25 Best-Selling Books of All Time and The Number of Books Sold

There are bad books, probably as much as there are good books, but there are great books that have sold millions of copies across the globe. The best-selling books of all time cut across various genres from fantasy to mystery, adventure, magic realism, and what have you. According to multiple records, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time, with over 5 billion copies sold. Other religious books like the Book of the Mormon and the Quran have sold at least 120 and 800 million copies, respectively.

But those are not regular books like the Harry Potter series, which has sold more than 500 million copies. Other best-selling book series include Goosebumps by R. L. Stine, Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner, and Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain. These series have sold no fewer than 350, 300, and 260 million copies in the order they were listed. However, the following is a list of best-selling individual books.

Must-Read Best-Selling Books of All Time

1. A Tale of Two Cities

  • Author: Charles Dickens
  • Number of Copies Sold: 200 Million
  • Publication Date: May 27, 2003 (First Published on November 26, 1859)
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics
  • Print Length: 544 Pages
  • Language: English

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer who lived from 1812 to 1870. It has been over a century and a half since he passed, but he is still remembered for his hundreds of short stories, five novellas, and 15 novels. Out of them all, A Tale of Two Cities, set in London and Paris, has stood the test of time and is easily the most successful piece of the late author thought to be the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. The historical novel was published in installments for 31 weeks from April 30 to November 26, 1859, before it was published as a book.

While it is widely believed that A Tale of Two Cities is one of the best-selling books of all time, some sources have claimed it is the best-selling novel in history. These sources claim that the book has sold more than 200 million copies. One of only two works of Dickens that are historical fiction, the book follows a brilliant physician named Alexandre Manette, who had been imprisoned for 18 years, and the life he forged with his daughter in London after he regained freedom. The book has been adapted into several films of the same title.

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2. The Little Prince

  • Author:  Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Translator: Richard Howard
  • Number of Copies Sold: 200 Million
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2000 (First Published on April 6, 1943)
  • Publisher: Mariner Books
  • Print Length: 96 Pages
  • Language: English (Originally Written in French)

The Little Prince is a must-read for everyone. The novella was written by one of France’s most admired literary figures, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It has been translated into as many as 301 languages and has sold over 200 million copies. The Little Prince has been adapted into many media and art forms. Though it was first published in April 1943, it remains a relevant book recommended for children and adults.

Even as the book has the typical style of children’s book, it has solid themes about adults, human nature, love, loss, and friendship. Starting with a sentiment that revolves around the inability of adults to perceive what’s important, The Little Prince follows a young prince as he visits various planets in a story that explores what one ought to make a priority. It is an entertaining and meaningful book to read, little wonder it won the prestigious Retro Hugo Award for Best Novella in 2019.

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3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 120 Million
  • Publication Date: August 15, 2018 (First Published on June 26, 1997)
  • Publisher: Educa Books
  • Print Length: 368 Page
  • Language: English

Best-selling books of all time

J. K. Rowling is a British author; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is her debut novel, the first book of the Harry Potter series, which is estimated to have sold 500 million copies across the globe. First published in June 1997 by Bloomsbury, the book has received literary awards that are quite many to count, including the Nene Award (2000), Grand Canyon Reader Award for Teen Book (2000), American Booksellers Book Of The Year Award for Children (1999), British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year (1998), and Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature (2008).

The fantasy novel follows Harry Potter, an ordinary boy living an ordinary life until his eleventh birthday when he met an owl and found himself at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he uncovers more of his magical heritage, it brings him close to facing the dark wizard that killed his parents. This book was banned in some countries over claims that it promotes witchcraft, but it hasn’t stopped it from being one of the best-selling books of all time, with about 120 million copies sold.

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4. The Hobbit (There and Back Again)

  • Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Number of Copies Sold: 100 Million
  • Publication Date: September 21, 2007 (First Published in 1937)
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English

Most people would agree that The Hobbit is one of the best children’s fantasy novels ever written. Originally published in 1937, the book received vast positive reviews and has had a far-reaching legacy. It has been adapted for other media, from film and television to video games and visual media. Given that and the many awards the book has received, one can see why The Hobbit is often described as the original fantasy book. The book received the 1990 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award for Inklings Studies, the Keith Barker Millennium Book Award, and the Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers in 1997.

