The 21 Best Selling Books of All Time

When it comes to declaring the best book you have ever read, everyone has their personal favorite. However, the chronology becomes much simpler when considering the best-selling books of all time. 

Depending on the number of people who read a book says a lot about its writing, characters, and story. However, it is challenging to determine how many exact copies were sold of a particular book, as there is no official record of any books. 

While no fixed number one can tell of any books, after a lot of research and reading, we have handpicked the best-selling books that have sold hundreds of millions of copies worldwide! However, note that the number does not include e-book sales. 

So without wasting any time, let us quickly dive into the article!

Our Top 7 Favourites!

While the entire list is full of elite books, here are our top favorite books that ace every parameter of an excellent book, like writing, story, character development, etc. 

Book Rating Genre Number of sold copies
Don Quixote 4.9/5Psychological fiction 500 million 
A Tale of Two Cities 4.7/5Historical fiction 200 million
The Lord of The Rings 4.6/5Fantasy fiction 150 million
The Da Vinci Code 4.6/5Mystery thriller 80 million
Think and Grow Rich 4.5/5Self-help 70 million
The Alchemist 3.9/5Drama and fantasy fiction 65 million
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 4.5/5Fantasy fiction  107 million

List of 21 Best Selling Books of All Time 

Coming to the most awaited part of this article, let us see the list of 21 best-selling books of all time below. You must ensure that you stick to the theme till the end because the more you explore, the better it gets!

1. Harry Potter Deathly Hallows

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.3/550 million 
Harry Potter Deathly Hallows

The seventh and the last edition of the Harry Potter series was elapsed in 2007. Just in the initial phase after publishing the book, it sold 44 million copies, and the number kept increasing. This was even before the hardcover of the book was released. 

The thing that mainly triggered such enormous sales was a wave of excitement yet sadness among fans as the book was the last of the series. However, it tuner out to be tremendously profitable for the publishers and the author J.K Rowling. 

2. Lolita

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Tragicomedy4/550 million 
Lolita

Lolita is the work of a Russian novelist named Vladimir Nabokov. Publishes in 1955, the erotic literature novel was soon banned due to its controversial subject matter after its release. The story follows a life of a middle-aged man who grows an obsession with a 12-year-old American girl who he names Lolita, deriving from Lola. 

Even though this piece of literature raised so many questions and controversies, it has still made its mark in the best-selling books of all time, as some magazines included it in the list of 100 best novels ever published. 

3. Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Biblical tale 4.7/550 million 
Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ

Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ is a biblical tale by Lew Wallace. The religious-theme novel indirectly describes the life and era of Jesus Christ. Judah Ben Hur is the protagonist used to observe several aspects of Jesus Christ’s life and the tragedies that come along his way. 

Published in 1880, this noble gained popularity mainly because of its religious theme and the accuracy with which it described history. Even though the spiritual novel genre has taken a back seat in modern times, many readers still prefer reading this masterpiece. 

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.7/555 million 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

The third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is about Harry Potter and his friends experiencing exciting adventures involving werewolves and time traveling in the wizard school known as Hogwarts. 

Moreover, it also narrates some essential characters of the story, including Harry Potter’s parents, James and Lily, who sacrificed their lives to protect Potter. 

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.6/555 million 
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth volume of the noble series, deal with Voldemort’s increasing power and the wizard society’s resistance towards it. No matter which book of the Harry Potter series was published, after the release of its first-ever edition, it was a hit among fantasy lovers, which made J.K Rowling one of the highest-selling authors worldwide. 

6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.8/555 million 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth volume in the Harry Potter series that focuses on the Tri-Wizard tournament. This tournament is a friendly competition between the students of Hogwarts and Wizardy, the two rival wizard schools. 

The center of attraction in this book is the initial confrontation between Harry Potter and Voldemort. The fictional story lie f this series makes it so popular among readers, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.  

