Prince Harry’s ‘Spare’ breaks Guinness Record for fastest-selling nonfiction book

Prince Harry’s controversial memoir Spare is the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time, Guinness World Records confirmed Friday, after the royal tell-all containing intimate details about Harry’s life and family sold 1.43 million copies on its first day—and he suggested he had enough left over for another book.


Key facts

  • The record was previously held by former President Barack Obama’s 2020 memoir A Promised Land, which sold 887,000 copies on release day, according to Guinness.
  • Spare is in its second printing according to publisher Penguin Random House, after a 2 milllion first run.
  • The book’s frank descriptions of Harry’s strained relationships with royal relatives and intimate revelations about his private life—like how he lost his virginity and how many people he killed people in Afghanistan—were controversial and sparked backlash, including calls for Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to have their royal titles stripped.
  • But Harry said he had so much material that Spare “could have been two books,” and that the initial draft of the memoir was twice as long as what ended up being published, he told The Telegraph.
  • He said he opted to leave out some details that led to his strained relationships with his father King Charles III and his brother Prince William “because I don’t think they would ever forgive me” if he had included them.


Some of Harry’s most contentious excerpts were leaked after Spanish-language copies were mistakenly put up for sale in Spain ahead of the release day. Harry told The Telegraph in an interview published Thursday he was disappointed the public’s first encounter with the book came in the form of headlines, not the book itself.


Key background

Harry took part in a spree of interviews to promote Spare, including televised sit-downs with American and British broadcasters in which he criticized the royal family. Harry defended himself against allegations that he and Meghan are profiting off their royal status and selling out his relatives during a 60 Minutes interview, telling Anderson Cooper that he felt he had to go public with his family issues after private attempts to solve their problems were unsuccessful. Harry told ITV that he hopes to reconcile his relationships with his father and brother, and that he wants “a family, not an institution.”