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Top 10 Best Selling Books of All Time


Reading books is one of the most common hobbies all over the world. One of the most important reasons people decide to read is to relax and learn something new. So, during the leisure period, people want to read books and fulfill their desire. When you want to start reading books, sometimes you would be interested to know which books have sold the most throughout history? The answer isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Older books that have been published for centuries have insufficient data, and a lack of copyright can allow for dozens of publishers to enter the field, making numbers even more difficult to count. Then there’s the question of what counts as a single book—do you count The Lord of the Rings, for instance, as one item even though it was published as three separate books.

However, we have prepared a list of the top 10 best-selling books of all time. This article provides lists of best-selling individual books to date and in any language. The word best selling refers to the estimated number of copies sold of each book rather than the number printed or currently owned. In this list, the comics and textbooks are not included. The books are listed according to the highest sales estimate as reported in reliable, independent sources.

10 Best Selling Books of All time

#1 Don Quixote (500 million copies sold)
Written by Miguel de Cervantes
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version | Audio Book

#2 A Tale of Two Cities (200 million copies sold)
Written by Charles Dickens
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version | Audio Book

#3 The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold)
Written by J.R.R. Tolkien
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version | Audio Book

#4 The Little Prince (142 million copies sold)
Written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
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#5 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (120 million copies sold)
Written by J.K. Rowling
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#6 The Hobbit (100 million copies sold)
Written by J.R.R. Tolkien
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version | Audio Book

#7 The Dream of the Red Chamber (100 million copies sold)
Written by Cao Xueqin
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#8 And Then There Were None (100 million copies sold)
Written by Agatha Christie
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#9 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (90 million copies sold)
Written by C.S. Lewis
Buy from Amazon: Print | Kindle Version | Audio Book

#10 She: A History of Adventure (88 million copies sold)
Written by H. Rider Haggard
Buy from Amazon: Print Kindle Version | Audio Book

You can get a short review and some basic information about each book in the following section.

Don Quixote Written by Miguel de Cervantes
Photo: Don Quixote Written by Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes. It was originally published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615, and considered a founding work of western literature. It is often labeled as “the first modern European novel, and it is considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written.

The plot revolves around the adventures of a noble from La Mancha named Alonso Quixano. He recruits a simple farmer, Sancho Panza, as his squire, who often employs a unique, earthy wit in dealing with Don Quixote’s rhetorical monologues on knighthood, already considered old-fashioned at the time. In the first part of the book, Don Quixote does not see the world for what it is and prefers to imagine that he is living out a knightly story.

The book had a major influence on the literary community, as evidenced by direct references in Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The 19th-century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer cited Don Quixote as one of the four greatest novels ever written.

Many critics came to view the work as a tragedy in which Don Quixote’s idealism and nobility are viewed by the post-chivalric world as insane and are defeated and rendered useless by common reality. By the 20th century, the novel had come to occupy a canonical space as one of the foundations of modern literature. You can watch the following video to know why you should read Don Quixote?

Tale of Two Cities
Photo: A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities is Charles Dickens’s great historical novel, set against the violent upheaval of the French Revolution. The most famous and perhaps the most popular of his works compresses an event of immense complexity to the scale of family history, with a cast of characters that includes a bloodthirsty ogress and an antihero as believably flawed as any in modern fiction.

Though the least typical of the author’s novels, A Tale of Two Cities still underscores many of his enduring themes – imprisonment, injustice, social anarchy, resurrection, and the renunciation that fosters renewal.


The Lord of the Rings
Photo: The Lord of the Rings

One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them. In ancient times, the Elven-smiths crafted the Rings of Power, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the one ring, filling it with his power to rule all others. But the one ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages, it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. From Sauron’s fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings, but he searched for the One ring to complete his dominion. When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday, he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.

The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider. You can watch the following video to get a review of the book.

The Little Prince
Photo: The Little Prince

Few stories are as widely read and universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. Richard Howard’s translation of the beloved classic beautifully reflects Saint-Exupéry’s unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this edition has been restored to match in detail and color Saint-Exupéry’s original artwork. Combining Richard Howard’s translation with restored original art, this definitive English-language edition of The Little Prince will capture the hearts of readers of all ages.

You can watch the following video to know the book summary and review on The Little Prince.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Photo: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch, and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason … HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!

You will truly love all of the characters and feel the entire cast is well done. Most people love the Weasley twins, Hagrid and Professor McGonagall.

