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Best Selling Books: The 101+ Best Selling Books of All Time

Arthur Worsley
by Arthur Worsley
M.A. Psychology, Oxford. McKinsey Alum. Founder & Editor at TAoL..
9 MINUTE READ

best selling books

CAVEAT: There Are NO Accurate Best Selling Books Lists

Looking for a list of the best selling books of all time?

You’re in the right place!

Sort of… 🤔

Why? Because full, reliable, updated data on book sales just doesn’t exist.

Not today. (Not even from major sources like Amazon and Nielsen.)

And certainly not if you go back in history.

That’s why, what you’ll find here today (as with any other list of best selling books) is a very imperfect, guesstimate at sales numbers and rankings of the best selling books of all time (based, in my case on this Wikipedia page).

And the fact is, that’s as close to an 80/20 on the best selling books of all time as you’re ever going to get.

So What Should I Read Next Instead?

If you’re here for ideas on what to read next I’d skip this list (as well as every other list of best selling books on the internet) and…

Start with one of these lists instead:

But if you’re just here for lols or you don’t mind if it’s not perfect or you’re just curious (like I was) as to how many of these books you have and haven’t read then browse away and enjoy this rough guide to…

The 101+ Best Selling Books of All Time

Of the 103 best selling books of all time on this list, 83 were fiction and 20 were nonfiction.

To make things a bit more structured, I’ve split these out into two lists:

Click above to jump to the relevant section or scroll on to get to the good stuff…

The 80+ Best Selling Books of Fiction

Below you’ll find my list of the 80+ best selling books of fiction of all time.

Want a more structured view? Check out this ranked list of the 100+ best fiction books of all time.

