The contents of Prince Harry’s much-anticipated tell-all memoir Spare, not scheduled for release until next week (Jan. 10) and bound to be full of salacious details and intimate stories, were supposed to be a tightly guarded secret before publication.
Now, thanks to a logistical mistake, fans of the royal family across Spain will be starting their weekend by diving into the sordid details of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s messy exit from the royal family. What happened?
In order to prepare for any shipping delays caused by this weekend’s Three Kings day festivities, Spanish newspaper Heraldo reports that the distributor for Penguin Random House (the book’s publisher) in Spain delivered the memoir to bookstores early. And, instead of keeping it under lock and key, the bookstores put it on shelves.
Some Spanish bookstores claimed the early sale was due to a glitch in their software while others blamed clerical errors, but many admitted that they wanted to “gift” the book early to celebrate the holiday weekend.
The early sales are a major headache for Penguin Random House, as Harry’s release next week is set to be one of its biggest launches this quarter. Recent reports suggest Penguin Random House is investing in Harry long-term— Entertainment Tonight shared the details of a multi-book deal worth at least $35 million.
Timeline of the bungled book launch
July 20, 2021: Penguin Random House announces the publication of Prince Harry’s memoirs, promising that, for the first time, Harry will share “the definitive account of the experiences, adventures, losses, and life lessons that have helped shape him.” The memoir’s advance is reported to be worth at least $20 million.
Oct. 27, 2022: To much fanfare, Penguin Random House announces the book’s release date and reveals the title: Spare, a reference to the saying that monarchs should have at least two children, “a heir and a spare.” As Harry is the second son of King Charles, he is not the direct heir to the throne like his brother Prince William, but the title might also be seen as expressing relief for not having to be the one taking over the crown.
Jan. 5, 2023: Ahead of the book’s release, the Guardian reports details from Harry’s memoir, most notably that William, the Prince of Wales, physically assaulted him during an argument where William described Harry’s wife Meghan as “difficult” and “rude.” Later that day, it emerged that copies of the book are on sale in Spain and British tabloids begin reporting on its contents, followed by the rest of the media.
Harry and Meghan’s content production powerhouse
📚 Book Deal: Penguin Random House first announced the publication of Harry’s memoir Spare in July 2021. After the announcement, Harry stated “I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become,” and pledged to donate a portion of the profits to charity. His deal includes three more books for the company.
📺 Netflix: Harry and Meghan signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to produce “programming that informs, elevates, and inspires.” The agreement is reportedly worth between $100-$150 million. Their first special was a six-part documentary detailing the ups and downs of their relationship, which picked up 82 million hours of streaming in the first week of its global release.
🎧 Spotify: The Duke and Duchess reportedly signed a multi-year podcast deal with the audio streaming giant for $25 million. The first episode, made by their production company Archewell Productions, featured their son Archie’s first words.
✊ Has Meghan Markle finally made Prince Harry woke?
📰 Prince Harry is furious about racist press coverage and online trolling of his girlfriend
💊 Britons are horrified at all the drug ads aired during Oprah’s Harry and Meghan interview