20 best-selling books of all time

20 best-selling books of all time

In simple term, one could say a best-selling book refers to a book the sold better than other books. You’re indeed right if you say that, however, a lot of factors goes into determining a best-selling book.

In fact, few years ago people had pejorative term of what a best-selling book should be — suggesting it should be a type of book that should offer a reasonable amount literary value to the reader.

In 2021, a best-selling book is determined by the number of hits a book makes on the major bestsellers lists— for example printed in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, New York Times, or Publisher’s Weekly.

They also factor in the estimated number of copies sold of each book by the author. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

Sales estimates for other printed religious texts include at least 800 million copies for the Qur’an and 190 million copies for the Book of Mormon.

Among non religious texts, the Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung has estimates of 1 billion in distribution.

Sales numbers for these books are nearly impossible to track because many are given away by churches or governments.

Plus, these kinds of book may be produced by many different and unassociated publishers, in some cases over many centuries, many of them unreported.

For these reasons, major religious and political texts are not listed here, but we can all agree that they are among the top selling books of all-time.

Here are the top 20 best-selling books of all time.

RankBookAuthorEstimated sales
1.Don QuixoteMiguel de Cervantes500 million
2.A Tale of Two CitiesCharles Dickens200 million
3.The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien150 million
4.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s StoneJ. K. Rowling120 million
5.The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry100 million
6.Dream of the Red ChamberCao Xueqin100 million
7.The HobbitJ. R. R. Tolkien100 million
8.And Then There Were NoneAgatha Christie100 million
9.The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeC. S. Lewis85 million
10.She: A History of AdventureH. Rider Haggard83 million
11.The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio)Carlo Collodi80 million
12.The Da Vinci CodeDan Brown80 million
13.Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsJ. K. Rowling77 million
14.Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanJ. K. Rowling65 million
15.Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireJ. K. Rowling65 million
16.Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixJ. K. Rowling65 million
17.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceJ. K. Rowling65 million
18.Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsJ. K. Rowling65 million
19.The Alchemist (O Alquimista)Paulo Coelho65 million
20.The Catcher in the RyeJ. D. Salinger65 million