Britney Spears’s memoir sold 1.1 million copies in its first week, ‘Spare’ sold more

Last week, I titled one of the afternoon-links posts “Is Britney Spears’ memoir actually outselling Prince Harry’s Spare?” I asked because I had seen some truly weird claims about sales, not just from Britney, but from Britney’s fans and supporters. While I know that Britney is a global pop star and one of the most famous women in the world, it just felt like there wasn’t a huge energy of “millions of people must support Britney by buying her memoir.” Well, as it turns out, Britney’s first-week sales were amazing… but Prince Harry’s Spare still outsold.

Britney Spears’ memoir “The Woman in Me” has sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S. alone through its first week.

“I poured my heart and soul into my memoir, and I am grateful to my fans and readers around the world for their unwavering support,” Spears said in a statement released Wednesday by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

The sales figures include pre-orders, print sales, e-books and audiobooks. On the day of publication, Spears posted on Instagram that her book had become “the highest selling celebrity memoir in history.” It is not, so far, even the highest selling memoir of 2023.

“The Woman in Me,” for which she did little publicity beyond Instagram, was the top seller of last week. But Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare,” which came out in January, sold 1.6 million U.S. copies in its first week.

The audio edition of “The Woman in Me,” read by Oscar-nominated actor Michelle Williams, appears a key factor in the book’s initial popularity. Williams’ reading of “The Woman in Me” has been highly acclaimed, and according to Gallery, is the fastest selling audio release in the company’s history. The publisher did not immediately announce a specific audio sales figure.

[From Associated Press]

We still don’t even know how many Spare copies were sold – the reporting on sales stopped after a few months, when it was established that Spare was one of the bestselling memoirs in the past decade. Harry’s memoir also had a global reach, turning up on bestseller lists around the world. It’s possible that Britney’s The Woman In Me will eventually outsell Spare, but I kind of doubt it – the literary buzz was not great, and many of Britney’s supportive fans probably feel like they’ve gotten the gist of her story from all of the coverage.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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69 Responses to “Britney Spears’s memoir sold 1.1 million copies in its first week, ‘Spare’ sold more”

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  1. Pinkosaurus says:

    I do not understand why this is a completion with only one winner.

    There was absolutely no reason for Brit to do more publicity though, reporters were more than happy to find tidbits to write about and I don’t think anyone who is interested is not aware it is out. I’m glad she wasn’t forced to go out and be subjected to interviews and a publicity tour.

    • RoRo says:

      Agreed, not sure why we are arguing over who sold more in the first week. They are both hugely successful memoirs, by two different people (both tragically hurt by their families). We can celebrate the success of both.

    • Abby says:

      It’s because it was being reported (by Britney herself as well) that her book was the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time, a record set by Spare previously…. which this story is saying is not actually true.

      • Teddy says:

        That’s it exactly. It wasn’t true. She did not out-sell Spare. And with the daily barrage of crap written about Harry, much of it actively wishing for him to fail, keeping the record straight about his undeniable successes is important.

      • Emily says:

        Good for Britney! Happy for her. Prince Harry will survive the comparisons. The royal coverage on this site is getting insane. I don’t care that Kate wore a “tartan jacket” to an event. I just skip over the royal posts here now.

      • HoneyB says:

        @Emily: I couldn’t agree more. Most days I find I don’t have a single story to click on because 60-70% include a story about the Royals. I don’t care for any of them.

      • Kiki says:

        @emily @honeybee- I am glad to see I am not the only one who is not interested in all this coverage. I wish there could just be one story a day as an open post for the royals and be done with it. I’ve considered not continuing coming to celebitchy for content which is crazy because I’ve done this daily for years!

      • Tia Maria says:

        I’m glad it’s not just me. I love this site so much and it’s always my afternoon read but there are just too many royal posts these days. I’m in Scotland and honestly no one is even aware they’re here, totally irrelevant to the majority of people.

      • Christine says:

        There is exactly one site on the internet that covers Harry and Meghan, without the British bullshit. This is it.

      • wyrdonawire says:

        Yeah, I completely agree. And I get that royal posts must be popular! But there are already so few non British royal posts that to see it pop up in a post that I’m actually interested in is frustrating.

