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Meghan Markle’s book fails to hit top 50 bestsellers

Meghan Markle’s children’s book is seen discounted at Waterstones Piccadilly bookstore in London on June 8. Shutterstock; MEGA


Meghan Markle’s book fails to hit top 50 bestsellers


A book by campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford beat Meghan Markle’s children’s book to the top of the UK book rankings in its first week.

‘The Bench,’ written by the Duchess of Sussex, was inspired by a poem about Prince Harry’s first Father’s Day, and it examines the ‘special bond between father and son’ as ‘seen through a mother’s eyes.’

While the £12.99 publication was the best-selling picture book in the UK last week after its publication on June 8, it did not do as well on the wider list – though analysts believe it might still earn a fortune if distributed globally, the Daily Mail reports.

The 40-page book has pictures of a family, including one of Meghan holding a newborn baby, which might be a reference to their daughter Lili.

However, The Bench only sold 3,212 copies in its first week, failing to crack the top 50 best-selling list.

Despite the poor sales, literary scholar Tom Tivan predicted that the work will be extremely profitable for the book’s publishers, Penguin Random House Children’s (PRH), because they have global rights to market the English language edition.


PRH may also sell translation rights to other publishers, which implies that if ‘The Bench’ is published in other languages, it could become a major global success.

In the week, Manchester United star Marcus Rashford topped Meghan in the UK book rankings with ‘You Are A Champion,’ which sold 10,564 copies – three times the number of The Bench, and maybe aided by football fever for Euro 2020.

In the same time period, Richard Osman’s No. 1 book, “The Thursday Murder Club,” sold 28,383 copies.

As of Wednesday morning, “The Bench” was rated No. 5 in Children’s Books on Family Life on Amazon UK’s charts, with 280 ratings and a 4.5-star rating out of a possible 5.

‘At a little over 3,000 copies (3,212 to be exact) sold The Bench is obviously not a huge bestseller in week one, it didn’t even make the top 50,’ Mr Tivan, managing editor of The Bookseller magazine, told the Daily Mirror.

‘But I don’t think that’s a disappointment for Penguin Random House Children’s as picture books generally don’t sell huge amounts starting out – even if the writer is the Duchess of Sussex.

‘The aim is the long game as picture books tend to have a longer shelf life than adult titles. The idea is to keep them selling week in and week out and is not about a quick hit.’

“Meghan’s was the bestselling picture book of the week, though as it sold 500 more copies than Julia Donaldson’s What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside.”

Early reactions to Meghan’s debut novel were mixed, while one gushed that “the book’s storytelling and illustration give us snapshots of shared moments that evoke a deep sense of warmth.”

Some critics described it as mawkish and lacking in plot, and one reader stating that they “really wanted to like” it but were disappointed.

“I really wanted to like this book, to believe the publishers had selected it on merit.

“There isn’t a lot of positives to be found. It’s not engaging and cannot justify its classification as a children’s book. It’s a sentimental with a somewhat sanctimonious overtone,” the person wrote on Amazon.

‘One wonders how any publisher could have thought fit to publish this grammar-defying set of badly rhyming cod homilies, let alone think any child anywhere would want to read it,’ wrote another review.

‘But that’s planet Sussex for you, where even the business of raising a family is all about the brand.

Tom said: “I suspect what the publisher is doing is also playing the long game to try to get a toe in for the bigger prize: the full Harry/Meghan package.”

“I think the plan is for some publisher to nab them for a multi-book deal for some eye-popping sum which I think could even exceed what PRH paid for the Obamas two books (around £46m). So publishing the children’s book can show the Sussexes what PRH can do.”

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1 Comment

  1. Lizzie

    June 20, 2021 at 11:26 pm

    I will wait until the book pops up at some bargain bin or on the shelves of the store, Dollar Tree where everything is a dollar. That is the amount I will pay for it. Or I might buy it used. Anyway I am in no hurry to buy it.

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