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    Hitting the shelves

    LONDON (AP) – After weeks of hype and days of leaks, readers got a chance to judge Prince Harry’s book for themselves when it went on sale around the world on Tuesday.

    The book’s publisher said Spare sold 400,000 copies in the United Kingdom (UK) in all formats – hardback, e-book and audio – on its first day.

    “As far as we know, the only books to have sold more in their first day are those starring the other Harry (Potter),” said managing director of Transworld Penguin Random House Larry Finlay. The final Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, sold more than 2.5 million copies on its first day of release, in 2007.

    A few stores in Britain opened at midnight to sell copies to diehard royal devotees and the merely curious. Many said they wanted to form their own opinion of the book after days of snippets and debate on news sites and television.

    “I’m excited just to hear about Prince Harry’s life from Prince Harry,” said a surveyor who bought the book at London’s Victoria station Sarah Nakana. “There’s so much misinformation, disinformation about Harry and Meghan.”

    Members of staff place the copies of the new book by Prince Harry called ‘Spare’ at a book store in London. PHOTOS: AP
    A couple take a photo in front of a display in the window of a bookshop
    A customer holds copies of the new book by Prince Harry

    The book’s myriad revelations and accusations have already been splashed across the media. In the ghostwritten memoir Harry, 38, recounts his grief at the death of his mother, Princess Diana, his disputes with brother Prince William and frustration at the role of royal “spare” in the shadow of his elder sibling, who is heir to the British throne.

    He lacerates the UK’s tabloid press for coverage he considers prurient, intrusive and sometimes plain wrong, claims his relatives were unwelcoming to his wife Meghan and accuses members of the royal family, including his stepmother Camilla, of leaking stories to the media to burnish their own reputations.

    Buckingham Palace has not commented on any of the allegations, though royal allies have pushed back, largely anonymously.

    Harry’s exposure of bitter divides inside the House of Windsor – alongside details of his mental health struggles, experiences with sex and drugs and decade-long military career – has generated reams of media coverage.

    Spare is the top-selling book on Amazon’s UK site and on Amazon.com in the United States (US), and is already one of the year’s biggest sellers.

    Non-fiction buyer at the Waterstones bookstore chain John Cotterill told trade magazine The Bookseller that Spare was “one of the biggest pre-order titles of the last decade for Waterstones”.

    In the US, Barnes & Noble issued a statement on Tuesday citing an “exceptional” level of customer interest, although the superstore chain did not release any specific numbers.

    Excitement is far from universal, however. Harry’s interview with broadcaster ITV drew 4.1 million viewers last Sunday – fewer than the 5.3 million who watched BBC drama Happy Valley at the same time.

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