Set in a fictional universe, it tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who is on a quest to win some portion of the treasure guarded by Smaug, a dragon. The timeless classic features other interesting characters like Gandalf the wizard and Gollum. The book has been translated into at least 50 languages and has sold 100 million copies. The Hobbit is the prelude of The Lord of The Rings, a series of three books: The Fellowship of the RingThe Two Towers, and Return of the King. Each of these books has sold millions of copies, but it is hard to be precise. Hence, they are excluded from this list.

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5. Dream of the Red Chamber

  • Author: Cao Xueqin
  • Number of Copies Sold: 100 Million
  • Publication Date: June 7, 2015 (First Published in Mid-18th Century)
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Print Length: 496 Pages
  • Language: English (Originally Written in Chinese)

First published sometime in the mid-18th century, Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin is one of such books that would leave you wondering what other great novel you are yet to read. Considered one of the classic Chinese Novels, the family saga novel stands out for its beautiful use of poetry and depicting Chinese material culture: from cuisine to painting, festivities, medicine, and what have you. Also regarded as a portrait of one of the world’s great civilizations, the book, which was written during the Qing dynasty, has a unique love story that resonates among some readers as the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet.

With as many as 40 major characters and more than 400 additional ones, it tells the story of a living, ancient Stone that quests for the pleasures of earth and is granted the chance to live amongst humans as Jia Baoyu. Without a doubt, this is one of the best-selling books of all time you wouldn’t regret reading.

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6. And Then There Were None

  • Author: Agatha Christie
  • Number of Copies Sold: 100 Million
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2019 (First Published on November 6, 1939)
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English

And Then There Were None isn’t only one of the best-selling books of all time but also the best-selling mystery novel in history. It was written by late English writer Agatha Christie, who is considered the best-selling fiction writer of all time. She was known for her many detective novels and several short stories, out of which she reportedly stated that this mystery novel was the most difficult to write. The book has been adapted into at least a dozen movies, including a 1945 American film of the same title and a 1965 British film directed by George Pollock titled Ten Little Indians.

The book tells the story of some strangers invited as guests over a weekend to a private island. They honored the invite, but the eccentric millionaire that was to host them was nowhere to be found. It happens that each of these strangers has a wicked past, and the invite is unto death. They all have to pay the ultimate prize for their sins.

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7. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

  • Author: C. S. Lewis
  • Number of Copies Sold: 85 Million
  • Publication Date: January 1, 1998 (First Published on October 16, 1950)
  • Publisher: Collins
  • Print Length: 206 Pages
  • Language: English

Best-selling novels of all time

The original first book in the publication order of The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a children’s fantasy novel written by late British author Clive Staples Lewis. The book has enjoyed positive reviews since it was first published in October 1950 and continues to get prestigious recognition as one of the best-selling books of all time. For instance, Time magazine listed the book among its 100 best English-language novels that have been published since 1923 and on its 100 best Young-Adult Books of All Time.

This fantasy novel has bagged multiple literary awards, including the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award of 1962 and the Keith Barker Millennium Children’s Book Awards. It was also nominated for the Retro Hugo Award under the Best Novel category in 2001. The book follows Lucy, Edmund, Susan, and Peter, who discovers a wardrobe that leads to the land of Narnia, where they join forces with a lion named Aslan to save the land from an evil White Witch.

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8. She: A History of Adventure

  • Author: H. Rider Haggard
  • Number of Copies Sold: 83 Million
  • Publication Date: October 22, 1998 (First Published in 1886)
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Print Length: 384 Pages
  • Language: English

The first book of the Ayesha series, She: A History of Adventure is a classic adventure novel written by late English writer Sir Henry Rider Haggard. The book set in Cambridge and East Africa was first published as a serial story in a British weekly illustrated newspaper called The Graphic between October 1886 and January 1887. Also categorized as an adventure, romance, and fantasy, She, in a first-person narrative, tells the story of Horace Holly and Leo Vincey, his ward. The two embarks on a journey to a lost kingdom in Africa, where they come across a primitive race ruled by a strange white queen named Ayesha, and she must always be obeyed.

