AN independent bookstore chose not to be a part of the hysteria around Prince Harry’s new book saying she thought what the Prince was doing was “distasteful”.

Only rarely does a book generate such hype. Book lovers, royalists, anti-monarchists, nosey parkers, those desperate to find a scandal, or others just wanting to pass the time reading about two princesses fighting, Spare has been torn off the shelves both in the UK and across the pond in Harry’s new kingdom of America.

Spare became the fastest-selling non-fiction book in the UK, with the book selling 467,183 copies in its first week, according to official figures from Nielsen BookData.

It didn’t do too badly in America either, with 2million copies printed for the US market and the book overtaking Barack Obama’s A Promised Land, which had previously recorded the biggest first-day sales.

However, in Penarth, numbers and sales figures and the chance to delve into the murky underbelly of the Royal Family didn’t appeal to one bookseller.

Mel Griffin, of Griffin Books, on Windsor Road, said the book wasn’t in keeping with her shop's ethics.

“As an independent bookshop what we stock reflects the personality of me and my team,” Mel told the Penarth Times.

Penarth Times:

(Owner of Griffin Books, Mel Griffin, said she didn't want to stock Spare)

Revelations in Harry’s book have been explosive from his dad cutting him off to his big bro Prince William throwing him on a dog bowl.

However none of this intrigues Mel, who thinks it’s all quite sad.

“I think complaining about press intrusion while simultaneously feeding the press stories about your family is pretty poor form,” said Mel.

“I find the whole playing out of personal family drama distasteful. I do not want my business to contribute to that.”

Penarth Times:

(Mel said the book did not reflect her store or her team)

Penarth Times:

(Spare is one of the fastest selling books in recent times)

Many independent suppliers also complained of the price, with the book originally retailing for £28, but when it was leaked – initially in Spain – major chains that can afford “loss leaders” slashed the price, meaning independents like Griffin would have been trying to flog a book for £28 that you could get across the road for £14

Despite Mel’s lukewarm feeling about Harry’s literary debut, she was understanding of why he might be doing what he is.

“I feel sorry for what he experienced in childhood,” said Mel, “but do not agree with the approach to dealing with these issues.”

Did you buy Spare? What did you think of it? Is what Harry is doing right? Let us know in comments or on the Penarth Facebook page.

Griffin Books to celebrate return to events with Fflur Dafydd debut

Join Penarth’s independent bookshop Griffin Books for their first event of 2023, as they welcome award-winning author Fflur Dafydd. Fflur will be in conversation with former BBC Arts Correspondent Jon Gower to celebrate her new novel, The Library Suicides.

Set in the National Library of Wales, this intensely memorable and provocative novel is an English language reimagining of Fflur’s bestselling Welsh novel, Y Llyfrgell, which was also turned into a BAFTA Cymru Award-winning film. The Library Suicides is perfect for fans of high concept thrillers that break the mould, and books about books and the concept of the written word.

Penarth Times:

The event will take place on Wednesday 25 January from 7.30 pm at All Saints Church in Penarth. Tickets can be purchased online at: or by contacting the shop on / 02920 706455.