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Top 50 Best Selling Books of All The Time

Because i really love book, i sometimes curious of what is the best seller book in the world right now. At the bookstore, we often see books labeled with “best sellers” logo on it. Sometimes the use of this “best-selling” term make us confused. What is the meaning of best seller itself.

There is no international standard for this. Are sales over 1 million makes a book called “best-seller”, or 100 thousand books is enough or maybe just 10 thousand books. This is what makes us confused sometimes. But seeing the list of best-selling books throughout the history of these, our eyes will be open about what is the actual achievement of numbers of following remarkable books that changes the world.

Here are the list of 20 best selling books of all the time :

1. Bible
Sold : more than 800 million copies
Published : 300 BC- 95 AD
Original Language : Hebrew

Known as the Holy Bible for Christians people. The Bible adopted the Jewish, classifying it as the “Old Testament”. Soon after the establishment of Christianity in the first century, Church fathers compiled Gospel accounts, and letters of apostles into a Christian Bible, in addition to the adopted Jewish Bible. This became known as the New Testament. The two together are referred to as “The Bible” by Christians.

2. Quotations from Chairman Mao (the Little Red Book)
Author : Mao Ze Dong
Sold : 800 million
Published : 1964
Original Language : Chinese

Original title of the book is Máo zhuxí yulù, better known in the West as The Little Red Book, was published by the Government of the People’s Republic of China from April 1964 until approximately 1976. As its title implies, it is a collection of quotations excerpted from Mao Zedong’s past speeches and publications.

3. The Qur’an (Koran)
Sold : 400 million
Published : 610-632 A.D
Original Language : Arabic

Central religious verbal text of Islam, also sometimes transliterated as Al-Qur’an. Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the verbal book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the original Arabic verbal text to be the final revelation of God

4. Xin Hua Zi Dian (Xinhua Dictionary)
Author : Wei Jiang Gong (Chief Editor)
Sold : 400 million
Published : 1957
Original Language : Chinese

Best-selling Chinese dictionary and the world’s most popular reference work. This pocket-sized dictionary of Chinese characters, published by the Commercial Press, uses Simplified Chinese characters and pinyin romanization. The most recent Xinhua Zidian edition (10th) enters 3,500 compounds and includes over 11,200 logograms, including Traditional Chinese characters and Variant Chinese characters. Bopomofo is also used as a supplement alongside Pinyin.

5. Chairman Mao’s Poems
Author : Mao ZeDong
Sold : 400 million
Published : 1966
Original Language : Chinese

Collections of Mao ZeDong Poems. Besides his position as chairman, Mao ZeDong is widely recognized as a poet in China. His poems are full of vigour and confidence, and are recited and quoted all aroud the country.

6. Selected Articles of Mao Zedong
Author : Mao ZeDong
Sold : 252.5 million
Published : 1966
Original Language : Chinese

This book includes important articles Mao wrote in the different periods of the Chinese revolution. A number of editions of his articles have appeared in various places, but none of them had been gone over by the author. The contents of the present edition are arranged in chronological order and according to the main periods in the history of the Communist Party of China since its foundation in 1922. This book covers the periods of the First Revolutionary Civil War (1924-27) and of the Second Revolutionary Civil War (1927-37).

7. A Tale of Two Cities
Author : Charles Dickens
Sold : 200 million
Published : 1859
Language : English

This book is the most printed original English book, and among the most famous works of fiction.This book is best selling novel of all the time. Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, this book depicts the plight of the French peasantry under the demoralization of the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, the corresponding brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the early years of the revolution, and a number of unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period. It follows the lives of several protagonists through these events, most notably Charles Darnay, a French once-aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution despite his virtuous nature, and Sydney Carton, a dissipated British barrister who endeavours to redeem his ill-spent life out of love for Darnay’s wife, Lucie Manette.

8. Scouting for Boys : A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship
Author : Robert Baden-Powell
Sold : 150 million
Published : 1908
Original Language : English

First book on the Scout Movement that written based on Robert Baden-Powell’s boyhood experiences. His experience with the Mafeking Cadet Corps during the Second Boer War at the Siege of Mafeking, and on his experimental camp on Brownsea Island, England. These books were military manuals used by the British Army to train scouts. At Mafeking, Baden-Powell recruited and trained boys aged 12-15 as postmen, messengers, and later to carry the wounded, to free men for fighting. Upon return to England, following the Boer War, Baden-Powell learned some British schools had been using his books to teach observation and deduction

9. The Lord of The Rings
Author : J.R.R. Tolkien
Sold : 150 million
Published : 1954
Original Language : English

Lord of The Ring no doubt become best selling fantasy novel all the time. An epic high fantasy novel written by philologist and Oxford University professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s earlier, less complex children’s fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. Although generally known to readers as a trilogy, the work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set along with The Silmarillion. However, the publisher decided to omit the second volume and instead published The Lord of the Rings in 1954-55 as three books rather than one, for economic reasons.