It is said that the author derived his inspiration for the book from what he experienced when he lived in South Africa for seven years working for the British colonial administration. The book received positive reviews, which it has retained to date. It is regarded as one of the most influential novels in modern literature and has been translated into as many as 44 languages.

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9. The Adventures of Pinocchio

  • Author: Carlo Collodi
  • Number of Copies Sold: 80 Million
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2000 (First Published in 1881)
  • Publisher: Giunti
  • Print Length: 255 Pages
  • Language: English (Originally Written In Italian)

This children’s fantasy novel is also one of the best-selling books of all time. Like the previous book, it was first published in serial form as The Story of a Puppet in a weekly magazine, beginning from July 1881. By February 1883, it was published as a book, and it subsequently found its way to the global scene. Often counted among the greatest works of Italian literature, the book has inspired numerous movies and TV shows. It is believed that it has been translated to at least 260 languages and has sold up to 80 million copies across the world.

The Adventures of Pinocchio tells the story of an animated marionette and his poor woodcarver father, respectively, named Pinocchio and Geppetto. It primarily follows the mischievous adventures of the marionette, who grows wiser through the misadventures that made him human, a reward for his good deeds.

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10. The Da Vinci Code

  • Author: Dan Brown
  • Number of Copies Sold: 80 Million
  • Publication Date: March 31, 2009 (First Published on March 18, 2003)
  • Publisher: Anchor
  • Print Length: 597 Pages
  • Language: English

Best-selling Books of all time

Daniel Gerhard Brown, famed as Dan Brown, is an American author celebrated for his thriller novels. The Da Vinci Code is his second book in the Robert Langdon series. Preceded by Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code is followed by The Lost Symbol, and then Inferno and Origin. As the novel explored an alternative religious history that suggests Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene were lovers, it was massively denounced and criticized by the church, but that wouldn’t stop it from becoming one of the best-selling books of all time.

The Da Vinci Code has been translated into no fewer than 44 languages and has sold at least 80 million copies across the globe. It was adapted into a 2006 American film of the same title and has received multiple awards like the Missouri Gateway Readers Award for Adult (2006), Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction (2004), British Book Award for Book of the Year (2005), Teen Buckeye Book Award (2005), and much more.

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11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 77 Million
  • Publication Date: July 1, 1999 (First Published on July 2, 1998)
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Language: English

The second book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets follows the young wizard in his second year at Hogwarts School of witchcraft and Wizardry. As the school was subjected to attacks after a warning that the Chamber of Secrets had been opened, Harry and his friends took up the responsibility of investigating the attacks as he was suspected of causing the havoc.

The book was met with widespread acclaim and has received multiple awards over the years. For instance, it won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for 9–11 years in 1998, the British Book Award the following year, Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers in 2006; Golden Archer Award for Middle/Junior High, Colorado Blue Spruce Young Adult Book Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature all in 2008.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was adapted into a 2002 fantasy film of the same title, which became the fifth highest-grossing film ever at the time. It has been translated into 72 languages and has sold 77 million copies.

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12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million
  • Publication Date: May 1, 2004 (First Published on July 8, 1999)
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Print Length: 560 Pages
  • Language: English

The third book of the famous series contributed in no small manner to making Harry Potter the best-selling book series in history. When it was first published by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom on July 8, 1999, it reportedly sold 68,000 copies in three days and is now believed to have sold at least 65 million copies worldwide. The fantasy novel counted among the best-selling books of all time follows Harry the young wizard and his friends in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Alongside Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry investigated Sirius Black, who had escaped from the wizard prison.

Like the previous books of the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has also bagged multiple literary awards, including a nomination for Hugo Award’s Best Novel in 2000. It won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel that same year and the Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers the previous year. The book also received the Whitbread Award for Children’s Book of the Year in 1999, amongst other coveted gongs and recognition.

