I’ve never read a Richard Osman book, but he’s become quite successful in recent years, starting with The Thursday Murders Club. That’s being developed for a film adaptation! Anyway, Osman is a British personality, comedian, writer, etc. Jack of all trades. He’s also sort of a self-styled expert on publishing now that he’s had some big success as a novelist. Osman decided to dip his toe into the British media’s ongoing obsession with the Sussexes’ finances and career successes. The British media loves to claim (without evidence) that the Sussexes are “failing” or that they’re “broke” or that “no one read Harry’s memoir.” Meanwhile, Spare was the biggest publishing success of 2023, selling millions of hardback copies and audiobooks. Well, Osman decided to correct the record and say that, actually, he believes Harry is probably rolling in money because of Spare’s success.

Prince Harry has already made £22million ($27million) from his book Spare despite it only being out in hardback, fellow bestselling author Richard Osman has claimed. The Duke of Sussex’s controversial memoir became the UK’s fastest-selling non-fiction book ever after being published by Penguin Random House in January 2023. Harry was understood to have clinched a £16million ($20million) advance as part of a £32million ($40million) four-book deal in June 2021 following a bidding war.

Now, Osman – author of hit crime novels including The Thursday Murder Club – has used his publishing industry knowledge to estimate Harry’s income from the book. Speaking on his podcast The Rest Is Entertainment, Osman said: ‘The book that Harry wrote, it’s impossible to overestimate how much money that has made. I mean, it’s been one of the most successful books. The fastest selling non-fiction book of all time. I’ve done some back of the envelope calculations because I like to. I know what you get paid per book. Got a $20million advance. Thing with an advance is, you get paid in advance, $20million in that case, you do not make a penny until your publisher makes back their $20million.’

‘And once they’ve made back their $20million, and there’s all sorts of sliding scales about how that works, what they get, what you get, once you’ve made the $20million, then you get your royalties. I think – and his book has not come out in paperback yet. So this book is purely hardback. I reckon he’s made $26, $27million. So he’s earned out an advance of $20million on the hardback of his first book alone. Forget rights to other things and audiobooks and what have you. He has earned that out already. When the paperback comes out, it’s just money rolling into the Sussexes.’

A spokeswoman for Penguin Random House confirmed to MailOnline today that there is still no release date for the paperback version of Spare.

Osman added that Spare had become the ‘biggest hit of the last ten, 20 years’ and had ‘made everybody an enormous amount of money’. He also pointed out that people were wrong to suggest the book was not a success because it was being heavily discounted or on the shelves of charity shops. Osman added: ‘Harry is not making less money if it’s half-price. He makes exactly the same if you charge $28 and if you charge $14. Also, he sells a lot in America. In America the royalties are absolutely insane because they pay a lot of money for books in America. So he has made a huge amount of money out of that book. So he’s got money coming in.’

[From The Daily Mail]

He also mentioned Suits’ streaming success but (correctly) assumes that Meghan probably isn’t seeing much in residuals given streaming services’ dodgy math when it comes to that sort of thing. The point he was making was that Suits-on-streaming was the biggest TV show of 2023 while Harry had the most successful book of 2023. Therefore, the Sussexes are totally fine financially and culturally. I agree, and I think he’s correct with his math on the book sales too. Before Spare was published, industry experts weighed in on how many units would need to be sold to “break even,” i.e. recoup Harry’s reported $20 million advance. All of those experts put the estimates around 3 million units, give or take a hundred thousand. Spare sold that many copies in the first week. Osman is correct – beyond his advance, Harry has easily made millions. And what if he adds some chapters for a paperback release??

Photos and screencaps courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images, 60 Minutes/CBS and The Late Show/CBS.


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