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NY Post
New York Post
16 Dec 2023


NextImg:Bestselling celeb memoirs by Britney Spears, Prince Harry and others may have failed to earn back advances: report

This year was full of juicy celebrity memoirs with stars like Britney Spears and Barbra Streisand spilling it all and Prince Harry topping the charts with his bombshell book.

But despite media frenzies, hefty advances paid to the celebs seemed to outweigh the publishers’ profits.

NewsNation’s “The Scoop” from Paula Froelich crunched the numbers to see if a book earned back its advance based on how much the books cost and how much the celebs were paid — numbers that are rarely released but leaked for Prince Harry and Spears.

“An advance is a risk the publisher is willing to pay. If you pay too much and it doesn’t sell, it’s not good. If they sell well, it is worth it,” Dan Strone, CEO of literacy agency Trident Media told NewsNation.

Froelich’s analysis, which she shared with Nichole Berlie on NewsNation Live, found that “Spare,” the first of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle four-book deal with Penguin Random House, was a publicity win but a financial flop.

Publishers paid out big bucks for celebrity memoirs this year and, based on how many sold, it looks like they didn’t profit much, a new report has found. AFP via Getty Images
According to calculations, Harry would have had to sell more than twice the amount of books (2.7 million copies) at the original price of $36 than he did to earn back his advance, Froelich found. AP

The prince may have received up to $20 million in advance, according to reports, but despite topping the charts, only sold 1.2 million hardcovers.

He would have had to sell double to have made back the advance.

Britney Spears’ “The Woman in Me,” which gives dirt on her conservatorship and abortion while dating Justin Timberlake, was another flop but PR win. Spears reportedly refused to do press for the book and sold 1.1 million copies but got $15 million up front.

Britney Spears’ bombshell book is full of juicy details about her past relationshipsas well as her conservatorship that came to an end in 2021. AP

Streisand would have had to sell almost six times more copies of her book than she sold to make it worth the publisher’s while, based on estimates of what her advance may have been.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life” and Elliott Page’s “Pageboy” were financially unclear, Froelich ruled.

SNL star and comic Leslie Jones’ memoir sold 15,000 hardcover copies. AP

Obvious flops were the low-selling reads from John Stamos, Kristin Chenowith and Leslie Jones.

“The numbers here suggest that some celebrities shouldn’t be writing memoirs at all,” PR guru Paul Bogaards told NewsNation.