Today we’re discussing and ranking the best selling books in history. We are giving you guys some of the best titles and authors that should be on your reading list if they aren’t already. We also know that most of you don’t like to waste time reading bad books. So, if you want to try the all-time best sellers, here’s your chance. We did our homework and put together 10 of the best selling books that were ever written. They are classic books and all-time favorites. Unlike most religious writings a medieval manuscript that only depicted life at the castle and the daily struggles of ordinary people.
More recent books, especially after printers, were invented are fictional masterpieces that manage to stay relevant for years and to multiple generations. Reading is still viewed as one of the most relaxing and beneficial hobbies or habits that people can easily pick up. Reading books can significantly improve vocabulary, imagination and communication with others. You constantly learn something new while you unwind. Most importantly you don’t do any damage to your eyes or your brain. There’s nothing sadder than seeing people waste time and refuse to hook up with a good book that could possibly change their life or at least the way they think.
Did we mention that this is the best pick up line and conversation starter? Yes, books are amazing. We can’t stop preaching about reading since it’s also a habit of rich and successful people. Let’s see which authors made it into the hall of fame list of the best selling books in history. We have both women and men and different genres but all in all only the best books.
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10: Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code – 80 Million Copies
Starting with a bestseller from 15 years and the book that made Dan Brown a best selling books’ author, The Da Vinci Code. You’ve definitely heard about this famous book that was released back in 2003. It’s been 15 years since then and the book is still making people doubt the church and Jesus Christ. The subject is indeed highly sensitive, and Dan Brown has conducted years of studies to get his facts checked and write the whole story. Although, it’s full of information, cleric mentions and plot twists. It’s a semi-fiction story because most characters are not real. Dan Brown has a few other books that kind of tackle this subject and with the same character Robert Langdon but this one was a hugely controversial story.
For months, TV shows and lots of people criticized the book and began taking sides because the way he wrote the book and the facts that were presented are simply making you doubt everything you already know. We’re not giving away any spoilers don’t worry guys we’re not that kind of people. Since it’s huge release the book has been trending and ranking like crazy. It sold over 80 million copies. It’s being made into a successful film adaptation some parity’s and of course lawsuits. At 54 years old Dan Brown still writes best selling books about controversial subjects and has a net worth between $20 Million to $100 Million depending on which source you read. Since he released another Robert Langdon book last year “Origins” it looks like we’re about to hear more and more about him and his famous professor.
9: H. Rider Haggard, SHE: A History of Adventure – 83 Million Copies
Moving on we change the theme a little since we’re now talking about a different book. “SHE: The History of Adventure” is the kind of book that keeps you glued to the pages for hours and hours. The story is about Horace Holley and his ward Leo Vincey wandering in a lost kingdom in the African interior. There they meet an indigenous tribe and their white Queen Aisha who reigns as the all-powerful “SHE” or she who must be obeyed as they call her sometimes. The story is inspired by two major themes, the lost world sub-genre and the British colonialism in Africa. Since, its publication in 1887, the book has been a massive influence for future English novelists and a worldwide success.
So far over 83 Million copies have been sold and it’s now available in print, audiobook and eBook options for those who want to read it. What makes the book so great is that the author H. Rider Haggard was inspired by a lot of personal travels in childhood memories while writing the story. It’s a story about romance, adventure, fantasy and gothic elements which makes it so much more relevant and unique. Some great writers such as Henry Miller or J.R.R Tolkien admitted having been inspired by it and that’s why it’s on our exclusive list. There’s also around 11 screen adaptations of the story, so feel free to watch any of those as well.
8: Cs Lewis, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe – 85 Million Copies
Because we like a little fantasy sprinkled here and there and had a damn good story? We have the best childhood story by CS Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The book is a part of the Chronicles of Narnia and is by far one of the most famous and best selling books. It follows the story of children that are staying in an old countryside home and discover the Land of Narnia. From that moment on, they embark on a journey of self-discovery. Fighting the evil queen and the mythical creatures that help them along the way. It’s a beautiful story that keeps that young fantasy spirit alive. Some books have beautifully made illustrations that help depict all the craziness that happens in Narnia. Even though the movies made after the book are really good, the book is still better.
We will always go with the book and encourage you guys to read and then watch the movie. Some say the book depicts a strong allegory to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and connections to other stories such as Snow White. Altogether, this book that means so much to so many kids has sold over 85 Million copies so far. It is still one of the most kept best selling books in libraries and bookstores. If you’re not so much into fantasy books? Then we strongly advise you to see the movie instead because they follow the story quite accurately and have advanced CGI graphics.
