Harry's memoir set to top charts as major stores slash price

WH Smith, Waterstones and Amazon among retailers selling book at half-price.

The Duke of Sussex’s memoir is set to become one of the biggest books of the year, according to an industry expert, as it went on sale at half-price.

Philip Jones, editor of The Bookseller, told the PA news agency it was “quite normal” to have a “big hardback” that booksellers think will do well sold at half-price by major retailers.

Harry’s controversial autobiography Spare is being sold for £14, not the recommended retail price of £28, in bookshops such as Waterstones and WH Smith as well as online at Amazon.

Spare was first leaked in Spain, where it mistakenly went on sale last week, and a host of revelations and private details about Harry’s life and family have since emerged.

Allegations from the book include his brother, the Prince of Wales, physically attacking him, and Meghan upsetting the Princess of Wales by saying she must have “baby brain” in the run-up to the Sussexes’ 2018 wedding.

Mr Jones said he believed Waterstones when the retailer said Spare had been one of its biggest pre-order titles of the past decade.

He added: “It is likely to be one of the biggest books of the year in terms of sales and impact.”

Asked how many copies a book has to sell to do well, Mr Jones said if it reaches 50,000 it will be “number one” and a “success”.

On Tuesday, Spare was number one in the UK Amazon chart and was listed as a bestseller on the company’s audiobook arm Audible and on Waterstones’ website.

Mr Jones said more than 200,000 sales would make it one of the biggest books of the year, but there is unlikely to be an announcement on numbers until next week.

For independent bookshops, low sales of would still be thought of as quite good, he added.

Mr Jones said “if it really flops” the publisher, Penguin Random House, will put the book through remainder sales and out to bargain booksellers at a lower price.

But he said it is “unlikely” to do this due to the reputational damage, so “we will probably never know” if the sales do not match the publisher’s expectations.

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