Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ sold 3.2 million copies worldwide in its first week

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.

[From The AP]

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.

[From The WSJ]

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.

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83 Responses to “Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ sold 3.2 million copies worldwide in its first week”

  1. Abby says:

    I’m happy that this book is selling so well. Thrilled for Harry. Loved the book! Can’t stop talking about it!

    But selfishly/Americanly, I want the Obamas to keep their book-selling records. 🙂

    • DouchesOfCambridge says:

      I wasn’t going to buy it and then, I thought, I love Harry, let’s go for it. I shouldve gone for the audiobook because Harry narrating his own story is hot af, but the traditional in me kept saying take your time to read it. But I might get the audio after all.

      • Kebbie says:

        I was the same. I borrowed the ebook from my library, read it, and saw that the last people he thanked in his acknowledgments were the readers for wanting to know his story in his words. I was like “alright, you’ve got my money.”

      • Barb Mill says:

        I was 3rd in line for the kindle and audiobook at my library because I recommended it the first day after it was announced with a release day and book cover. I just finished the audio book and have paused my hold on the kindle book so I don’t lose my place but I will probably by the hard cover anyway. I am going to listen to part 3 of the audio book again because I feel I hurried through that part and missed some stuff. I still have the audio book for another 12 days so I will probably work my way through the whole thing again.

    • Bunny says:

      I agree with this because the Obamas are self made and an inspiration to Americans. Both Barack and Michelle are educated, intelligent role models.Harry, while likeable, was born on home plate. Meghan is a 3rd rate actress who married a “Prince”. They are famous because of his unearned birthright. I have followed Hollywood and never heard of her until Harry.

  2. aquarius64 says:

    And the rota rats are saying the Sussexes are unpopular in the US. OK.

    • Selene says:

      right, now its poll city over there

    • MY3CENTS says:

      After all the years of abuse they suffered I hope they’re realizing how loved they are!

    • windyriver says:

      I’ll bet it was a boost for Harry to see how he was received by Colbert’s audience. BTW, the replay of that show on YouTube has over 5 million views. So, he’s obviously popular somewhere!

    • Chris says:

      They have to feed that narrative in order to justify the overly negative coverage they give them. It’s almost as if they think folks in the UK don’t have access to the internet or something.

  3. BlueSky says:

    I purchased it through my Kindle and finished it last weekend. Even my sister who is not remotely interested in all this, is going to buy this book.

    • Nibbi says:

      The book is of greater literary quality than I really expected from a ´blockbuster celebrity memoir.’ And yes, his narration in the audiobook is outstanding. I was on their side anyway, but I’m impressed with how well the book turned out. I’m genuinely enjoying it so far. Loved hearing about what it was like to start at Eton.

  4. Inge says:

    To quote Prince Harry(in the vid with his grandmother) BOOM

    Anyway when the tabloids say anything Sussex related is going to fail it’s like a guarantee for success right?

    Go Harry. And Meghan. Two New York Times bestsellers in one Montecito mansion.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    It’s amazing. Congrats to Harry.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I am incredibly happy for Harry as well @ Amy Bee!! Harry deserves all of the happiness and fortunes that come to Harry and Meghan. They have certainly earned the kudos for their many high profile philanthropy as well as their driven lifestyle of supporting wonderful organizations.

  6. Ginger says:

    The audiobook is getting a lot of attention because of how Harry narrates it. His voice is wonderful. It’s all over Ticktok.

    • Kel says:

      I saw Lizzo’s tik tok with Harry talking about his todger and was dying lol.
      Free promotion any way you can get it

    • Normades says:

      He could be nominated for a Grammy for the audiobook right? Haha rota would loose their minds.

      • Barb Mill says:

        I’m sure it will be. Hillary Clinton got a Grammy for narrating her book It Takes a Village and Obama has won two.