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7: Cao Xueqin, The Dream of The Red Chamber – 100 Million Copies
Heading to China we find one of the greatest novels to ever come from the country. This book is one of the 4 greatest classical novels, even though the book is published with many titles such as “Dream of the Red Chamber” “The Story of The Stone” “Red Chamber Dream” and “A Dream of Red Mansion.” As you would expect all writers are inspired by their families and the times in which they live. This one is also semi-autobiographical where the action follows Cao’s family, the Ching dynasty from the 18th century. Marvelous details of daily life, Chinese culture and psychology are depicted in this book. Some of the first manuscripts were hand written and passed down for a good period of time.
So, if you at it might have sneaked in but since the modern printers were invented the book sold in over 100 Million copies worldwide, making it available in multiple languages and audio book versions. If you plan on reading this book, which we strongly advise you to do. Get ready for a complex story with over 40 main characters, a lot of Chinese names and beautiful ancient Chinese legends. Since it won’t give away too much about the story we will leave you with this quote from the opening chapter, so you get a little taste. “Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true; real becomes not-real where the unreal’s real”.
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6: J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone – 120 Million Copies
We couldn’t have done this ranking without mentioning this contemporary female writer. JK Rowling is the kind of girl boss that makes other females be more confident and follow their dreams. She’s the first author to become a billionaire and one of the greatest philanthropists our world has. Her famous series Harry Potter brought her international recognition and plenty of opportunities. Out of all of the 7 books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the one that made it to our list since it sold over 120 Million copies. The whole series has over 520 million copies sold worldwide and is, of course, one of the best selling books series of all time.
There’s a lot of records around this famous series as well and the author, so we’re not even going to bother telling you the plot since you guys 100% know it already. We would even bet that at least half of our readers are Harry Potter fans and have seen the movies. The Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the series and it can be found under two different names, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the US version and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the UK version. With this first book and the first movie, all the world fell in love with magical characters.
Let’s be honest this series was a major career breaker for Daniel Radcliffe or Emma Watson since the series was released a lot of people visited the places mentioned in the book, such as the platform 9 3/4 sign on London’s King’s Cross Railway Station or Gringotts Wizard Bank in London.
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5: Antoine De Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince – 140 Million Copies
Getting closer to number one of the list of best selling books, we stumble upon another cute children’s book, The Little Prince or Le Petit Prince as so many call it by its original French name. Even though it’s mostly a children’s story in some critic’s opinion since it’s pretty short only 96 pages. The book is a magical story and has been translated into 250 languages and dialects, so everyone can enjoy it. The book has surpassed the 100 million copies sold milestone and is now at 140 million copies and still counting. After the 2015 cinematic adaptation of the book which had major Hollywood names like Rachel McAdams, James Franco and Marion Cottilard and a box office of $97.5 Million.
The story came back again into the public eye with their cute and symbolic characters. The story of the little prince is now so famous that all over the world museums and statues attributed to it. The original manuscript of the story written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry can be found in Morgan Museum and Library in New York. As well as other personal objects of the author and a signed edition of the book. Since this prince is so famous you might wonder who illustrated him and how he always looks the same in all of the books and movies? Well, when the author wrote the book he also illustrated the characters and the main sets. Up to this day 75 years after its first publication the original drawings are still used to depict the little prince.
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4: J.R.R Tolkien’s – The Lord of The Rings Series – 150 Million Copies
We all remember the 2003 Oscar Awards Ceremony when the Lord of The Rings, The Return of the King took home with no more than 11 Oscars. Therefore, holding the record for the biggest Oscar sweep of all time. The same movie also passes the $1 Billion milestone at box offices. It is now among the 10 best movies of all time, among classics like Titanic or Ben-Hur.
What about the books inspired Peter Jackson to move to New Zealand for a few years to film this masterpiece? The Lord of the Rings series written by J.R.R Tolkien is the best fantasy best selling books of all time. Even better than Harry Potter as sales show. They’ve sold over 150 million copies worldwide translated in multiple languages and are loved by millions of fans. The movies, the comics, the books and the memes are simply more reasons why this story is so epic.
We can all relate to Gandalf and The Hobbits in our lives. We have to admit that for a movie marathon, The Lord of the Rings extended version is the best option. It’s the kind of trilogy that can be watched over and over again until you know all the lines. You will still get to sob or hesitate at some scenes, but one doesn’t simply watch the trilogy. Getting back to our best selling books, they are simply more detailed and elaborate than the movies. Tolkien has created this incredible universe from scratch. It would be a pity not to fully understand the story and the universe. On top of all of that, the books are also packed with maps, songs and elvish-dictionary. Just read the books, they’ll be amazing even if you see in the movies already.
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3: Charles Dickens – A Tale of Two Cities – 200 Million Copies
Classics like Charles Dickens will always have a special place in everyone’s heart. The Tale of Two Cities is certainly that one book that defined the English literature and gave us one of the best characters ever. It begins with the famous line, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. It’s about one of the two most beautiful cities London and Paris. The story takes place before the French Revolution and it’s divided into 45 chapters. The first edition was in fact published in 31 weekly installments in Dickens new literary periodical titled all the year round and then later put together as a Tale of Two Cities. Although, there are some controversies that follow this great master piece of English literature. Like people criticizing Dickens of writing a tale about the French Revolution.