        I’ll also say that the way that this post talks about Spears is so odd? Ok, you may not have heard a bunch of people talking about the memoir, but for me this is a “tell me your straight without telling me your straight” moment.

      • Christine says:


    • Taytanish says:

      Numbers don’t lie, and there we have it. Spare still outsold. Look, I don’t feel any type of way about Britney, and I am really happy for her, she deserved this to be honest after all the $hit her father and all the people (especially men) around her put her through. As I said on the last post, good for the both of them. They both (Britney and Prince Harry) are victims of their own families, none more than the other, both suffered tremendous abuse and both deserved to tell their story in peace. They both told that their story, both got rich while doing so and I really am thankful to God for the both of them to have done so and got rewarded, instead of some pretenders getting rich off of these 2 victims so, good for them all around. There was absolutely no reason for Sussex haters to make this into a competition it was not supposed to be. The juvenile “na na na na Britney outsold Spare and broke his record blah, blah, blah” was absolutely unnecessary and uncalled for and it needed to be called out and be put a stop to.

    • Trex says:

      Exactly. I don’t know why this is a story? The comparison is irrelevant.

      • Becks1 says:

        It’s a story bc a few days ago there was insistence from many that Britney’s memoir outsold Harry’s (which set a Guinness record if I’m not mistaken?) so that would have been a very big deal if her memoir had beaten his. It’s not about Britney vs Harry, its about one bestselling memoir against another bestselling memoir and of course there are going to be comparisons because that’s the point of things like Guiness records.

    • Megan says:

      For god’s sake, it’s Britney’s moment, give it to her.

      • snappyfish says:

        Exactly. It’s her moment & after all the girl has been through, let her have it. The two books having nothing to do with each other.

      • Kitten says:

        Seriously give the woman a damn break.
        Why does everything have to be about M&H?

      • Elo says:

        Agreed whole heartedly.
        Let Britney have this. She is a self made woman. Who has been horrifically abused not just by her family but by the law and the press.
        Not everything has to be about Harry and Megan who truthfully, are rather boring. Harry is a rich white man. I’m glad he got away from his family as they too are horrifically abusive but let’s not pretend like it was comparative. It wasn’t.
        Brittney’s situation is also emblematic of the way women with power have been treated throughout history.
        Give her her moment.

      • Ginger says:

        Because the press make everything about H&M?

        It all started with Cade ( I think that’s his name) being on Heather McDonald’s podcast saying preorders were around 9 million. This was just correcting what was out there. The media make everything a competition.

      • equality says:

        In this case, it’s because Brit herself made it about Spare by saying that her memoir had outsold his (and that it even outsold Harry Potter).

      • Taytanish says:

        This is just so funny to me. Last week, the very people crying “give Britney her moment” were the same exact people that were going on and on and on about how “na, na, na,na , Britney has knocked Harry off of the best seller record”, LOL Sussex haters don’t really know what they want. Sussex supporters were here last week saying this comparison was absolutely unfair and unnecessary, both books came out a year apart and its not a fair comparison. But noooo, derangers wanted to have the final say and get the last laugh, all happy to bash “boring Harry” etc. Look, this comparison and NON-competition was started by Sussex haters, there were NO Sussex supporters that started this comparison until derangers started going on and on about how Britney outsold Harry and yadda, yadda, yadda, because they thought Harry had been knocked out flat on his face. Now that the numbers have come out and actually Britney never beat Harry on anything, suddenly same usual suspects no longer want any comparisons and are upset about Britney memoir being compared to Harry’s. Please make that make sense.

      • Elo says:

        Speaking only for myself, I rather like the Sussexs. But I still find them relatively boring. They’ve been able to tell their story in spades now for a while. Britney hasn’t and deserves the space and the focus now. I’m not sure what more needs to make sense.
        One can be rather ambivalent about Harry and Megan.

    • wordnerd says:

      Why are people pitting two celebrity authors against each other for no reason? They both wrote popular memoirs, who cares if the estimates were wrong and Harry outsold? It’s a weird flex here. Why can’t we celebrate that two people who’ve both been through some really tough moments in their lives have had successful autobiographies?