      • Liz Version 700 says:

        Please please please let this happen. Hahahaahaaahaha. A Grammy would make the Rota implode and I would love it for all of them

    • FormerlyLithe says:

      Harry is an excellent narrator. He conveys so much emotion but without getting in the way of the storytelling…even with imitating accents. He’s not all “look at me, I’m doing an accent!” His flow sounds so natural.

      • Christine says:

        This. I listen to audiobooks constantly, insomnia, blah, blah, other stuff, and Harry is so much better than most narrators. Joel Leslie still has my heart, but his actual job is narrating books, so zero shade at Harry. If he did it better than Joel Leslie, the entire planet would have to give up and give Harry all of the jobs.

    • Mindy_DeLaCalle says:

      all the love his audio book has received finally convinced me to get it and I had audible credits so it worked out!

      • CourtneyB says:

        Me too! I joined audible just to use my credit! The ebook I got from the library. I was one who recommended it so was high up on the hold list. It’s months long now!

  7. Hadley says:

    The media have been desperate to shape the narrative as ‘people are now sick of Harry and Meghan. They’ve shared too much.’ All because H&M are the ones finally making money off their story and the media can’t control it. Well with these numbers it’s impossible to pretend people don’t want to hear their story and I think the media will be forced to shift its narrative. Someone can now believe the Daily News and even NYT spin and gaslighting, or they can read the book and make up their own opinion.

  8. Neysee says:

    3.2 million is just for the English version; not the other 15 languages. so technical it’s not worldwide!

  9. Polo says:

    I knew the book would do well but I never imagined it would do THIS well!!! I’m sure Harry is thrilled his story is resonating so well!! Most of the reviews are positive and even his interview with Colbert has so many amazing comments.
    I hope they go on a nice vacation to celebrate all their success.
    And this is why the British media is trying to change the subject by hunting for Meghan and putting out stupid polls. They would rather the focus on that than acknowledge what’s in Spare.

    • Jais says:

      Yeah, I also hope the sussex family is celebrating in montecitio or maybe going on a nice vacation.

      • Jojo says:

        If they are being true to form they will have most likely been quietly helping out somewhere or other in their local areas where the floods & storm damage have been devastating. They both have an irrepressible ‘help others gene’.

  10. Lolo86lf says:

    I am so happy for Harry. He got to tell his side of the story and he is making a pretty penny along the way too. Now what? What is in Harry’s future now that he is pretty much cut off from the royal family.

    • Maxine Branch says:

      I may be wrong but like many here I hypothesize often. I do believe this book was Harry’s farewell anthem to his family. And I love the way he couched it, “the ball is in their court.” He and his family has moved on. There is no going back for them and I am happy for them.

    • Becks1 says:

      Well, he has a podcast coming out (supposedly), he has a Netflix documentary coming out, he has the Invictus games in September, he is probably very involved in planning the Vancouver winter Invictus games, he may be working on another book, or other documentaries that we don’t know about. He’s still the head of African Parks and has Sentebale, is the patron of WellChild, etc.

      I’m sure he’s managing to stay busy.

    • Snuffles says:

      You say that as if Harry doesn’t have anything else going for him except being a member of the royal family.

      Harry has an extraordinarily full life full of friends and family (he still has the Spencer side and we know every member of the royal family hasn’t disowned him. He still has Eugenie and probably numerous Windsor cousins who aren’t a part of the royal machinery.) He’s doing fulfilling work and has a great community of veterans by his side. And they are just getting started.

    • Anne says:

      @Lolo86lf: Are you sure you’re not a bot? Because I’ve seen this comment from you — word for word — on at least 3 different Harry articles:

      “I am so happy for Harry. He got to tell his side of the story and he is making a pretty penny along the way too. Now what? What is in Harry’s future now that he is pretty much cut off from the royal family.”

      If you’re not a bot and you’re just cutting & pasting the same comment over and over again for giggles, then just let the financial concern-trolling go.