Well, he was a resident of London meaning he had little knowledge about what actually happened in France or that the book didn’t do so well in sales. Multiple sources say that a Tale of Two Cities was sold in more than 200 million copies. We stand by that affirmation. The book is epic by all means. It actually served as the inspiration for the character of Bane from Batman the Dark Knight Rises. Not to mention that the next novel Dickens wrote after the success was the “Great Expectations” which is another great book. Sorry haters, you can’t bring down this classic writer.
2: Miguel De Cervantes – Don Quixote – 500 Million Copies
Number 2 on our list of 10 best selling books is Don Quixote. The second to last story and author is one that will never die. If you’ve never heard about this book, then maybe you do live under a rock or simply don’t read. Don Quixote is the story of a nobleman or Hidalgo as they’re called in Spain and his journey to bring back chivalry. The story is cited by many people and fellow writers as a stepping stone to western literature and the best ever written book. Don Quixote also inspired a lot of movie characters and cartoons.
Even though the book was released in 1605 by Miguel de Cervantes? His book is viewed as the most influential work of literature from the Spanish golden age and possibly the entire country. A lot of statues with Don Quixote are placed throughout Spain and all over the world. This famous character will never die because he represents hope and the lost faith in humanity we all look for. He’s timeless and just like Arthur Schopenhauer said, “it’s one of the four greatest novels ever”. You would think 500 million copies sold would give you a bigger image.
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1: The Bible – 5 Billion Copies
We hope you don’t think that this list of best selling books would go down without the Holy Bible. Out of all the books in the world that have been written, the Bible is by far the most popular. Because for a long time it was the only thing being printed with the printing press. It’s been translated in all languages and dialects that can be found in most households.
The Quran is also very popular and widely distributed but the Bible and Christianity reached more people. There are Christians in China and African countries, so it’s safe to say that it’s the most popular religion in the world. Since the Holy Bible has been around for so many years. The fact the church distributes plenty of copies to people? It makes it hard to count all of the bibles that have been distributed so far.
The Guinness world record book said that over 5 billion copies have been sold. There are chances that the numbers are much higher. Certainly, the Bible was all of its versions and edits is one book that has power, influence and can change a man’s thinking process. There have been wars and mass killings made in the name of God and the Bible. But we’re curious to see how it will survive in the years to come given that people are less religious these days.
On the flip side, the Quran is also massively distributed across the world among Muslims and libraries. But again the problem of unreported copies from multiple publishers or synagogues does exist. Since there are no official numbers. It’s safe to say that more than 3 Billion copies of the Quran have been sold or distributed across the world to Muslims.
Another important book is the Vedas, the holy book of Hinduism. One of the oldest scriptures in the world. The Vedas is a collection of four books. It can be originally found at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in Pune India. They are now a UNESCO memory of the world heritage. These scriptures have been transmitted for over hundreds of years verbally. A lot of them burned during the religious wars. It’s complicated to estimate how many copies have been distributed. Most sources assume that around 1 billion of them exist. Even though they are hard to read or understand due to the old Sanskrit language and the lack of Gurus available to interpret them.
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Bonus Mention: Agatha Christie “And Then There Were None” – 100 Million Copies Also in the Best Selling Books
For our bonus book, we took a lot of good best selling books into consideration and it was quite a tough choice. It was a tie between The Hobbit, Harry Potter or Lolita some really good classic books. In the end, a fourth option came in and out numbered them. That was a book most of you probably read or at least heard about “and then there were none” by Agatha Christie. This book is definitely a great mystery story with thrilling kills and characters. The book follows her signature style of writing. Where the mystery is kept until the very end of the book. Often the killer or the suspect is not the one you thought it would be.
It’s similar to Sherlock Holmes or her signature detective Hercule Poirot. The short story is about 10 people that are lured to an island. Apparently was nothing in common and then one by one they’re killed off by a mysterious killer that doesn’t seem to be present. In the end, everything becomes clear but the thrilling way she keeps people hanging on to every page is amazing. That’s why it sold over 100 million copies worldwide. It’s one of the best selling books of all time. Variations of the book can be found for as little as $2 on Amazon or originally titled versions “Ten Little Niggers” for more than that.
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Now, folks, this is the end of our list of the top 10 best selling books in history. Along with some of the greatest authors of all time. It kind of got us wanting to read some more and discover other authors but until we need other great best selling books to read we realize we mentioned two world-famous series in this Top List “Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings.” We’re curious to find out which one is your favorite? Are you guys Harry Potter fans or Lord of the Rings fans? Let’s see which one wins, leave us your answers in the comments section below. Thank you for spending some time with us.