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Prince Harry’s memoir discounted price discussed ahead of release

Prince Harry ‘consumed by the green-eyed monster’ says Bolt

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Offering a copy of Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir discounted to people preordering it “suggests a touch of desperation”, an expert in the publishing world has said. Penguin Random House announced last week the much-anticipated book of the Duke of Sussex, titled Spare, will be released worldwide on January 10 next year.

This announcement also prompted the launch of preorders, revealing the book in the UK has a cover price of £28 while in the US is at $36.

However, many sellers on both sides of the pond are already offering the memoir discounted.

Some, including book selling franchise Waterstones, are advertising the book at half-price and selling it on offer at £14.

While discussing the cover price of the 416-page-long memoir, literary agent Peter Cox of Litopia told Express.co.uk: “Publishers make most money on hardbacks and at £28, Harry’s hardback price is already pretty steep.

“However, even before publication it’s already on sale by retailers for half-price! I don’t like that. It suggests a touch of desperation.”

Mr Cox went on to say that, once the price is lowered, it’s “hard to charge full price again”.

Asked whether the £28 cover cost was justified by the major name of the author, Mr Cox added, after saying Penguin Random House was “pushing the boundaries” with the price: “If it’s seen as a truly historic book then the cover price will be justified and it will have a long shelf life, so will earn the publisher’s advance back over many profitable years.

“But if it’s seen as a mean swipe at family members – who can’t really fight back – then I suspect it will quickly disappear from the bookshelves. 

“There’s one important thing to add. Ultimately, books are still sold by word of mouth.

“You can throw a ton of money and publicity at a book launch, but if the initial readers don’t like it, then it simply won’t keep on selling.

“What the publisher needs if for readers to say ‘I read the Harry book – and it’s great!’ If that happens, they’ll get their money back.”

Another expert working in publishing, Jane Tabachnick, also commented on the cover price of the royal memoir.

Ms Tabachnick, publisher at Simply Good Press and publishing consultant at Jane Tabachnick & Co, told Express.co.uk: “The cost is reasonable based on the size and the page count, as well as the high profile of Prince Harry, even though it on the high side.

“Many bookstores including Amazon, offer a pre-order price guarantee, so once the price is dropped by any retailer, most others have to follow suit and drop their prices.”

Ms Tabachnick added a first-hand account of Harry and his inside look “is going to be irresistible to the public, especially if it includes his true feelings – not just a look at his life through a glossy lens.” 

Contacted by Express.co.uk, a spokeswoman at Waterstones said: “Waterstones does not strongly focus on discounting, but on certain highly anticipated and prominent titles, such as Prince Harry’s memoir, we need to compete against heavy online discounting.

“Therefore, and to provide our customers with a well-balanced offer, Waterstones features a small but thoughtfully curated selection of half-price books, including some pre-order titles.

“Strong pre-orders indicate that the publication of Spare is highly anticipated, and we are confident that the high interest will be sustained in the run-up to, and after, publication.”

Prince Harry’s book has been described by Penguin Random House as a “landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief”.

The publisher added the memoir will feature “raw, unflinching honesty” and will allow Prince Harry to tell his story in his own words.

Speaking about the book in July last year, the Duke himself said he hoped that, in telling his story, he “can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think”.

He added: “I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Penguin Random House for comment.

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