Best Selling Books: The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
1. The Hobbit, or There and Back Again – J.R.R. Tolkien
A timeless classic and the fantasy novel that both introduced us to hobbits AND set the standard for all things dwarf, elf, troll, orc and dragon-related ever since. It’s no surprise to see The Hobbit among the best fantasy books of all time – by writer, poet and best-selling author, J.R.R. Tolkein.
Published 1937 // 366 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,835,700 reviews on Goodreads
140.6 million copies sold
Best Selling Books: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) – J.K. Rowling
The first of the 7 Harry Potter books. An astonishing 12 clueless muggles rejected the manuscript for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before it finally launched one of the best-selling fantasy series of all time – by best-selling author and philanthropist, J.K. Rowling.
Published 1997 // 322 pages // Rated 4.5 over 6,867,000 reviews on Goodreads
120 million copies sold
Best Selling Books: The Little Prince
3. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
A hauntingly beautiful novella that addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss through the life-story of a little prince from space (asteroid B 612) told to the author (a stranded philosophical pilot) as he struggles to escape from the desert – by writer, poet, journalist and aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Published 1943 // 93 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,232,400 reviews on Goodreads
100 million copies sold
4. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
Published 1939 // 264 pages // Rated 4.3 over 730,900 reviews on Goodreads
100 million copies sold
5. Dream of the Red Chamber – Cao Xueqin
Published 1791 // 352 pages // Rated 4.1 over 3,500 reviews on Goodreads
100 million copies sold
Best Selling Books: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1)
6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia, #1) – C.S. Lewis
The first of 7 Chronicles of Narnia books, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a stunning work of escapism that bridges 1940s war-torn England to a magical kingdom locked in an epic contest of good against evil – by best-selling author and theologian, C.S. Lewis.
Published 1950 // 206 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,085,000 reviews on Goodreads
85 million copies sold
7. She – H. Rider Haggard
A History of Adventure (She, #1)
Published 1886 // 317 pages // Rated 3.6 over 11,500 reviews on Goodreads
83 million copies sold
8. Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi
Published 1883 // 262 pages // Rated 3.9 over 72,700 reviews on Goodreads
80 million copies sold
9. The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2) – Dan Brown
Published 2003 // 489 pages // Rated 3.9 over 2,056,000 reviews on Goodreads
80 million copies sold
10. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) – J.K. Rowling
Published 1998 // 341 pages // Rated 4.4 over 2,537,900 reviews on Goodreads
77 million copies sold
11. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) – J.K. Rowling
Published 1999 // 435 pages // Rated 4.6 over 2,580,500 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) – J.K. Rowling
Published 2000 // 734 pages // Rated 4.6 over 2,406,100 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) – J.K. Rowling
Published 2003 // 870 pages // Rated 4.5 over 2,340,100 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) – J.K. Rowling
Published 2005 // 652 pages // Rated 4.6 over 2,131,000 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) – J.K. Rowling
Published 2007 // 759 pages // Rated 4.6 over 2,396,000 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
16. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
Published 1951 // 277 pages // Rated 3.8 over 2,463,300 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
17. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Published 1988 // 197 pages // Rated 3.9 over 1,708,300 reviews on Goodreads
65 million copies sold
18. The Bridges of Madison County – Robert James Waller
Published 1992 // 224 pages // Rated 3.6 over 86,400 reviews on Goodreads
60 million copies sold
19. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
Published 1908 // 320 pages // Rated 4.3 over 679,800 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
20. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
Published 1952 // 184 pages // Rated 4.2 over 1,337,500 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
21. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez
Published 1967 // 417 pages // Rated 4.1 over 648,000 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
22. Heidi – Johanna Spyri
Published 1880 // 352 pages // Rated 4.0 over 180,400 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
23. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
Published 1980 // 536 pages // Rated 4.1 over 258,800 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
24. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
Published 1877 // 245 pages // Rated 4.0 over 252,800 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
25. Watership Down (Watership Down, #1) – Richard Adams
Published 1972 // 478 pages // Rated 4.1 over 348,600 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
26. The Eagle Has Landed (Liam Devlin, #1) – Jack Higgins
Published 1975 // 352 pages // Rated 4.2 over 56,300 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
27. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
Published 1955 // 417 pages // Rated 3.9 over 579,200 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
28. Ben-Hur – Lew Wallace
A Tale of the Christ
Published 2007 // 620 pages // Rated 4.0 over 33,800 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
29. The Ginger Man – J.P. Donleavy
Published 1955 // 347 pages // Rated 3.6 over 10,100 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
30. The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
Published 1901 // 72 pages // Rated 4.2 over 221,500 reviews on Goodreads
45 million copies sold
31. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
Published 1969 // 26 pages // Rated 4.3 over 430,700 reviews on Goodreads
43 million copies sold
32. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
Published 1970 // 112 pages // Rated 3.8 over 171,300 reviews on Goodreads
43 million copies sold
33. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Published 1960 // 324 pages // Rated 4.3 over 4,240,100 reviews on Goodreads
40 million copies sold
34. Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder
Published 1991 // 403 pages // Rated 3.9 over 194,400 reviews on Goodreads
40 million copies sold
35. Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1) – V.C. Andrews
Published 1979 // 389 pages // Rated 3.8 over 175,600 reviews on Goodreads
40 million copies sold
36. Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, #1) – Dan Brown
Published 2000 // 736 pages // Rated 3.9 over 2,834,800 reviews on Goodreads
39 million copies sold
37. Kane & Abel (Kane & Abel, #1) – Jeffrey Archer
Published 1971 // 592 pages // Rated 4.3 over 107,400 reviews on Goodreads
37 million copies sold
38. How the Steel Was Tempered – Nikolai Ostrovsky