      If you read his book, you’ll know that Harry NEVER got money from Charles to begin with, even before he met Meghan.

  11. Snuffles says:

    It’s all profit now. Random House must be THRILLED!!

    I wonder if they are considering releasing a part 2 with the 400 pages Harry left out. “Spare 2: They Fucked Around and Now They About to Find Out”

    • Zazzoo says:

      Just take my money!! 📗💰💰💰

    • SIde Eye says:

      LOL @Snuffles and Zazzoo! Take mine as well. I love this for him, Meghan, and the kids. I am savoring this book and reading it slowly. After I’m going to get the audio because I love his voice/accent.

      Don’t mess with our Ginger Whiskers. Go Harry!

    • Christine says:

      LOL!

    • Lady D says:

      I think releasing the second book depends on whether or not the RF has learned to keep their mouths shut about the Sussex’s. I personally do not have a lot of faith that the Wales will keep quiet.
      I wonder what time Carole is starting the wine these days?

  12. Maxine Branch says:

    Who is royal suitor? Is he/she a royal gossiper? Have not heard this name referenced before. Digressing, happy for the Sussexes and hope they continue to move from success to success. Looking forward to the new projects I am pretty sure they are working on for 2023.

  13. Becks1 says:

    I would like to see how the numbers for the audio book compare to other bestsellers like this. I feel like I know so many people who are listening to it because they want to hear Harry’s voice tell his story.

    I just feel like this book is a cultural moment in a way that I don’t think Obama’s was (Michelle’s maybe.) I feel like everyone I know is either reading this book or wants to read it, even people who don’t follow the royals at all. It’s gone so far beyond just “royal followers” or “H&M fans” who are reading this.

    • Abby says:

      I agree. The audiobook is really so good, I’d be interested as well.

      I have not had the sensation of everyone I know reading the same book at the exact same time like this since Twilight. I know HP was like that but I didn’t read them as they were published. Even people who are not interested in the royals are reading it.

    • Kel says:

      I agree. I work for an airline and so many people are reading it. I made sure to share it on my socials which I never do and so many friends are reading it. This was similar to when Michelle’s book came out..it was everywhere!!
      Promised land as far as I know only sold 3.3 million total. I haven’t seen how many sold worldwide though I know around 2 million were printed.
      Michelle’s sold 14 million worldwide I believe. I don’t know if anyone will touch her numbers but Harry could come close.
      But to even be in the same vicinity as the Obama’s is a huge compliment.

    • C-Shell says:

      I read it on Kindle first because there was a delay in getting my Audible version (the hardback is on my ottoman LOL). So now I’m listening, and I just have to say how much more I’m getting from listening to Harry narrate. He’s got a true flare for the dramatic, if not an American accent. 🤣🤣 Plus, I’m finding that, while I’ve only read it the once, it left an indelible impression because I can almost read along with him in certain parts. This is truly an excellent piece and beautifully written.

  14. OriginalCee says:

    I’m still waiting for my hardback to arrive but even publishers in Argentina are going to publish his memoir in Spanish. There’s a bookstore company that only sells books in English that has sold Meghan’s books (Together and The Bench) and they’ve already announced they’ve bought a CRATE of Harry’s book. SPARE is a huge deal, everywhere!

  15. Cel2495 says:

    So happy! I have my ebook and just in chapter 3 now. I am listen to it just in bits while at work or when I can. Harry’s voice is decadent! Hopefully this weekend I can just sit and enjoy it over a nice cuppa.

    Go Harry!

  16. bitsycs says:

    I’m a pretty avid reader (I read 188 books last year for reference), and I mostly use my kindle or audible for reading. With audio books, 99% of what I listen to is either nonfiction or memoirs. Harry’s memoir is one of the best, if not the best memoirs I’ve listened to. When the subject narrates, it adds something, and his is really just so good.