  2. Ginger says:

    Britney fans were claiming it sold 15 million copies lol. That’s unheard of for a book, even Harry Potter didn’t sell that in its first week. She had a great first week but I think Matthew Perry’s memoir will see a resurgence this week with his passing.

    • BQM says:

      It has apparently supplanted it.

    • AnneL says:

      Matthew Perry’s memoir went to #1 on the Best Seller list after his death. So for now at least, it is selling better than her book.

      I don’t see it as a competition between them any more than it is between her and Harry. It’s a shame that Matthew Perry had to die relatively young for his book to sell so well, but the silver lining is that it might help others who are struggling with addiction or know and love someone who is.

  3. 2legit2quit says:

    Michelle Williams is phenomenal. It’s like listening to a performance, and you forget that it’s her and not Britney narrating. So well done.

    • Kate says:

      Yes! She really got Britney’s intonation down and it felt like her.

      I listened to the audiobook and while it wasn’t a great piece of literature, it told a story I had only previously heard tidbits of and I felt so much compassion for her and anger on her behalf. The woman was basically a well-treated POW for 13 years I can’t begin to imagine the psychological toll that must have taken.

      I really want some outlet to go back and revisit all the historical coverage of her side by side with her perspective from the book. Like for example i rewatched the infamous Dianne Sawyer interview and was disgusted by the questions she had to answer. And knowing now what actually happened between her and Justin and how much composure and class she had to not completely throw him under the bus when directly asked what she did to break his heart. No wonder the woman is angry today.

    • janey says:

      It’s a beautiful narration. I’m about half way through. Never a massive Britney fan (I was a bit too old) but deeply intrigued as to what happened to her. I thought, so far, that it was well written (or at least to my lower expectations). I also listened to Matthew’s book last year and honestly I was glad when I got to the end.

    • Philly says:

      Michelle has done an amazing job – I agree, her narration is on point and makes me forget it’s not Britney speaking.

      I am also not a big Britney fan but hadn’t heard much about her life beforehand (other than the tabloid stories) and it’s really quite heartbreaking to learn what she went through. I’m glad it was a success for her.

  4. Flowerlake says:

    Will probably read it at some point, but have too many books I want to read first.

    As for the comparison: I can see the older ages groups being more interested in Harry.
    For some of them, Britney is someone that was popular after when they were young, while Harry is someone they have known from birth due to interest in Diana.

    • Taytanish says:

      But…Britney (born 1981) is older than Harry (born 1984), no? I really am confused about this but how does their age factor into this?

      • Selene says:

        Because Britney’s music caters to a younger demographic.

        The Royal Family’s followers are usually older; like polls always report, their younger demographic sides with Harry & Meghan, and not with the institution.

      • Kitten says:

        Because 80% of Brits 65 and older support the monarchy. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s similar elsewhere as well. Boomers love their outdated relics.

  5. sevenblue says:

    When Spare broke records, the announcement came directly from publisher. So, when Britney announced it, I wasn’t sure. Of course, still great and so happy for her that she shared her story & millions of people read it from her point of view.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Good for Britney and Harry. They both got to tell their stories and will get royalties for the rest of their lives.

    • Josephine says:

      my first thought was that she gets the money this time, not her grifting family. i don’t care for autobiographies and won’t read hers, but I don’t mind the grifters losing out on that money.

  7. Andrea says:

    Does she address her mental health disorder?

  8. Abby says:

    I have listened to both on audiobook. Spare is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to, in my opinion. The book itself is excellent, as well as telling his story in what feels like his own words.

    The Woman in Me was read very well by Michelle—she did a REALLY good job. The book itself felt raw and a little unfinished, but it does feel like Britney getting out her story at this stage of her life. I can’t fault a memoir, and I’m glad she released it. But they almost feel like two different genres because the two books are so different. Sure there are similarities in their lives (paps, toxic families, breaking free) but the way the books are written are very different.

    I think both of them have a lot of people curious about the behind the scenes of their lives, so that is probably why there was so much early book sales? I do want them both to sell well! Personally I think Spare should continue to hold the early sales record though. Just my opinion!

