Meghan Markle’s children’s book has failed to reach the top 50 UK book charts – but is still set to make thousands.
The Duchess of Sussex’s book ‘The Bench’ was inspired by a poem about Prince Harry’s first Father’s Day.
The 40-page, which costs £12.99, is illustrated with pictures of a family including one of Meghan cradling a newborn baby in a possible nod to their newborn daughter Lili.
But the book sold just 3,212 copies in its first week and failed to make it into the best-selling top 50.
Despite the slow sales the work is expected to be hugely profitable for the book’s publishers Penguin Random House Children’s (PRH) as they have rights that allow them to sell the English language version globally.
PRH could also sell translation rights to other publishers which means ‘The Bench’ could become a huge global success if it is printed in other languages.
The book has been illustrated by award-winning artist Christian Robinson, and the audiobook is narrated by the Duchess of Sussex herself.
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford scooped the top spot with his book ‘You are a Champion’ which sold a whopping 10,564 copies in the last week as football fans are gripped by Euro 2020.
Tom Tivan spoke exclusively to the Mirror and said that despite Meghan’s book failing to make it to the top 50 it is not disappointing because picture books generally sell slow and steadily.
He said: “At a little over 3000 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.
“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 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.”
Days after the book was launched it suffered a bumpy start that saw it creep to just number 100 on the Amazon chart but it later flew into the number five spot on the online website’s UK Children’s Books list.
“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,” Tom said.
“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.”
The novel appears to have split opinion among readers online with it being branding from “beautiful keepsake” to “semi-literate vanity project”
Less favourable reviews describe it as mawkish and lacking a storyline, with one reader saying they had “really wanted to like” it but been disappointed.