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13. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2000 (First Published on July 8, 2000)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Print Length: 752 Pages
  • Language: English

best-selling books of all time

Like the third Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was also nominated for Hugo Award’s Best Novel, and it won the esteemed gong; this was in 2001. That same year, it received the Audie Award for Solo Narration – Male and West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award (WAYRBA) for Younger Readers. Disregarding those, it also won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature in 2008, the Golden Archer Award for Middle/Junior High, and the Indian Paintbrush Book Award in 2002.

This book continues to tell the story of Harry Potter, who is at this point, in his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As much as he strives to stay normal, events continue to set him apart in ways that can be deadly. This is the only Harry Potter book to win a Hugo Award, and it was also adapted into a 2005 film of the same title.

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14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million
  • Publication Date: July 1, 2003 (First Published on June 21, 2003)
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Print Length: 896 Pages
  • Language: English

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book of the Harry Potter series and one of the best-selling books of all time. The longest of the book series, the fantasy novel reportedly sold five million copies within the first 24 hours it was published. It is believed to have now sold as many as 65 million copies. Although it didn’t get a nomination for Hugo Award, it received other notable literary awards like the Bram Stoker Award for Works for Young Readers (2003), Anthony Award for Young Adult (2004), Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year (2004), Books I Loved Best Yearly (BILBY) Awards for Older Readers (2004) and much more.

Keeping up with the Harry Potter tale, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix follows the young wizard through his struggles in his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But none of these compares to the looming terror expected with the sly return of Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord that must not be named.

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15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2005 (First Published on July 16, 2005)
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Print Length: 672 Pages
  • Language: English

The sixth and penultimate book of the Harry Potter series is also counted among the best-selling books of all time. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was anticipated so much that it sold a record nine million copies within the first 24 hours it was released. The book explores the past of Harry’s nemesis, the Dark Lord, alongside his preparations with his mentor Albus Dumbledore for a final battle against the Lord. Of course, all of the events happened in Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts.

As it is with the previous books of the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was adapted into a 2009 fantasy film of the same title directed by David Yates. The novel was nominated for Locus Award under the Best Young Adult Novel category in 2006. In the same year, it won the British Book of the Year Award and the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year.

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16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

  • Author: J. K. Rowling
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2007 (First Published on July 21, 2007)
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Print Length: 784 Pages
  • Language: English

Best-selling books of all time

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series. Also a best-seller, the book broke sales records when it dropped. Reports show that it sold 2.65 million copies in the United Kingdom and 8.3 million in the United States within 24 hours after it was released. With that, it attained a Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling book of fiction in 24 hours and the fastest-selling book in history. In the days, months, and years that followed, Deathly Hallows has sold many more copies, so much that it is now estimated that at least 65 million copies of the book have been sold.

As one would expect, a film adaptation of the novel followed, but it was released in two parts this time. The first titled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, was released sometime in November 2010, and the second followed in July 2011: they were both directed by David Yates. The highly anticipated book received positive reviews as it resolved many mysteries of the series and brought the tale to a satisfying end with a thrilling story that revolves around Harry Potter and his friends working round the clock to defeat Lord Voldemort with the help of Professor Dumbledore.

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17. The Catcher in the Rye

  • Author: J. D. Salinger
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2001 (First Published on July 16, 1951)
  • Publisher: Bay Back Books
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English

Jerome David Salinger was an American author who passed on January 27, 2010. He was famed for his 1951 coming-of-age novel, The Catcher in the Rye, and is still remembered for the book, which happens to be one of the best-selling books of all time. Time Magazine named the book on its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. A National Book Award Finalist for Fiction (1952), Catcher in the Rye was nominated in 2010 for Teen Read Award under the Best All-Time-Fave category.

Published to immediate critical acclaim on July 16, 1951, some reports claim that about a million copies of this book are sold each year. And since it was released, it is believed that at least 65 million copies of the work, which has been translated into many languages, have been sold. The novel follows 16-year-old Holden Caulfield, who left his prep school in Pennsylvania to live in New York City, where he seeks the truth with so much angst and rebellion that he becomes exhausted as much as he is unstable emotionally.