  9. Dee(2) says:

    I read it earlier this week. It’s a really quick read it was less than 300 pages, I had it open in my library app while I was working and when I had downtime I would read a chapter or two. There were some very interesting tidbits, but I do have to admit it wasn’t very well written and a lot of the bombshell type stuff was already covered in the media. She also didn’t provide a ton of backstory on a lot of things so it read to me more like a really long article or maybe an interview. I can see people buying it though because of all of those reasons. You can get through it very quickly and recently celebrities have been dropping major news via memoirs. I’m just glad she got to tell her story, and I think she still has a lot of work to do to get in a good place after all the tumult of the last 20 years.

    • Kate says:

      I’m angry all over again on Britney’s behalf that the outlets that profited from exploiting her and her pain are also profiting from a scoop they weren’t meant to have. I am glad her memoir is still selling well and hope she reaps most of the profits from her own story going forward. I am listening to the audiobook and think it’s well done although just so terribly sad to think about everything Britney went through. I really hope she finds some peace and is able to build the life she wants for herself.

      • Allison says:

        I know that celebitchy has an unhealthy obsession with M&H, but common. Enough is enough already. Whoever writes these blogs is desperately out of touch with how a lot of the general consensus views royalty, ESPECIALLY Meghan and Harry. Sorry. Its really turning me off to this sight. Sucks because I really like to enjoy coming here, before it got spammed with 10 articles a day on royal this and royal that nonsense.

        And whether you like them or not, just because Harry is selling decently well isn’t vindictive or a barmometer of how well he’s liked or not.

        For example, I personally cant stand H&M, but when I’m at a garage sale 2 years from now and Spare is on sale for a 5 cents, sure? I’ll give it a read. I think a lot of it boils down to just human curiosity and flavor of the week hype, so to speak.

      • Becks1 says:

        We can tell you can’t stand H&M because you came into this post specifically to trash them.

  10. BQM says:

    It could just be semantics. She might not consider Harry a ‘celebrity’ in the same way an actor or singer is. It’s not like Barack or Michelle Obama, also with monster memoirs, are. Harry may fall into the political-historical realm.

  11. Eurydice says:

    The thing about Harry’s book is that it wasn’t just about Harry, it was also an insider’s view of the royal family.

    But 1.1 million copies in the first week is excellent and I’m happy for Britney.

  12. Haus of Cats says:

    Apples and oranges. Such a strange take, lol

  13. Becks1 says:

    1.1 million copies is nothing to sneeze at obviously, good for Britney. It only seems “low” because of the insistence that it was breaking records and Guinness was going to certify it (insistence on here a few days ago!) etc.

    That said, I’m listening to the book and its…….fine. Michelle Williams is fine – I think her narration was so hyped up that I was expecting something amazing and I think she’s just…..fine. Too low key in some respects. and it jumps around a bit and the timeline can be a bit hard to follow. Like one minute she’s releasing Baby One More Time and in the next she’s working on Crossroads and turning down Chicago and then she’s back to talking about a middle school crush or something. Maybe it would be easier to follow if I was reading it and not listening to it?

    So its interesting, and I’m glad Britney is telling her own story on her own terms, but I do think the excerpts gave away the big points, so I’m not sure what staying power it will have.

    But again, 1.1 million copies in one week is nothing to sneeze at, that’s an incredible accomplishment and she should be proud of herself for it.

    • Ginger says:

      My friend said the same thing, she didn’t like how it jumped around and didn’t like how short it was.

    • Dee(2) says:

      Nope I read it and thought the same thing. To me it felt like more of a very long form interview. Like someone had out a tape recorder and was asking her questions and she was just answering them and they transcribed it into a book. It jumped around a lot.

  14. Lilpeppa40 says:

    Kudos to both. When I heard last week it might have outsold Spare I thought it could have been legit (not the 15 million, that’s just ridiculous) but yeah, Britney is/was a giant celebrity in her time with a popularity that far outstripped the royal family and her story with her conservatorship and subsequent release was huge news. That being said, I’m also not surprised it’s not true but that’s fine. I hope she got the catharsis she needed from it. Tin foil hat theory now tho lol, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone from the British media put that weirdly outsized figure out there to try and ding Harry *shrugs* maybe that’s too crazy but those ppl’s desperation to discount him knows no bounds

  15. Kittenmom says:

    Preordered and read both books, and listened to both audiobooks. Loved them both, but they were totally different in style. I doubt there was much overlap in their audiences.

