February 4, 2023

Prince Harry’s much-anticipated memoir, Spare, needs to sell about 1.7 million copies to pay off publisher Penguin Random House’s $20 million deal, according to an expert analysis.

To achieve sales, combining print and e-books, it would take Harry’s tell-all to break into the annual top 15 chart in the US and become a bestseller in Britain.

But some observers say audiences could be tired of hearing Harry and Meghan’s relentless complaining — first in their stellar Oprah interview and then in their Netflix documentary, which failed to impress critics.

Penguin announced his deal with the prince in July 2021 with a jaw-dropping announcement that promised an “intimate and heartfelt memoir from one of the most fascinating and influential world figures of our time.”

Promotional materials for the memoir, due for release on January 10 and already topping some pre-order lists, prominently reference the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and the images that were beamed around the world of Harry and Prince William hiding behind their mother’s coffin. walked.

The book has a sticker price of $36, but several major retailers are selling it for $22.40. In the UK, some stores are selling it for £14 which is about $16.85.

The Penguin Random House deal is for up to four books, including one or more co-written with Meghan.  Others could talk about wellness, leadership and philanthropy

The Penguin Random House deal is for up to four books, including one or more co-written with Meghan.  Others could talk about wellness, leadership and philanthropy

The Penguin Random House deal is for up to four books, including one or more co-written with Meghan. Others could talk about wellness, leadership and philanthropy

An analysis by former Hollywood Reporter book editor Andy Lewis, published on his substack The Optionist, predicts that Spare would need to sell 1.3 million print copies and 400,000 e-books worldwide for Penguin Random House’s deal to turn a profit.

With those sales, Penguin would also count on relatively modest revenue from other books included in the deal. The agreement also reportedly includes three more books, which may include one or more books co-written with Meghan.

But those will likely be far less successful than the debut memoir, which will further elevate Harry’s fractured relationship with the British royal family — including claims of racism and bullying that Meghan said caused her to have suicidal thoughts. Rumor has it that later books were written about “wellness”, leadership and philanthropy.

Spare’s sticker price is $36, but retailers like Amazon and Walmart are offering the book for pre-order for $22.40.

According to one analysis, Spare will need to sell about 1.7 million copies for Penguin Random House to turn a profit.  But observers say the public could be tired of hearing from Harry and Meghan, following their Netflix docuseries and explosive interview with Oprah (pictured)

According to one analysis, Spare will need to sell about 1.7 million copies for Penguin Random House to turn a profit.  But observers say the public could be tired of hearing from Harry and Meghan, following their Netflix docuseries and explosive interview with Oprah (pictured)

According to one analysis, Spare will need to sell about 1.7 million copies for Penguin Random House to turn a profit. But observers say the public could be tired of hearing from Harry and Meghan, following their Netflix docuseries and explosive interview with Oprah (pictured)

Spare further vows to lift the lid on Harry's fractured relationship with the British royal family

Spare further vows to lift the lid on Harry's fractured relationship with the British royal family

Spare further vows to lift the lid on Harry’s fractured relationship with the British royal family

The wholesale price of the print book – which is pocketed by Penguin – is likely to be around $18.

The e-book costs $17.99 and Penguin gets 70 percent of that — $12.60 — with the rest going to the app store.

But Penguin then has to pay Harry even more royalties for each sale — estimated at $5.40 per print copy and $4.50 per e-book.

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A crunch of the numbers suggests that Penguin will fetch about $12.60 per print book and $8.09 per e-book.

The publisher also faces printing costs and business overhead – not to mention the $1 million paid to Harry’s Pulitzer-winning ghostwriter, JR Moehringer

To recoup its $20 million from Spare alone, it would probably have to average about 2 million sales of print and e-books combined.

The telling memoir Spare was number 2 on Amazon’s bestseller list in pre-sales in North America and the UK on Wednesday morning. The Duke of Sussex’s book costs £14 on the UK site.

Spare is published in 16 languages ​​including.  The title of the book varies by language: for example, the Spanish version is In the Shadow, while the French version is The Substitute

Spare is published in 16 languages ​​including.  The title of the book varies by language: for example, the Spanish version is In the Shadow, while the French version is The Substitute

Spare is published in 16 languages ​​including. The title of the book varies by language: for example, the Spanish version is In the Shadow, while the French version is The Substitute

The privacy-conscious couple have already spoken at length about their lives within the royal family.  Pictured: The couple appear in their Netflix docuseries.

The privacy-conscious couple have already spoken at length about their lives within the royal family.  Pictured: The couple appear in their Netflix docuseries.

The privacy-conscious couple have already spoken at length about their lives within the royal family. Pictured: The couple appear in their Netflix docuseries.

Ultra-secure arrangements have been made to keep the content private before launch, with the Duke and his publishers making every effort to ensure that it is published simultaneously around the world.

Spare is published in 16 languages, including Chinese, Finnish, Hungarian, Spanish and Portuguese. The title of the book varies by language: the Spanish version is In the Shadow, while the French version is The Substitute.

The title Spare is a pun on the term ‘the spare to the heir’ – Harry’s position as second to brother William’s right to the throne.

Spare tells Harry’s story with “raw, unwavering honesty,” according to Penguin Random House.

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Publishing sources said arrangements for the release of Harry’s “explosive” memoir were extremely closely guarded and managed down to the minutest detail, with only a handful of senior executives privy to the exact details.

Deliveries to bookstores are scheduled at the last minute to prevent unauthorized copies from being leaked. Secure sites around the world are secured to host copies of the book before distribution.