Culture

The Best Selling Books of All Time

Jeff Moore
Updated June 14, 2019 1.2M views 103 items

In case you need a new read, here's a list of the best selling books of all time, including fiction and nonfiction best sellers. What are the best selling books of all time? Since religious and political books, such as The Holy Bible, are often given away for free, they have not been included on this list. These top selling books of all time span multiple centuries, covering many genres (like horror and romance), writers, and original languages. And if you think Harry Potter or Twilight top this list, think again, they're not even close. What books sell the most? That said, the most popular books are indeed novels, with the most popular published volumes going through multiple editions and reprints. What are the best selling books in history? A few nonfiction texts can also be found, but they are few and far between. If one enjoys reading, these are the best sellers of all bestsellers, as well as the answer to the question "what are the best selling books of all time?"

If you like this best seller book list, be sure to check out Ranker's other lists like the 100 Books with the Catchiest First Lines.

1
A Tale of Two Cities is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Charles Dickens

First Published: 1859

Subjects: Literary, French Revolution, Revenge, English Language, German Language, + more

Genres (Book): Fiction, Novel, Historical novel, Social criticism

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 200 million

More A Tale of Two Cities 

#36 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #14 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #24 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

2
The Lord of the Rings is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
J. R. R. Tolkien

First Published: 1954-07-29

Subjects: Literary, Epic film, Literature, Classics, Drama, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Chivalric romance, Fiction, Adventure fiction, Fantasy, + more

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 150 million

More The Lord of the Rings 

#25 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #1 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #10 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

3
The Little Prince is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

First Published: 1943

Genres (Book): Novel

Original Language: French Language

Copies Sold: 140 million

More The Little Prince 

#77 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #67 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #34 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

4
Harry Potter and the Phi... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
J. K. Rowling

First Published: 1997-06-26

Subjects: Wizards, Education, Adventure, Friendship, Schools, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 120 million

More Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 

#53 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #52 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #4 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

5
The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
J. R. R. Tolkien

First Published: 1937-09-21

Subjects: Wizards, Literary, Epic film, Literature, Classics, + more

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, Epic, Fantasy

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 100 million

More The Hobbit 

#23 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #4 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #8 of 41 The Best Young Adult Adventure Books

6
Alice in Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
7
Dream of the Red Chamber... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Cao Xueqin

Genres (Book): Novel

Original Language: Chinese language

Copies Sold: 100 million

More Dream of the Red Chamber 

#58 of 102 The Best Books With Red in the Title #78 of 100 The Best Books With Dream in the Title

8
And Then There Were None... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Agatha Christie

First Published: 1939-11-06

Genres (Book): Crime Fiction, Suspense, Children's literature, Mystery, Fiction

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 100 million

More And Then There Were None 

#93 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #62 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #2 of 60 The Best Crime Novels

9
The Lion, the Witch and ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
C. S. Lewis

First Published: 1950

Subjects: Evacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fantasy

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 85 million

More The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 

#18 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #11 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #16 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies

10
She: A History of Advent... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
H. Rider Haggard

First Published: 1887

Subjects: Literary, Literature, Reincarnation, Classics, Women, + more

Genres (Book): Romance novel, Speculative fiction, Chivalric romance, Fiction, Gothic fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 83 million

More She: A History of Adventure 

#8 of 93 The Best Books With Adventure in the Title #47 of 53 The Best Books About Reincarnation

11
The Da Vinci Code is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Dan Brown

First Published: 2003-04

Subjects: Fibonacci number, Espionage, Suspense, Adventure, English Language, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Crime Fiction, Conspiracy fiction, Suspense, Mystery, + more

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 80 million

More The Da Vinci Code 

#97 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #127 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #110 of 826 Books That Changed Your Life

12
The Adventures of Pinocc... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Carlo Collodi

First Published: 1883

Subjects: Pinocchio, Adventure

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Humour, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

Original Language: Italian Language

Copies Sold: 80 million

13
The Catcher in the Rye ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
J. D. Salinger

First Published: 1951-07-16

Subjects: Popular literature, Teenage rebellion, Literature, Human sexuality, Psychological identity, + more

Genres (Book): First-person narrative, Sports, Bildungsroman, Fiction, Novel

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 65 million

More The Catcher in the Rye 

#34 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #24 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #11 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

14
The Alchemist is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Paulo Coelho

First Published: 1988

Subjects: Literary, Mythology, New Age, Literature, Visionary, + more

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Quest, Drama, Historical fiction, Fiction, + more

Original Language: Portuguese Language

Copies Sold: 65 million

More The Alchemist 

#181 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #153 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #52 of 95 The Best Books for Teens

15
Harry Potter and the Dea... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
J. K. Rowling

First Published: 2007-07-21

Subjects: Wizards, Education, Literature, Coming of age, Schools, + more

Genres (Book): Bildungsroman, Magic realism, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction, + more

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 65 million

More Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 

#66 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #27 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies #21 of 826 Books That Changed Your Life

16
Steps to Christ is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Ellen G. White

First Published: 1892

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 60 million
17
Heidi's Years of Wanderi... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Copies Sold: 50 million
18
The Common Sense Book of... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Benjamin Spock

First Published: 1946-07-14

Subjects: Parenting, Child care, Psychology

Copies Sold: 50 million
19
Anne of Green Gables is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Lucy Maud Montgomery

First Published: 1908-06

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Novel

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 50 million

More Anne of Green Gables 

#82 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #109 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies #47 of 70 Required Reading That You Actually Ended Up Loving

20
Black Beauty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Anna Sewell

First Published: 1877-11-24

Subjects: Literary, Horse, 19th century, Places, Literary criticism, + more

Genres (Book): Children's literature, Fiction, Novel

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 50 million

More Black Beauty 

#86 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #100 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #57 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies

21
The Name of the Rose is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Umberto Eco

First Published: 1980

Subjects: Literary, Literature, Classics, Italy, History

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Suspense, Historical fiction, Historical whodunnit, Mystery, + more

Original Language: Italian Language

Copies Sold: 50 million

More The Name of the Rose 

#146 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #107 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #56 of 169 Books You'll Never Finish Reading

22
Charlotte's Web is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
E. B. White

First Published: 1952

Genres (Book): Speculative fiction, Children's literature

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 50 million

More Charlotte's Web 

#45 of 314 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time #29 of 1,293 The Best Novels Ever Written #4 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies

23
The Hite Report is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time

Copies Sold: 50 million

24
The Tale of Peter Rabbit... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Beatrix Potter

First Published: 1902

Subjects: Medical, Games, Rabbits, Classics, Adventure, + more

Genres (Book): Picture book, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

Original Language: English Language

Copies Sold: 45 million

More The Tale of Peter Rabbit 

#23 of 106 The Greatest Books to Read to Kids #10 of 63 The Best Children's Book Series #3 of 16 Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading

25
Jonathan Livingston Seag... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Selling Books of All Time
Richard Bach

Subjects: Classics, Literary

Genres (Book): Fiction

Copies Sold: 40 million

More Jonathan Livingston Seagull 

#75 of 826 Books That Changed Your Life #462 of 465 The Best Feel-Good Movies