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The Best Selling Books of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 1.3m views103 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.

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  • A Tale of Two Cities1

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

    First Published1859

    SubjectsLiterary, French Revolution, Revenge, English Language, German Language

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 200 million
    A Tale of Two Cities is a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London and Paris before and during...  more
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    #8 of 78 The Best Oprah Book Club Books#25 of 61 Novels with the Best Love Stories

  • The Lord of the Rings2

    The Lord of the Rings

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    First Published1954-07-29

    SubjectsLiterary, Epic film, Literature, Classics, Drama

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 150 million
    The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R....  more
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    #1 of 120 The Best Fantasy Book Series#45 of 169 Books You'll Never Finish Reading

  • The Little Prince3

    The Little Prince

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    First Published1943

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageFrench Language

    Copies Sold: 140 million

    The Little Prince, first published in 1943, is a novella and the most famous work of the...  more
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    #67 of 179 The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time#27 of 38 The Best French Novels

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone4

    First Published1997-06-26

    SubjectsWizards, Education, Adventure, Friendship, Schools

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 120 million

    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series and J....  more
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  • The Hobbit5

    The Hobbit

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    First Published1937-09-21

    SubjectsWizards, Literary, Epic film, Literature, Classics

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 100 million
    The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author...  more
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    #13 of 20 20 Books That Deserve Much Better Adaptations Than They Got#10 of 41 The Best Young Adult Adventure Books

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland6

    First Published1865

    Copies Sold: 100 million

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel...  more
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    #3 of 52 The Best Absurdist Fiction Novels#28 of 97 The Greatest Books to Read to Kids

  • Dream of the Red Chamber7

    Genres (Book)Novel

    Original LanguageChinese language

    Copies Sold: 100 million
    Dream of the Red Chamber, also called The Story of the Stone, composed by Cao Xueqin, is one...  more
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    #60 of 101 The Best Books With Red in the Title#79 of 100 The Best Books With Dream in the Title

  • And Then There Were None8

    First Published1939-11-06

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 100 million
    And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, described by...  more
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    #1 of 60 The Best Suspense Novels#1 of 102 The Best Agatha Christie Books of All Time

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe9

    First Published1950

    SubjectsEvacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 85 million
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis,...  more
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    #2 of 63 The Best Books for Fourth Graders#3 of 20 If You've Read More Than Four Of These Books Or Series, You're A Real Fantasy Nerd

  • She: A History of Adventure10

    First Published1887

    SubjectsLiterary, Literature, Reincarnation, Classics, Women

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 83 million
    She — subtitled A History of Adventure — is a novel by H. Rider Haggard, first serialised in...  more
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  • The Da Vinci Code11

    First Published2003-04

    SubjectsFibonacci number, Espionage, Suspense, Adventure, English Language

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 80 million
    The Da Vinci Code is a 2003 mystery-detective novel by Dan Brown. It follows symbologist...  more
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    #174 of 1,235 The Best Novels Ever Written#107 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time

  • The Adventures of Pinocchio12

    First Published1883

    SubjectsPinocchio, Adventure

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

    Original LanguageItalian Language

    Copies Sold: 80 million

    The Adventures of Pinocchio is a novel for children by Italian author Carlo Collodi, written...  more
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  • The Catcher in the Rye13

    First Published1951-07-16

    SubjectsPopular literature, Teenage rebellion, Literature, Human sexuality, Psychological identity

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 65 million
    The Catcher in the Rye is a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger. A controversial novel originally...  more
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    #19 of 156 The Greatest American Novels#12 of 171 35+ Books Everybody Lies About Having Read

  • The Alchemist14

    The Alchemist

    Paulo Coelho

    First Published1988

    SubjectsLiterary, Mythology, New Age, Literature, Visionary

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Quest, Drama, Historical fiction, Fiction

    Original LanguagePortuguese Language

    Copies Sold: 65 million
    The Alchemist (Portuguese: O Alquimista) is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho that was...  more
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    #57 of 102 The Best Books for Teens#7 of 28 The Best Inspirational Books for Young Adults

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows15

    First Published2007-07-21

    SubjectsWizards, Education, Literature, Coming of age, Schools

    Genres (Book)Bildungsroman, Magic realism, Mystery, Thriller, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 65 million

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter...  more
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    #4 of 7 All Harry Potter Books, Ranked Best to Worst#4 of 102 The Best Books About Wizards

  • Steps to Christ16

    Steps to Christ

    Ellen G. White

    First Published1892

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 60 million
    Steps to Christ is an evangelistic book written by Ellen G. White, co-founder and prophetess...  more
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  • Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning17
    Copies Sold: 50 million
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  • The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care18

    First Published1946-07-14

    SubjectsParenting, Child care, Psychology

    Copies Sold: 50 million
    The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care written by Benjamin Spock, is a manual on infant...  more
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  • Anne of Green Gables19

    Anne of Green Gables

    Lucy Maud Montgomery

    First Published1908-06

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Novel

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 50 million
    Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. Written for all...  more
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    #12 of 26 The Best Audiobooks On Librivox#2 of 100 The Best Books With Green in the Title

  • Black Beauty20

    Black Beauty

    Anna Sewell

    First Published1877-11-24

    SubjectsLiterary, Horse, 19th century, Places, Literary criticism

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 50 million
    Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by English author Anna Sewell. It was composed in the last years...  more
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    #94 of 300 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies#17 of 117 The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

  • The Name of the Rose21

    First Published1980

    SubjectsLiterary, Literature, Classics, Italy, History

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Suspense, Historical fiction, Historical whodunnit, Mystery

    Original LanguageItalian Language

    Copies Sold: 50 million
    The Name of the Rose, a novel by Umberto Eco, is a murder mystery set in an Italian monastery...  more
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    #19 of 56 The Best Postmodern Novels#21 of 54 The Best Mystery Novels

  • Charlotte's Web22

    Charlotte's Web

    E. B. White

    First Published1952

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 50 million

    Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth...  more
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    #6 of 125 The Best Overall Books for Kids#4 of 54 The Best Books for First Graders

  • The Hite Report23

    Copies Sold: 50 million

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  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit24

    First Published1902

    SubjectsMedical, Games, Rabbits, Classics, Adventure

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

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Copies Sold: 45 million
    The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a British children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix...  more
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    #5 of 50 The Best Children's Book Series#1 of 16 Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading

  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull25

    SubjectsClassics, Literary

    Genres (Book)Fiction

    Copies Sold: 40 million
    Jonathan Livingston Seagull is 1973 film directed by Hall Bartlett....  more
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