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Prince Harry’s book Spare is most traded-in biography of the year

Prince Harry's autobiography Spare was translated into 15 languages
Prince Harry's autobiography Spare was translated into 15 languages - Michael Sohn/AP

It may have been a bestseller, breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time, but Prince Harry’s autobiography Spare has now reached a new, rather less salubrious milestone.

According to We Buy Books, the 416-page tome, which was published on Jan 10, was the most traded-in biography of the year.

A spokesman for the books specialist, which “turns unwanted books into cash”, said: “Prince Harry’s Spare was our most traded-in biography of the year. We’ve accepted 459 copies. We limit how many we accept in a timeframe so chances are if we’d accepted every copy, there’d have been a lot more!”

Customers trade in their books online by typing the ISBN number into the website or scanning it on the app and then accepting the instant valuation offered. Although Spare originally retailed at £28, We Buy Books would offer customers £2.40 for their second hand copies. The hardback edition is currently selling for £14 on Amazon and is priced £19.99 at Waterstones.

The book came out in digital, paperback, and hardcover formats and has been translated into 15 languages. There is also a 15-hour audiobook edition, which Harry narrates himself.

Total sales including audio and e-book editions were around 400,000 copies on the day of its release, making it the UK’s fastest selling non-fiction book ever.

It sold more than 1.4 million copies in the US, Canada and Britain on its first day, which was described by Penguin Random House as the largest first-day sales total for any non-fiction book it ever published.

More sales than Barack Obama

It beat Barack Obama’s 2020 autobiography, A Promised Land, to become the fastest-selling non-fiction book of all time.

Sales were fueled by many booksellers including Waterstones, WHSmith, and Amazon offering it to customers at half price.

After selling 467,183 print copies in its first week and 750,000 copies across all formats in the UK, it became the fastest-selling nonfiction book in the UK since Nielsen BookData began recording official printed book sales in 1998. Sales well surpassed Kay Allinson’s Pinch of Nom cookbook, which sold 210,506 copies in its first three days of release in 2019.

In the book, which was ghost written by J. R. Moehringer, Harry details how he played second fiddle to his brother William as the “spare to the heir” and reveals the trauma he suffered as a result of the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.

He describes being “assaulted” by William, reveals how the King begged his sons not to “make my finals years a misery” and details losing his virginity by “an older lady” in a field behind a pub.

He also revealed he had killed 25 “enemy combatants” while serving with the British Army in Afghanistan.

The book, which accused his stepmother Queen Camilla of leaking stories to the press and suggests the Princess of Wales was insulted by Meghan referring to her having “baby brain”, received mixed reviews.

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