Photo: The Hobbit

In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular Middle-earth world recounts a reluctant hero’s adventures, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.


The Dream of the Red Chamber
Photo: The Dream of the Red Chamber

The basic storyline of A Dream of Red Mansions focuses primarily on the Chia family. There are two dukes in the family — Duke Ning-Kuo and Duke Jung-Kuo. Chia Fu, the elder grandson of Duke Ning-Kuo, dies young, so the second grandson, Chia-Ching, succeeds in the title after his father, Chia Tai-Hua. However, since his heart is set on religious life, he relinquishes his title to Chia Chen. He devotes his time and energy to religious study, hoping to become immortal after death.

Unlike his father, Chia Chen is a libertine, indulging himself in a vibrant lifestyle. For example, he has an illicit affair with his son’s wife, Chin Ko-ching. Duke Jung-Kuo’s son Chia Tai-shan marries the daughter of Marquis Shih of Chinling (Duchess Chia née Shih, Lady Dowager). They have two sons, Chia Sheh and Chia Cheng, and a daughter, Chia Min. Chia Sheh has a son, Chia Lien, whose wife is Wang Hsi-Feng, and their daughter is Chiao-Chieh. Chia Sheh has a daughter, Ying-Chun, by a concubine.

Chia Cheng marries Lady Wang, and they have two sons, Chia Chu and Chia Pao-yu, and a daughter, Tan-Chun. Chia Chu dies young, leaving his wife, Li Wan, and Chia Lan, behind. Chia Pao-yu is born with a piece of precious jade in his mouth — the Jade of Spiritual Understanding. Chia Min is married to Lin Ju-hai but dies young, leaving a daughter, Lin Tai-yu, with her father, Lin Juhai. Upon her grandmother Lady Dowager’s invitation, Tai-yu comes to live with the Chia family. Lady Dowager dotes on both Pao-yu and Tai-yu.

As the Chia family is a wealthy and powerful, aristocratic family and the household is vast, Aunt Hsueh and her daughter, Hsueh Pao-chai, come to join the household. Pao-yu loves both girls equally in his innocent and naive fashion, although his strongest attachment is to Tai-yu. When Pao-yu’s sister Yuan-Chun is chosen as an Imperial concubine (Imperial Consort), the Chia family grows even more affluent and influential. They build Grand View Garden (Ta-Kuan Garden) to honor and entertain Yuan-Chun when she comes back for a visit; it is a vast, beautiful setting where the whole family can dine together in great happiness.

And Then There Were None
Photo: And Then There Were None

First, there were ten—a curious assortment of strangers summoned as weekend guests to a little private island off the coast of Devon. Their host, an eccentric millionaire unknown to all of them, is nowhere to be found. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they’re unwilling to reveal—and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion:

“Ten little boys went out to dine; One choked his little self, and then there were nine. Nine little boys sat up very late; One overslept himself, and then there were eight. Eight little boys traveling in Devon; One said he’d stay there; then there were seven. Seven little boys chopping up sticks; One chopped himself in half, and then there were six. Six little boys playing with a hive; A bumblebee stung one, and then there were five. Five little boys going in for law; One got in Chancery, and then there were four. Four little boys going out to sea; A red herring swallowed one, and then there were three. Three little boys were walking in the zoo; A big bear hugged one and then two. Two little boys were sitting in the sun; One got frizzled up, and then there was one. One little boy left all alone; He went out and hanged himself, and then there were none.”

When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. One by one, they fall prey. Before the weekend is out, there will be none. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale? Only the dead are above suspicion.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Photo: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place is frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first, her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter, and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia, they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

She: A History of Adventure
Photo: She: A History of Adventure

The book is the story of Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey and their journey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. The journey is triggered by a mysterious package left to Leo by his father, opened on his 25th birthday; the package contains an ancient shard of pottery and several documents, suggesting an ancient mystery about the Vincey family. Holly and Leo eventually arrive in eastern Africa. They encounter a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen, Ayesha, who reigns as the all-powerful “She” or “She-who-must-be-obeyed” and who has a mysterious connection to young Leo.

The story expresses numerous racial and evolutionary conceptions of the late Victorians, especially notions of degeneration and racial decline prominent during the fin de siècle. In the figure of She, the novel notably explored themes of female authority and feminine behavior. It has received praise and criticism alike for its representation of womanhood. You can find the summary of the book in the following video.

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Last update on 2024-04-12 .

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