  17. Mads says:

    I was looking at how royalties are structured and generally the author can receive 15% on print but up to 25% on ebooks and audio. Harry’s chosen charities can expect some substantial donations from the profits he will receive due to these amazing sales.

  18. Denise says:

    These good numbers mean thelat the publisher will definitely want to get the second book out

  19. Kingston says:

    @lolo86lf

    Er……..don’t look now, but…..psssssttttt:
    Harry has been “cut off” from the royals on sunken salty isle since March 2020 and his future has never been brighter.

    For reference, might I suggest: archewellDOTcom and it’s subcategories: Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions for just a hint of what H&M hv been up to and a hint of what their present and future are about.

    PS: the News section of ArchewellDOTcom is also where u can Keep Up With The Sussexes.

    • Petra (Brazen Archetyped Phenomenal Woman) says:

      @Kingston, thanks for the laugh…lol. It’s easy for people to discover what Harry and Meghan are doing work wise. Unfortunately, some people just want to concern troll gossip sites.

  20. Cheryl says:

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who bought this book and don’t like H & M…

    But, that is filling their pockets. LOL. LOL.

    BOOM.

    • notasugarhere says:

      The people who hate them (for racism and/or profit) are not in the hundreds of thousands. Several credible analysis of SM accounts and forums have shown 80+ percent of the anti-Sussex traffic comes from around 70 people talking to themselves (and their bots). But yes, Harry is making money off them.

  21. Feeshalori says:

    I’m rereading the book before l return it to the library and am waiting for the audio version to come in any day now. I’m so glad for Harry, it was a compelling book and such a cultural reset. If he writes a second one, I’m hoping for the title to be called Strike because if it’s those 400 dropped pages he’s definitely going for the kill.

  22. Concern Fae says:

    I suspect the high ebook sales are due to people 1) wanting to read it immediately, not waiting for their hardcover to arrive; and 2) people who wanted to read the truth without their royalist families or coworkers finding out.

    My fave reaction was the woman on Twitter saying her mother was listening to the audio on head phones and hearing her repeatedly saying “oh, no.”

  23. Joanna says:

    I got my copy!

  24. AnneL says:

    I’ve finished my print copy of “Spare.” My husband knows about Harry and Meghan through me. I’ve told him some excerpts from the book but that’s been his only exposure to it. The other night he was scrolling through one of his SM feeds and he said “You should get the audio book, it’s supposed to be great!”

    Someone he knows must have mentioned it. Maybe even multiple people.

    I didn’t think he’d ever consume the book himself. Now because of word of mouth I think he might end up listening to it. He’s always been more into audio books than I am.

  25. Red Weather Tiger says:

    I bought it in hardback and on audio. I listen in my car during my commute…and I alternate between tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. Harry is a delight.

    A favorite moment of alliteration re the porta-potties (portaloos??) at their wedding being compared to those at Pippa’s wedding, and he said something like “pee and poo with Pippa.” 🤣

    It makes me soooooo happy to think of them backing the Brinks truck up to the Montecito house (with 532 bathrooms) and unloading piles of “royalties.”

    • Saucy&Sassy says:

      Red Weather Tiger, perhaps they could store some of the royalties in the 532 bathrooms! (The outrage over the number of bathrooms will never get old. So funny.)

  26. 2cents says:

    It seems that Harry’s 3.2 million sales success is completely ignored in the British media. Total silence! Yet the British tabloids continue to smear Harry and Meghan with hitpieces. And embiggen William and Kate with PR-drivel.

    It’s a clear sign that the British public is not factually informed by their press. They only get the information that suits the establishment’s interest.

    How long before the British people revolt? They are totally colonized by their establishment. Strikes all over the country, but no mass demonstrations yet.

    • Mel says:

      They’re scrambling to do something because their popularity ( that is think is grossly over estimated ) is taking a hit. The younger generation is not interested in supporting the Royal Family, they gotta spin hard and fast. I don’t think it will help.

