Top 10 Books
Top 10 Books

Top 10 Most Popular Books of All Time

Kaylee Heath
By Kaylee Heath, Associate Writer
Published September 20, 2017

Hello, fellow fact lovers! Today we will be looking at the top ten most famous books of all time. While the question of what makes a classic or which book should be included in a top 10 list is always open for debate, we have ranked the books in this list according to the number of copies sold. What famous book titles would you add to a list of the most read books of all time?

  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: 500 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Spanish Literature
    Variously called “The First Novel,” or “An infinite Novel,” Don Quixote features a delusional nobleman, windmill monsters, and portly squires. Widely considered to be the first true modern novel, Don Quixote also gave us the popular saying “The proof is in the pudding.” With book sales over 500 million copies, Don Quixote easily tops Dickens 200 million copies. The proof is in the pudding, indeed.

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: 200 million copies sold[1]
  • Historical Fiction
    Love or hate the book, Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities is ranked #2 on our list of the most popular books ever, with over 200 million copies sold. While many of these copies may have been sold to high schools students who were required to read this epic tale, it, nonetheless, is a masterpiece filled with sly humor, meaningful descriptions, and a cast of quirky characters caught up in the blood-stained streets of Paris during the French Revolution.

  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: 150 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Fantasy Books
    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is the ultimate fantasy novel and ranks #3 on our list, with 150 million copies sold. Tolkien’s rich tri-part narrative (which was originally sold as one book) basically created the modern fantasy genre. While there is one ring to rule Middle Earth, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings clearly rules the world of fantasy.

  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: 142 million copies sold[1]
  • Philosophical Books
    Astronomers named an actual asteroid after the one the little prince lives on in this novel. Of course the heart-breaking tale The Little Prince would be on any list of the most popular books of all time. Translated into 300 languages and dialects, this tender tale of friendship, loneliness, love and loss deserves its place as a cultural and global icon. Just grab a box of tissues before reading.

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling: 107 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Children
    Even muggles would predict that at least one of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter books would make the top ten most popular books of all time. Indeed, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is #5 on our list, with over 107 million copies sold. By now, most people know that Rowling’s beloved book first introduced Harry Potter, the lightning-scarred, bespectacled wizard who would change the world.

  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: 100 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Popular Crime Novels
    It’s no surprise that the queen of suspense, Agatha Christie, would make an appearance on this list. Her mystery masterpiece And Then There Were None has sold over 100 million copies. Not only is it Christie's best selling novel, it is also the world’s best-selling mystery. Set on a private island off the coast of Devon, the tense mystery narrates the misadventures of ten curious and rather unlikable strangers-- who are all guilty of something.

  • The Dream of the Red Table by Cao Xueqin: 100 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Redology
    The Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber may be somewhat unknown in the West, but it has often been called the “book of millennium.” Ranked #7 on our list, Dream of Red Chamber has sold over 100 million copies. An 18th century saga about a noble family that falls from grace, Dream of the Red Chamber is full of stunning social, cultural, and spiritual details of the time. Just be sure to set aside a couple of days to read it: Dream of the Red Chamber is twice as long as War and Peace. (Huang, Yi / InkDance)

  • The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien: 100 million copies sold[1]
  • Children
    When this book was adapted to a movie, the film crew used all the gold paint in New Zealand when creating Smaug's lair. They had to import more from Germany in order to finish the project

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: 85 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Children
    The idea of the doorway in this novel linking the real to the magical was used years later by J.K. Rowling in her series Harry Potter. It has been translated into 47 languages and has been adapted for TV, stage, radio, and Hollywood. So, take another bite of Turkish delight and fall in love with this classic in all of its renditions.

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: 80 million copies sold[1][2]
  • Robert Langdon
    Coming in at number #10 is Dan Brown’s 2003 blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code, with over 80 million copies sold. More than just a murder mystery, The Da Vinci Code explores controversial historical secrets and questionable cabals, all of which has appealed to puzzle lovers, history buffs, and conspiracy theorists alike. The Catholic Church publicly denounced this novel, making it even more popular.


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