Published 1932 // 376 pages // Rated 3.9 over 3,500 reviews on Goodreads
36.4 million copies sold
39. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Published 1867 // 1,392 pages // Rated 4.1 over 248,600 reviews on Goodreads
36 million copies sold
40. The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough
Published 1977 // 692 pages // Rated 4.2 over 302,200 reviews on Goodreads
33 million copies sold
41. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Published 2003 // 371 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,604,500 reviews on Goodreads
31.5 million copies sold
42. Valley of the Dolls – Jacqueline Susann
Published 1966 // 448 pages // Rated 3.8 over 53,000 reviews on Goodreads
31 million copies sold
43. Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
An epic coming of age and historical romance novel, Gone With the Wind paints a stunning portrait of the hardships endured and created by the young daughter of a wealthy plantation owner as she fights for survival against the chaos of pre-, during- and post-civil war Georgia – by novelist and journalist, Margaret Mitchell.
Published 1936 // 1,037 pages // Rated 4.3 over 1,037,700 reviews on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
44. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
Published 1938 // 449 pages // Rated 4.2 over 417,800 reviews on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
45. 1984 – George Orwell
Published 1949 // 237 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,055,100 reviews on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
46. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published 1925 // 180 pages // Rated 3.9 over 3,548,900 reviews on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
47. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
Published 2005 // 465 pages // Rated 4.1 over 2,251,500 reviews on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
48. The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3) – Dan Brown
Published 2009 // 509 pages // Rated 3.7 over 554,900 reviews on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
49. The Revolt of Mamie Stover – William Bradford Huie
Published 1959 // pages // Rated 3.8 over on Goodreads
30 million copies sold
50. The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) – Suzanne Collins
Published 2008 // 374 pages // Rated 4.3 over 6,881,700 reviews on Goodreads
29 million copies sold
51. James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl
Published 1961 // 146 pages // Rated 4.0 over 411,500 reviews on Goodreads
28 million copies sold
52. The Young Guard – Alexander Fadeyev
Published 1945 // pages // Rated 3.7 over 300 reviews on Goodreads
26 million copies sold
53. Lust for Life – Irving Stone
Published 1934 // 431 pages // Rated 4.2 over 25,400 reviews on Goodreads
25 million copies sold
54. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Published 1908 // 256 pages // Rated 4.0 over 168,800 reviews on Goodreads
25 million copies sold
55. Paul et Virginie – Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
Published 1787 // 222 pages // Rated 3.8 over 5,800 reviews on Goodreads
25 million copies sold
56. Virgin Soil Upturned – Mikhail Sholokhov
Published 1932 // 375 pages // Rated 4.0 over 400 reviews on Goodreads
24 million copies sold
57. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Published 2012 // 313 pages // Rated 4.2 over 3,929,200 reviews on Goodreads
23 million copies sold
58. The Celestine Prophecy (Celestine Prophecy, #1) – James Redfield
Published 1993 // 247 pages // Rated 3.7 over 102,000 reviews on Goodreads
23 million copies sold
59. The Shack – William Paul Young
Published 2007 // 294 pages // Rated 3.8 over 572,700 reviews on Goodreads
22 million copies sold
60. The Godfather – Mario Puzo
Published 1964 // 448 pages // Rated 4.4 over 311,000 reviews on Goodreads
21 million copies sold
61. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) – Suzanne Collins
Published 2009 // 391 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,758,400 reviews on Goodreads
21 million copies sold
62. Love Story (Love Story, #1) – Erich Segal
Published 1970 // 224 pages // Rated 3.6 over 54,800 reviews on Goodreads
21 million copies sold
63. Дядя Степа – Sergey Mikhalkov
Published 1988 // 61 pages // Rated 3.9 over on Goodreads
21 million copies sold
64. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The unforgettable, ever-popular and genre-defining love-story story of the 19th century. It’s over 200 years old and Pride and Prejudice is still as fresh, charming and unputdownable as the day it was first published – by best-selling author, Jane Austin.
Published 1813 // 279 pages // Rated 4.3 over 2,797,800 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
65. Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1) – Frank Herbert
Published 1965 // 604 pages // Rated 4.2 over 728,700 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
66. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
Published 1963 // 37 pages // Rated 4.2 over 774,900 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
67. Love You Forever – Robert Munsch
Published 1986 // 32 pages // Rated 4.4 over 192,500 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
68. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Published 1964 // 176 pages // Rated 4.1 over 722,200 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
69. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
Published 1929 // 296 pages // Rated 4.0 over 327,200 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
70. Animal Farm – George Orwell
Published 1945 // 144 pages // Rated 3.9 over 2,307,500 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
71. The Good Soldier Švejk – Jaroslav Hašek
Published 1923 // 752 pages // Rated 4.1 over 16,300 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
72. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Published 1884 // 327 pages // Rated 3.8 over 1,072,600 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
73. Jaws (Jaws #1) – Peter Benchley
Published 1974 // 320 pages // Rated 4.0 over 146,800 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
74. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Published 2012 // 560 pages // Rated 4.1 over 2,522,100 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
75. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) – Suzanne Collins
Published 2010 // 398 pages // Rated 4.1 over 2,554,000 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
76. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
Published 1959 // 209 pages // Rated 3.7 over 256,500 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
77. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 – Sue Townsend
Published 1982 // 272 pages // Rated 3.9 over 44,400 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
78. Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
Published 1988 // 160 pages // Rated 3.9 over 56,400 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
79. The Women’s Room – Marilyn French
Published 1977 // 526 pages // Rated 4.0 over 8,100 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
80. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
Published 2015 // 325 pages // