best selling books in history
Charlotte s Web 50 million
. A childrens classic especially after being made into a film by the same name, Charlottes Web tells the story of young pig Wilbur and his spider friend Charlotte who spins her web to convince the farmer to keep him alive. Written by E.B. White, the book is listed as the bestselling childrens paperback in history by Publishers Weekly.
The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care 50 million
. One of only three nonnovels on this list, The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock unrelated to the Star Trek character of the same last name was published in 1946. The bestselling book in America during the 20th century, this tome was written for parents, especially mothers, as a manual on child care. PostWorld War II, Baby Boom mothers found great relief in Spocks uncomplicated, supportive tone.
The Mark of Zorro 50 million
. Johnston McCulleys classic The Mark of Zorro has become a cult icon in pop culture. The American equivalent of Robin Hood, Zorro is the secret identity of Californian noble Don Diego de la Vega who defends the common man and humiliates corrupt officials. A widely popular 1920 film solidified Zorros place in our psyche as a masked crusader of justice.
Anne of Green Gables 50 million
. The most popular book written by a Canadian author, Anne of Green Gables follows the life of 11yearold Anne Shirley with her adopted parents who originally wanted a boy. Selling over 50 million copies, Lucy Maud Montgomerys book has become one of the bestselling books in history. Montgomery drew on the popular formula Ann orphan stories of her time to create Anne and used her own childhood on Prince Edward Island for the setting.
Ben Hur A Tale of the Christ 50 million
. The first fictional book to be blessed by a Pope Leo XIII, BenHur A Tale of Christ recounts the story of fictional Jewish prince Judah BenHur, enslaved by Roman rulers. Vowing revenge on the Romans, Judah becomes a charioteer and Christian, all while living in Jerusalem where Jesus Christ was emerging at the same time. Lew Wallaces knockout novel, BenHur is known as the most influential Christian book of the 19th century and won 11 Academy Awards
Lolita 50 million
. Written by Russiannative Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita was originally written in English before being translated into Russian by the author. Forming a classic part of 20th century literature, the book follows protagonist Humbert Humbert a 38yearold year professor as he develops a ual relationship with his new 12yearold stepdaughter Dolores Haze commonly known by his nickname for her, Lolita. Since then, Lolita has been made into two operas, two ballet
One Hundred Years of Solitude 50 million
. The only Spanish book on this list is Colombian Gabriel Garcia M
Watership Down 50 million
. A fantasy novel with talking rabbits though very different from stories of Brer Rabbit, Watership Down is Englishman Richard Adams flagship novel. The anthropomorphized bunnies journey to find a new home after one of them has a vision their homeland will be destroyed. The story draws parallels between freedom and tyranny as does Orwells Animal Farm and between reason and emotion.
The Eagle Has Landed 50 million
. The best selling spy thriller book on our list and thus in history, Jack Higgins The Eagle Has Landed was published in 1975. The riveting pages follow the mission of a group of German paratroopers and an Irish IRA Irish Republican Army member as they land on the English coast in 1943. Their mission? Kidnap British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Also made into a 1976 film, The Eagle Has Landed is a mustread for any lover of suspense.
The Hite Report 50 million
. Shere Hite revolutionized the lives of women when she published her most famous book in 1976. The Hite Report A Nationwide Study of Female uality was by far the bestselling book in history relating to the often taboo subject of female uality and pleasure. A feminist and educator, Hite interviewed 100,000 women from 14 to 78 years old about their views on , what orgasm truly feels like, and the greatest pleasures and frustrations in their ual liv
The Name of the Rose 50 million
. The Italian bestseller on our list Pinocchio has only sold 35 million copies, Il Nome della Rosa English The Name of the Rose was written by novelist Umberto Eco in 1980. Showing our love for murder mysteries is another, the novel follows William of Baskerville, a Franciscan friar who must find the killer of multiple murders at a Northern Italian monastery. The novel is intriguing for its involvement of semiotics the study of signs and symbols
The Bridges of Madison County 50 million
. Better known by many for its film version, this 1992 novel is one of the 20th centurys bestsellers despite being on the market for less than a decade. Written by Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County depicts the affair between a lonely, married woman in Iowa and a photographer who visits Madison County to take photographs of the areas covered bridges. At over 50 million copies already sold, this book is one of the most rapidly sellin
The Catcher in the Rye 65 million
. A fictional comingofage tale, J.D. Salingers The Catcher in the Rye was one of the most controversial books of the 20th century. An archetype for teenage angst, rebellion, and the search for identity, this novel continues to sell over a quarterofamillion copies annually, many to high school English classes some of which have made the book required reading.
