Prince Harry joins the other Harry in leading the book trade
Two Harrys now lead the book trade – one has a famous lightning scar on his forehead and one has a mop of red hair. All credit to Larry Finlay, MD of Transworld publishers in the UK, part of Penguin Random House, who described the demand for Prince Harry’s Spare like this: “We always knew this book would fly but it is exceeding even our most bullish expectations. As far as we know, the only books to have sold more in their first day are those starring the other Harry (Potter).”
The publisher says it sold 400,000 copies of the title on its first day of publication, across all formats: print, e-book and audio. Waterstones told the Bookseller: “We are very pleased with the exceptional sales we have seen so far today. Having such a prominent book land in shops in January has added welcome interest to a usually quieter month. Spare is one of the biggest pre-orders for Waterstones in a decade and we have seen unprecedented numbers of click and collect orders today. We expect Spare to be one of this year’s bestsellers.”
Independents report strong interest too, perhaps because Harry himself is arguably the most independent voice in the Royal family. Rebecca Wade, manager at Gutter Books in Dalkey, Ireland, said: “There’ve been a good few pre-orders and people being excited about it and we’ve had five or six people coming in to buy it, which for us isn’t nothing. There’s a lot of interest in the royals in this area and I think the documentary probably has something to do with it, too.”
Of course, the reason why the book matters so much to the publishing industry is that its puts books on the front pages and confirms their relevance. Stories like this drive people into bookshops where they might well buy something else alongside copies of Spare. And that, as all booksellers will agree – whatever their views on the Prince and his story – is to be celebrated.