7. The Catcher in the Rye

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Young adult fiction  3.8/560 million 
The Catcher in the Rye 

J.D Salinger writes the Catcher in the Rye. A fun fact about this novel is Salinger originally intended it for adults. However, it became sensational among adolescents and young adults. 

This was because the story revolves around two unusual days of a 16-year-old boy detained from his prep school. The book was published in serial form, and soon after its release sold millions of copies and became a must-have among teenagers. 

8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.8/560 million 
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the novel series by J.K Rowling, revealing the suspense and mystery lying in Hogwarts, a wizard school. Moreover, the book also holds significance to fans as the prime villain of the noble series Voldemort was introduced in this volume. 

You must wonder why different volumes of the novel series have such distinction in sales, but it is difficult to predict the exact reason behind such numbers. However, the novel has always been on every list of the best-selling books of all time. 

9. The Alchemist:

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Drama and fantasy fiction 3.9/565 million 
The Alchemist 

The Alchemist has been one of the best-selling books of all time since it was published. The masterpiece, written by Paulo Coelho, is one of the most loved books of the author that revolves around an old folk tale about a young shepherd trying to find his belonging and destiny in the desert. 

Originally this novel was written in Portuguese and later translated into English after gaining popularity. Over the years, people showed immense interest in the book, and soon, it entered the movies. 

10. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.6/565 million 
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth novel series book. For your information, all seven books of the Harry Potter collection are included in the list of the best-selling books of all time. 

This book focuses on the story of Voldemort, the primary villain of the array, and covers the revolting death scene, which was a bolt from the blue for several fans. An interesting fact about this particular novel is that it was one of the quickest-selling books after its release. 

11. Think and Grow Rich

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Self-help 4.5/570 million 
Think and Grow Rich 

Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, is a unique noble that inspires people to achieve success by laying out philosophical theories. This book is so popular because Napoleon resonated with the struggles faced by an ordinary man in the financial and personal aspects of his life and shed light on how to overcome them. 

Napoleon Hill is also considered the father of the self-help movement in America because of his knowledge and research n wealthy and successful people. He studied the lives of rich people closely to form a formula for the commoner to become successful in his life. 

The novel has aced the self-help genre and remains one of the best choices for people to better themselves. 

12. The Da Vinci Code

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Mystery thriller  4.6/580 million 
The Da Vinci Code 

When we talk about the best-selling books of all time, the list might be dominated by the fiction genre. However, mysterious novels like The Da Vinci Code are capable of making their mark on the list and maintaining their position among the top books. 

This mystery novel forms an interesting conspiracy theory about the hidden secrets of the Catholic church. But what grabbed readers’ attention more to this book was when the Catholic church publicly condemned the novel and the famous Tom Hanks movie based on it. 

13. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.6/585 million 
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a religion-based novel by C.S Lewis. The novel was published in 1950 and was intended as a children’s book. The book revolves around a classic magical doorway story that lies between the real world and a fantasy world. 

The young readers would travel to the magical land of Narnia, which had anthropomorphized animals, fictitious people, and a pious lion. You can also find several listed stories in this book combined into the Narnia series that also made their way into blockbuster movies.  

14. The Little Prince

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Children’s Literature 4.3/580 million 
The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is one of the most well-known books among children. The story is about a little boy living in a tiny asteroid. Initially, when it was published, it gained tremendous popularity in France and later spread to other parts of the world. 

While you might think it is just a story for the kid’s literature, it is inspired by several monuments in the world and even out of it. Some astronomers named an asteroid upon the price that lives in the book. 

15. Dream of the Red Chamber

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fiction and family saga4.3/5100 million 
Dream of the Red Chamber

Dream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin chronicles the events of the rising and fall of a family in the era of the Qing Dynasty. The Chinese historical novel was published in 1791 and became an essential contribution to Chinese literature and is studied with great interest as a part of world literature even today. 

The fascination with this book has grown more and more throughout the year as new and revised theories are introduced about it. Due to its ideologies, it rekindles interest in literature lovers, and the book sale numbers have maintained a high through the years. 