The Alchemist 65 million
. Having sold over 65 million copies, O Alquimista English The Alchemist is the best selling Brazilian book and Portugueselanguage book in history. Published in 1988 by Paolo Coelho, the book follows Andalusian shepherd boy Santiago on his journey to Egypt to find the abstract concept of what he has always wanted to achieve the books primary theme.
Think and Grow Rich 70 million
. Featuring one of only two American authors in the top ten the other is #9, Think and Grow Rich was a selfimprovement book written by Napoleon Hill in 1937. Asked to look at the relationship between individual characteristics and wealth attainment by steel giant Andrew Carnegie, Hill embodied his 13 principles of personal achievement into the book, a hotcake as countries were beginning to emerge from the Great Depression.
The Da Vinci Code 80 million
. The most recently published book in the top ten of the most widely read books in the world, The Da Vinci Code was a global phenomenon in the mid2000s. A mysterydetective novel written by Dan Brown, the book follows main characters Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder at the Louvre and are embroiled in a deeper, sacrilegious called by some groups mystery regarding the Holy Grail and Mary Magdalene.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe 85 million
. Starting a line of primarily British author domination for the remaining places on our list, C.S. Lewis and his fantasy novel The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe come in at #8 with 85 million copies sold. Present in many a high school English class, the novel follows the story of four English children completing their destiny in the land of talking animals and mythical beings. Though the book is only one the first in a sevennovel series, it is
Dream of the Red Chamber 100 million
. The only Chinese book on our list is Cao Xueqins Dream of the Red Chamber . Such a major hit in China, the book even has its own named field of study Redology. Considered to be one of Chinas Four Great Classical Novels, Dream of the Red Chamber is one of the most complex novels ever written with almost 40 major characters and nearly 500 minor characters. Written during the Qing dynasty, the book often employs poetry as it follows the life of two
She A History of Adventure 100 million
. So influential that it has been cited by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung in their writings, She A History of Adventure is H. Rider Haggards most famous work. One of the finest examples of imaginative and imperialist literature, this novel tells the story of two mens trek to a lost kingdom deep in the African continent. The men come across a savage native tribe and their white queen Shewhomustbeobeyed. A bedrock of the Lost World subgen
And Then There Were None 100 million
. Legendary English mystery novelist Agatha Christie wrote the thrilling And Then There Were None, the fifth bestselling book in history with over 100 million copies to date. Originally titled Ten Little Niggers after the British blackface song which plays a major role in the storys plot, the book was released in the United States as And Then There Were None the final five words in the original American version of the song. The story goes that ten
Harry Potter and the Philosopher s Stone 107 million
. Though the other Harry Potter books all made the list, they have been omitted to keep the list from being monotonous. At positions 11 and 1418, they sold between 5065 million copies each. The first book in this sevenpart fantasy series, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone Sorcerers Stone in the U.S. was J.K. Rowlings first published novel. Twelve publishing houses turned the book down before one finally accepted it. Rowlings writing in this f
The Little Prince 140 million
. Le Petit Prince known in English as The Little Prince is the 1943 novella of French aristocrat Antoine de SaintExupery. The third mosttranslated book in the world its in over 250 languages and dialects, this novella tells the story of a lonely young alien prince who fell to Earth. Though geared towards children, Le Petit Prince has adult themes especially related to the bizarreness of the adult world which make it a joy for anyone to read.
The Lord of the Rings 150 million
. The second best selling book though sold as a series of all time is The Lord of the Rings trilogy pack of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Published individually, The Hobbit sold 140.6 million copies but is omitted from the list just as the remainder of the Harry Potter books were. Selling over 150 million copies, J.R.R. Tolkiens fantasy novels follow the hobbit Frodo, wizard Gandalf, and their compatriots a
A Tale of Two Cities 200 million
. The best selling novel in history is A Tale of Two Cities by English author Charles Dickens. Written as a critique of English society, the novel largely takes place in Paris before and during the French Revolution. Depicting the French peasantrys dissatisfaction with French aristocrats in the years leading up to the revolution and then their dissatisfaction with the revolutionaries brutality towards said aristocrats, Dickens wrote the book as a p
Don Quixote 500 million
. Miguel de Cervantes novel about a man who becomes so infatuated with tales of knights that he decides to become one is one of the first novels ever written, originally published in 1612. Quixotes misadventures as he travels across the Spanish countryside seeking wrongs to right and downtrodden people to uplift have amused and enthralled generations of readers, and gave us the idiomtilting at windmills"" to indicate a noble but futile endeavor. W