10. Book of Mormon
Author : prophet Mormon (revealed by Joseph Smith, Jr.)
Sold : 140 million
Published : 1830
Original Language : English

Sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement. According to Smith’s account, and written in the book itself, it was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as “reformed Egyptian” on golden plates. Smith said that he received these plates in 1827 from an angel named Moroni, whom Smith identified as a resurrected indigenous American who wrote part of the book over a millennium ago. According to Smith, this ancient Moroni buried the plates in a hill near Smith’s home in Manchester, New York.
The Book of Mormon is the earliest of the defining publications of the Latter Day Saint movement. The churches of the movement typically regard the Book of Mormon not only as scripture, but as a historical record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, written by American prophets from perhaps as early as 2500 B.C. to about 400 A.D.

11. The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life
Author : Jehova’s Witnesses (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York)
Sold : 107 million
Published : 1968
Original Language : English

The book, The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life was published in 1968 and revised in 1981. It is informally known as ‘the Truth book’. In the first three years of its circulation more than 400,000 people studied the book and were eventually baptized.

12. On the Three Representations
Author : Jiang ZeMin
Sold : 100 million
Published : 2001
Original Language : Chinese

The Three Represents (pinyin: Sangè Dàibiao) is a socio-political ideology credited to General Secretary Jiang Zemin which became a guiding ideology of the Communist Party of China at its 16th Party Congress in 2002.
Jiang Zemin first introduced his theory on February 25, 2002 while on an inspection tour in Guangdong province. He was attempting a comprehensive summary of the party’s historical experience and how to adapt to new situations.

13. And Then There Were None
Author : Agatha Christie
Sold : 100 million
Published : 1939
Original Language : English

Detective fiction novel by Agatha Christie, first published in the United Kingdom under the title Ten Little Niggers. In the novel, ten people, who have previously been complicit in the deaths of others but have escaped notice and/or punishment, are tricked into coming onto an island. Even though the guests are the only people on the island, they are all mysteriously murdered one by one, in a manner paralleling, inexorably and sometimes grotesquely, the old nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Indians”. It is Christie’s best-selling novel with 100 million sales to date, making it the world’s best-selling mystery book of all time.

14. The Hobbit
Author : J.R.R. Tolkien
Sold : 100 million
Published : 1937
Original Language : English

A Fantasy novel and children’s book by J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in a time “Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men”, The Hobbit follows the quest of home-loving Bilbo Baggins to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic children’s book. This book also the that finally.

15. Dream of Red Chamber
Author : Cao Xueqin
Sold : 100 million
Published : 18th century
Original Language : Chinese

Also known as Red Chamber Dream, Hung Lou Meng or A Dream of Red Mansions, rarely also called The Story of the Stone, is a masterpiece of Chinese vernacular literature and one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels. The novel was composed approx. between 1749 and 1759 during the Qing Dynasty and is attributed to Cao Xueqin. Redology is the field of study devoted exclusively to this work and the novel is generally acknowledged as the pinnacle of the classical Chinese novels. The novel is believed to be semi-autobiographical, mirroring the fortunes of Cao’s own family. As the author details in the first chapter, it is intended to be a memorial to the women he knew in his youth: friends, relatives and servants. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.

16. She
Author : H. Rider Haggard
Sold : 83 million
Published : 1887
Original Language : English

She, subtitled A History of Adventure, is a novel by Henry Rider Haggard, first serialized in The Graphic from October 1886 to January 1887. She is one of the classics of imaginative literature and with 83 million copies sold by 1965, one of the best-selling books of all time. In this work, Rider Haggard developed the conventions of the Lost World sub-genre, which many other authors emulated. The story is a first person narrative that follows the journey of Cambridge professor Horace Holly and his adopted son Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior, where they encounter the mysterious sorceress, She, who reigns over the natives as “She-who-must-be-obeyed”.

17. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
Author : Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Sold : 80 million
Published : 1943
Original Language : French

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince), published in 1943, is French aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s most famous novella. Saint-Exupéry wrote it while living in the United States. It has been translated into more than 180 languages and sold more than 80 million copies making it one of the best selling books ever.
An earlier memoir by the author recounts his aviation experiences in the Saharan desert. He is thought to have drawn on these same experiences for use as plot elements in The Little Prince. Saint-Exupéry’s novella has been adapted to various media over the decades, including stage, screen and operatic works.

18. The Da Vinci Code
Author : Dan Brown
Sold : 80 million
Published : 2003
Original Language : English

The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective fiction novel written by American author Dan Brown. It follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris’s Louvre Museum and discover a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus Christ of Nazareth having been married to Mary Magdalene. The title of the novel refers to, among other things, the fact that the murder victim is found in the Denon Wing of the Louvre, naked and posed like Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing, the Vitruvian Man, with a cryptic message written beside his body and a pentacle drawn on his stomach in his own blood.
The novel has provoked a popular interest in speculation concerning the Holy Grail legend and Magdalene’s role in the history of Christianity. The book has been extensively denounced by many Christian denominations as an attack on the Roman Catholic Church. It has also been criticized for its historical and scientific inaccuracy.