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18. The Alchemist

  • Author: Paulo Coelho
  • Number of Copies Sold: 65 Million Copies
  • Publication Date: April 15, 2014 (First Published in 1988)
  • Publisher: HarperOne
  • Print Length: 208 Pages
  • Language: English (Originally Written in Portuguese)

A member of the esteemed Brazillian Academy of Letters, Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian writer known across the globe for his fantasy novel, The Alchemist, which was first published sometime in 1988. The novel is counted amongst the best-selling books of all time: while it has been reported on several quarters that 65 million copies of the book have been sold thus far, some sources claim that The Alchemist has sold over 150 million copies. One remarkable fact about this fine piece of literature is that it was written in only two weeks. According to the author, this was possible because the book was already written in his soul.

Touted as the most translated book by a living author, the book had a slow start. It was so bad that Paulo had to go from door to door to get people to buy the book as he was convinced it was a good read. The allegorical novel tells the story of a young Andalusian shepherd on a journey to the pyramids of Egypt following a series of dreams about finding a treasure there. The book has won several coveted literary awards, and Will Smith announced in July 2021 that he’s working on making a movie out of the book.

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19. The Bridges of Madison County

  • Author: Robert James Waller
  • Number of Copies Sold: 60 Million
  • Publication Date: September 1, 1995 (First Published on April 13, 1992)
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English

Robert Jame Waller passed on in March 2017. He was a photographer and musician but was famous across the globe as an American writer, thanks to his 1992 book The Bridges of Madison County – a romance novella that became a global phenomenon. The book is one of the best-selling books of the 20th century, and the fact that it has sold as many as 60 million copies thus far makes it one of the best-selling books of all time as well. Upon its release, the book spent 164 consecutive weeks (over three years) on the New York Times Bestseller list.

The Bridges of Madison County was adapted into a 1995 American romantic drama film of the same title directed by Clint Eastwood. Like other books on this list, it has received multiple literary awards, including the Audie Award for Romance (2015) and the American Booksellers Book of The Year Award for Adult Trade (1993). It tells the story of an Italian-American World War II bride named Francesca Johnson and her affair with a free-spirited photographer, Robert Kincaid. It is an enchanting tale of true love that was not meant to be.

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20. One Hundred Years of Solitude

  • Author: Gabriel García Márquez
  • Number of Copies Sold: 50 Million
  • Publication Date: February 21, 2006 (First Published in May 1967)
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • Print Length: 417 Pages
  • Language: English (Originally Written in Spanish)

best-selling books of all time

The Latin American Boom became a significant moment in history as it saw the works of several young Latin American novelists circulate in Europe and indeed the world at large. Gabriel García Márquez’s magic realism novel One Hundreds Years of Solitude was one of the books that defined the era. The late Colombian writer has many acclaimed short stories, and non-fiction works to his name but was mostly celebrated for Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981), Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), and of course, One Hundred Years of Solitude which has thus far been translated into at least 46 languages.

The book is believed to have sold no fewer than 50 million copies and is often counted among the finest works in Hispanic literature. The landmark novel follows the Buendia family in a story that conveys the conflict between the quest to find love and the desire to live a life of solitude. Among other things that stand this piece out, the fact that it compresses centuries of historical events while telling an enchanting story is vastly appreciated. One Hundred Years of Solitude won several literary awards, including the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger for Roman in 1969 and the Premio Internacional de Novela Rómulo Gallegos in 1972.

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21. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care

  • Author: Benjamin Spock
  • Number of Copies Sold: 50 Million
  • Publication Date: April 23, 2013 (First Published in 1946)
  • Publisher: Ishi Press
  • Print Length: 540 Pages
  • Language: English

Best-selling Book of all time

Unlike the rest of the book listed thus far, this isn’t a fictitious prose narrative but a manual book. Benjamin Spock was an American pediatrician who gained global fame for this book which reportedly revolutionized the process and way of bringing up a child in the generation after the Second World War. The book has been translated into at least 39 languages and is considered one of the best-selling books of the 20th century. Reports have it that it sold 500 thousand copies in six months after it was released and had sold 50 million copies when Spock passed in March 1998.