16. And Then There Were Gone

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Mystery 4.3/5100 million 
And Then There Were Gone

Written by Agatha Christie, popularly known as the British mystery legend, And Then There Were Gone is one of the most chilling and mysterious novels. Many suspense lovers suggest the book as a must-read if you are a fan of thriller and crime stories. 

The famous British mystery and several other novels also made Christie the world’s best-selling author in the Guinness Book of World Records, with a special sale of 1 billion books worldwide. After the prestigious title, And Then There Were Gone was one of the best-selling books. 

17. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction  4.5/5107 million 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 

The first edition of the famous Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling is one of the best-selling books of all time. The fictional novel is about a bunch of young wizards living in a modern magical land covered with fantasies. 

The novel was published in 1997and soon became a blockbuster among kidneys and young teenagers. It created a buzz worldwide and, till today, has been one of the top-selling books among the young generation. 

18. The Lord of the Rings

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Fantasy fiction 4.6/5150 million 
The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien is the ultimate fantasy novel. This book by John created a benchmark for the modern fantasy genre and was made into an award-winning movie series. 

Fiction novels have been prominently favored worldwide. As fantasy plays a significant role in a human being’s life, stories, movie, and series are a way to channel the desires of a man. Since its release, this book has sold millions of copies and remains a go-to for fantasy lovers. 

19. A Tale of Two Cities

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Mystery thriller4.7/5200 million 
A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities is an excellent historical novel by Charles Dickens. The book was published in 1859 and has profoundly impacted the world since its release. 

The novel deals with the early class struggle before the French revolution and later reveals the ugly truth behind the progressive world. While the book shows how the planet accelerates toward the establishment, it also shows the tragedy that the commoner faced. 

Since its release, this epic novel has undergone several editions from different publishers. While the exact number of copies can only be estimated, it has broken several records. 

19. Xinhua Zidian

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Chinese dictionary 4.5/5400 million 
Xinhua Zidian

Xinhua Zidian is a Chinese language dictionary. Publishes in 1953, Xinhua Zidian became a staple for all the Chinese school-going kids and is one of the most preferred books to learn the Chinese dialect. 

Since its launch, this Chinese dictionary has remained a go-to for all Chinese learners and is a pretty popular book in the world’s second-largest economy. Due to its pocket-friendly size and affordable pricing, Xinhua Ziidan is the most popular Chinese dictionary in the world. 

20. Don Quixote

Genre Rating Number of sold copies
Psychological fiction 4.9/5500 million 
Don Quixote

We saved the best of the last! At the end of our list is the best-selling book of all time, Don Quixote. Written by Miguel de Cervantes, the novel is an absolute piece of art depicting a man’s infatuation with tales of knights and how the obsession grows to the extent that he decides he wants to be one of them. 

Don Quixote is a historical novel that was initially released in two parts. The fictional story deals with multiple genres, ironically describing the psychological aspect of the human mind. This book has been popular among readers for ages and has shown the highest sales. 

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Wrapping Up!

That’s it for today’s articles. While this was a fun article to write, you must have had some surprising moments seeing some novels that made it to the list of best-selling books of all time. 

You might agree with some options and might disagree with another. However, when it comes to reading, everyone has their comfort zones with books. Every novel on this list has sold millions of copies and continues to do so. 

We hope this article was helpful enough to know the best-selling books of all time. Over to you, did you find any of your favorite novels in the above list? Let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Question

Which is the best-selling book of all ties in the mystery genres?

While there are several excellent mystery authors and books on the market., if you want the best of all time, include, And Then There Were Gone on your reading list. 

Are e-books of the Harry Potter novel series available?

Several platforms offer e-books of Harry potter volumes. Some of the famous and reliable sites are Kindle and Amazon for e-books. 

Why is the famous novel Lolita banned?

Even though some might find the story intriguing, Lolita is erotic literature that somewhat depicts the dark side of human psychology. This novel aspect made it offensive to some people and was therefore banned soon after its release. 

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