19. The Catcher in the Rye
Author : J.D. Salinger
Sold : 65 million
Published : 1951
Original Language : English

Originally published for adults, it has since become popular with adolescent readers for its themes of teenage confusion, angst, sexuality, alienation, and rebellion. The novel’s protagonist and antihero, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion.
The novel was included on a 2005 Time Magazine list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923, and it was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the United States for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst. It also deals with complex issues of identity, belonging, connection, and alienation.

20. O Alquimista (The Alchemist)
Author : Paulo Coelho
Sold : 65 million
Published : 1988
Original Language : Portuguese

The Alchemist (Portuguese: O Alquimista) is an allegorical novel by Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. It follows Santiago, a young shepherd who lives in Spain, on a journey to fulfill his Personal Legend and find his Treasure at the Pyramids in Egypt. It has been hailed as a modern classic. The plot is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ short story: Tale of two dreamers. The Alchemist was originally written in Portuguese and has since been translated into 67 languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.

Of course not surprising to see most of the books mentioned in the list are spiritual books. But there are some titles on the list is quite a bit surprising. Apparently the books on Mao Tze Dong has a fantastic sales figures. Apart from spiritual books, best-selling books seems dominated by the novel. The only non-novel that entered the list is Xin Hua Zi Dian (Xinhua Dictionary) (# 5). But the best-selling books seem still dominated by old novels. The only new novel that can penetrate the ranks of top 20 sales is The Da Vinci Code which is has a little religious element.

Motivational books written by great guru like Anthony Robbins, Stephen Covey, Dale Carnegie, Robert T Kiyosaki was just reaching for sale below 50 million copies. The highest sales figures for motivation books is Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill) which can reach 30 million of sales, followed by 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey) which can reach 15 million of sales, and # 3 is How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnigie) which also can reach 15 million of sales. Some phenomenal book usually covered on the media recently is not even in the top 20 best selling all the time. For example: The most best-selling Harry Potter which is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the final series) only achieve sales figures about 44 million copies, Meanwhile Twilight (first book) as the best selling Twilight series was only achieved 17 million copies sales. Technical books would be very difficult to penetrate this list. Maybe only Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (#36) that on the list.

Meanwhile, in terms of language, books that fall into this best-seller list was still dominated by the original language of the book is the language now recognized as an international language which are English & China.

Here are the rest of list Top 50 Best Selling Books of All The Time (21-50) :

21. Steps to Christ (Ellen G. White – 1892), Sold : 60 million
22. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Merriam-Webster – 1898), Sold : 55 million
23. Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre (Heidi’s Years of Wandering and Learning) (Johanna Spyri – 1880), Sold : 50 million
24. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care (Dr. Benjamin Spock – 1946), Sold : 50 million
25. Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery – 1908), Sold : 50 million

26. Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions: The autobiography of a horse (Anna Sewell – 1877), Sold : 50 million
27. Il Nome della Rosa (The Name of the Rose) (Umberto Eco – 1980), Sold : 50 million
28. The Hite Report (Shere Hite – 1976), Sold : 48 million
29. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White; illustrated by Garth Williams – 1952), Sold : 45 million

30. The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter – 1902), Sold : 45 million
31. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K. Rowling – 2007), Sold : 44 million

32. Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach – 1970), Sold : 40 million
33. A Message to Garcia (Elbert Hubbard – 1899), Sold : 40 million
34. Roget’s Thesaurus (Peter Mark Roget – 1852), Sold : 40 million
35. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown – 2000), Sold : 39 million

36. Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (various authors – 1930), Sold : 38 million
37. Kak zakalyalas’ stal’; How the Steel Was Tempered (Nikolai Ostrovsky – 1932), Sold : 36.4 million
37. Voyna i mir; War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy – 1869), Sold : 36 million
38. Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino (The Adventures of Pinocchio) (Carlo Collodi – 1881), Sold : 35 million

39. You Can Heal Your Life (Louise Hay – 1984), Sold : 35 million
40. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer – 1979), Sold : 34 million

41. Het Achterhuis (The Diary of a Young Girl,The Diary of Anne Frank) (Anne Frank – 1947), Sold : 30 million
42. In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? (Charles M. Sheldon – 1896), Sold : 30 million
43. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (A. S. Hornby – 1948), Sold : 30 million
44. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee – 1960), Sold : 30 million

45. Valley of the Dolls (Jacqueline Susann – 1966), Sold : 30 million
46. Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell – 1936), Sold : 30 million
47. Cien Años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) (Gabriel García Márquez – 1967), Sold : 30 million
48. The Purpose Driven Life (Rick Warren – 2002), Sold : 30 million

49. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough – 1977), Sold : 30 million
50. Think and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill – 1937), Sold : 30 million

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  28. Richking
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  30. Ravi
    February 24th, 2013 at 19:04 | #30

    I can’t believe The English Patient is not on there somewhere. Also, most things from the East, India, Japan and Chinna, especially in the ancient days, were extememly more popular and if they were sold fro that time to this, they would dominate the chart’s top five. Besides, can we really say the Bible sold that many copies? Who compiled the numbers and since when? Hmmm…

  1. March 23rd, 2010 at 18:21 | #1
  2. March 23rd, 2010 at 21:33 | #2
  3. April 4th, 2010 at 14:31 | #3