  27. Gem says:

    The audiobook is glorious! I could listen to Harry talk all day. I have friends who were neutral on H and M who bought the book. After reading it, they all came around to Harry’s side. The haters all thought this would flop, lol.

  28. I am not an audio book person as my mind wanders listening to others read. I bought the audio because of Harry’s voice. I had no problems with my mind wandering. I recommend the audio and just purchased the hard copy.

  29. JJ says:

    I’m so happy about these numbers and considering they are only for the English version copies… amazing! I borrowed the audiobook version from my library app and they got 400 copies and 0 copies available right now! ? I wonder how many people are reading it without buying it like me? The number must be insane. I love this for Harry.

  30. Well Wisher says:

    Depending on the deal, this is good news financially.
    A well-told story.
    On another level, this book sales are another indication that people are willing to listen, to read to gather more information, less inclined to judge.

    Congrats are in order.

    I hope Harry uses the marketplace just for its original purpose; to sell his wares (narrative, documentary etc).
    Please ignore the competitive nature of this environment, it leads to a temporary ‘win’ with a target on the position of that win.
    Not to mention, professional envy.

    You are enough, Harry!!

    Get your validation, self worth and self love in the traditional, intangible way.

  31. Mel says:

    Somewhere in the UK, Willy is doing is best Shatner impression and screaming ” HAAARRRROOOOLLLLDDDD!!!!” I think Wiliiam is seething with jealousy and anger that he can no longer control his brother, Harry will NEVER have to answer to them again and he’s free to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants , however he wants.

  32. j.ferber says:

    My God, the pic of the Prince and the President is awesome! Two gorgeous men relaxing and in regular guy mode. Sexy as hell!!!!

  33. Glamarazzi says:

    It is such a good read, I am devouring it. So happy for his success.

    I can’t help but look at these numbers and the numbers of the popularity polls and wonder. They don’t seem to add up, do they?

  34. ArtFossil says:

    I listen to Audible fiction books every night to help me fall asleep and I’ve been listening to Spare while sitting on the patio in the evening drinking wine (Florida). I awoke this morning at 4 AM to find that Z, my cat, had found Spare in my Audible library and had pressed play. I always suspected Z was Sussex Squad but now I have confirmation.

  35. blunt talker says:

    I bought his book today-while I was checking out the cashier said she plans to read it but at first she thought Prince Harry was trying to hurt the royal family-until other people started telling her there is more beneath the surface than hurting his family-they told her how he was treated growing up as a second class citizen in his own family-she said that broke her heart and she will purchase the book and start reading this weekend-all those leaks before the book hit the market-evil does what evil do-they were trying to hurt his sales with excerpts from the book without full context-the UK media -God I don’t like to use the word hate-but I intensely dislike the UK media with every fiber of my being

  36. AC says:

    The British press doing polls about how Americans feel about HM is pretty pathetic. Do they even remember what happened during the US election midterms when for the most part all the polls were wrong LOL. Talk about desperation to make people think HM has become unpopular in the US. Not to mention their poll of 2000 people doesn’t mean it represents the whole country, and usually polls skews what they want it to be.
    After I posted a comment that you can really learn about an actor’s personality from the film crew/staff , someone in Reddit actually asked a question if anyone has ever worked or ran into Meghan in Toronto while she was filming Suits before joining the BRF . It looks like Most people mentioned she was nice to work with and even tipped $100 to the baristas at the local Starbucks. One not so glowing feedback mentioned maybe she got her during her bad day- but Meghan was a little irritated when she was asked to show her ID. Well, it’s only human to have bad days, no one’s perfect 🙂 . But it’s nothing like the British Press and BRF made her out to be, which really tried their hardest to defame her character.

  37. AprilUnderwater says:

    My hard copy finally arrived in the post this morning! I have been trying to avoid all the articles about it so that I can read it and digest it myself first, and it has been HARD not to click!

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