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care discusses various topics on child-rearing from infancy to teenage years. Being a pediatrician, the author started working on the book after he observed that the common pediatric care methods were insensitive to the emotional needs of children and were quite cruel. Through his viral book, he advocated for parents to be flexible with child-rearing and deal with each child as an individual.

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22. The Name of the Rose

  • Author: Umberto Eco
  • Number of Copies Sold: 50 Million
  • Publication Date: September 28, 1994 (First Published in 1980)
  • Publisher: Harvest Books
  • Print Length: 502 Pages
  • Language: English (Originally Written in Italian)

Umberto Eco was many things, but he was mostly known as a novelist and for his 1980 debut novel, The Name of the Rose. A historical fiction and murder mystery, the book originally written in Italian was translated into English sometime in 1983, and it went a long way in helping it become one of the best-selling books of all time. It is estimated that the novel has sold over 50 million copies across the globe. Set in 1327 in an Italian monastery, the book follows Brother William of Baskerville, who is on a mission to investigate the suspicion of heresy amongst the Benedictines.

But then, seven bizarre deaths stole his attention and forces him to dig deep into the secrets of the wealthy Italian abbey. The book was adapted into a 1986 film of the same title starring Sean Connery as William of Baskerville. It has also been adapted into a drama television miniseries eponymously titled The Name of the Rose. Amongst other literary awards, the novel won the Strega Prize in 1981 and Prix Medicis Étranger the following year.

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23. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

  • Author: Lew Wallace
  • Number of Copies Sold: 50 Million
  • Publication Date: October 18, 2007 (First Published on November 12, 1880)
  • Publisher: Norilana Books
  • Print Length: 620 Pages
  • Language: English

Best-selling Book of all time

Lewis Wallace was a Union General in the American Civil War and an author who published several biographies and novels. Still, none is as famous as his historical adventure novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The piece is touted as the most influential Christian book of the 19th century and one of the best-selling books of all time. Even though its sales were slow after it was released as it sold only 2,800 copies in its first seven months, it gradually picked up to the point that it sold an average of 1,200 copies per month.

Sales record continued to climb, and within 20 years of its publication, only the Bible had sold more copies than it in America. The movie adaptation of the book in 1959 helped to increase its sales; the film, Ben-Hur, was a massive hit that went on to win a record 11 Academy Awards. The historical fiction tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince enslaved by the Roman who later became a Christian, redeeming himself and his family.

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24. Lolita

  • Author: Vladimir Nabokov
  • Number of Copies Sold: 50 Million
  • Publication Date: March 13, 1989 (First Published in September 1955)
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 317 Pages
  • Language: English

The most popular work of late Russian-American novelist, Vladimir Nabokov, you will find Lolita in several best book lists like The Big Read, Time’s 100 Best Novels, Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century, and much more. Several publishing houses turned down the book’s manuscript, and it was criticized for being too salacious when it was eventually published.

Regardless, its sales record soared, with over 100,000 copies sold in its first three weeks. Over the years, Lolita gained more appreciation and has sold at least 50 million copies. Now considered a classic, it tells the story of a middle-aged literature professor who falls in love with Dolores Haze, a 12-year-old girl he would sexually molest after becoming her stepfather. The book was a National Book Award Finalist for Fiction in 1959.

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25. Black Beauty

  • Author: Anna Sewell
  • Number of Copies Sold: 50 Million
  • Publication Date: March 1, 2003 (First Published On November 24, 1877)
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
  • Print Length: 272 Pages
  • Language: English

Best-selling books of all time

Black Beauty is not only one of the most successful novels for children but also one of the best-selling books of all time. It is the only published work of late English novelist Anna Sewell. She passed on about five months after Black Beauty was released, but she witnessed the success of her creation as the book was released to immediate positive reviews.

Considered in some quarters as the most significant and influential anti-cruelty novel of all time, the book tells the story of a fine black horse that went from being a carriage horse for wealthy people to doing humiliating works after he sustained a knee injury. It remains a story that resonates with many people as it went beyond advocating for animal welfare to explore the importance of treating people with kindness and dignity. It’s a must-read for your kids as much as it is for adults.

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