form were sold in the US, while in the UK, 400,000 copies flew into buyers' hands on the first day alone.

The worldwide numbers across all formats include two other major English-speaking markets: Canada and Australia. The memoir has been printed in 15 other languages, with at least 10 more languages planned. The sales stats put Harry behind only Barack and Michelle Obama for their respective memoirs on the list of top first-week US adult nonfiction hardcover sales. Per NPD BookScan, Spare sold more than 629,000 hardcover copies in its first week, which the Wall Street Journal notes ended Jan. 14—meaning those sales actually took place over just five days.

Barack Obama's 2020 A Promised Land, meanwhile, sold upward of 831,000 copies in week one, while Michelle Obama's Becoming, published in 2018, came in just ahead of Spare, with nearly 646,000 copies. Both those figures are hardcover sales, and both also took place over a five-day sales period. "These are the strongest autobiography sales since the Obama books, so clearly there is an appetite for this memoir and for content on the royals," NPD BookScan analyst Kristen McLean tells the Journal. Not sure you're going to pick up a copy of Spare yourself? BuzzFeed lists "45 little tidbits" from the book, including the nicknames of many of the members of the royal family and the revelation that King Charles used to travel with his childhood teddy bear. (More Prince Harry stories.)

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