  16. Kingston says:

    Wish I could rmbr or be arsed to look up the [new] nics from the last post on this topic that were hee-ing and haw-ing that Brit’s memoir outsold H’s. Just so I can point and laugh.

    The need in some critters to see H&M fail/lose at …….anything, is pathological.

    • Abby says:

      It is in the link in the first sentence of this post. 🙂

    • Becks1 says:

      It was the insistence that no one cares about the royal family outside of a small group that had me scratching my head. His book sold 1.5 million in its first week but no one cared outside a small group?

      so now of course there’s going to be pushback to the insistence that Britney’s book was definitely beating Harry’s, because we now know that’s not the case. I think if this had just been “Britney has a bestselling memoir!” we wouldn’t have the comparisons to Spare.

  17. AnneL says:

    I’m glad she got to tell her story and that it is selling well. I don’t have a strong interest in reading it. I think it’s one that I might get after the price goes down or it winds up in a local thrift store or free library. That probably speaks to the different demographics for this book and “Spare,” which I pre-ordered and read immediately.

  18. Veronica S. says:

    I’m listening to the memoir during a cross country move, and it’s quite decent. The ghostwriter captured her voice pretty well, though I will say it’s a fairly sad read to some extent. It’s not hard to understand why her life went haywire in her later years when you see all the untreated trauma she was mired in as a kid.

    • molly says:

      Maybe because I knew Spare had a happy ending, I was much more into over Britney’s. I’m glad she’s now free and making her own money, but so much of her current life seems bored and lonely (at best).

  19. Ann says:

    I just hope this is a new beginning for Britney and she gets happy and healthy.

  20. karkopolo says:

    This is a massive success and I’m very happy for her. She deserves the win. And I’ve heard nothing but good things about the audiobook!

    I think Spare attracted so much interest because it was not just a memoir but an insight to an institution we’ve never seen inside before. Obviously Britney’s story is unique, especially given the abuse she suffered. I don’t want to imply that it’s not. It’s just that we’ve never seen behind-the-scenes details of the modern British royals like we have in Spare, and it was even more appealing coming from Diana’s son.

    • molly says:

      “Child star is mistreated, abused, and exploited by her family, employers, partners, and the media in tragic and horrific ways until she nearly breaks” is a tale told many times.

      “Firsthand account from the innerworkings of the world’s most famous family and the death of a generation’s most famous woman, as told by her own son” was something truly remarkable.

  21. February pisces says:

    Even if the media are trying to make it a war between the two books, I actually don’t see it that way at all. Harry book set the bar so high and Britney’s also did so well she nearly got that high too. If anything it’s a compliment to both.

  22. L4Frimaire says:

    This is only a story and an issue because of the Prince Harry angle. Britney’s book is a huge success period. Of course there are the usual media clowns who have to make this about the Sussexes and trying to use it as their “failure“. Harry’s book is a massive global success by all measures. Doesn’t matter who comes close to outselling it or who eventually does outsell it. It’s still doing the work. I read Spare, I’m not buying Britney’s book because it just doesn’t interest me beyond the headlines, no disrespect to her fans and those who’ve followed and championed her. At least people are talking about books instead of trying to ban them in this instance and this is good for the publishing industry.

  23. Grandma Susan says:

    I bought her book for two reasons: 1. She will get the money this time rather than her greedy family, and 2. I despise Justin Timberlake and I hope the book makes him uncomfortable as he has made others over the last two decades.

  24. Beach Dreams says:

    LOL. And there’s still salt in some of these replies too.

  25. J.Ferber says:

    Happy for Britney. Happy for Harry. End of.

  26. eve says:

    I had to use VPN and go to amazon site to buy it. Audible didn’t let me. I never had this with such a book before (including Spare) this can contribute to lesser numbers.

    I love the voice of Michelle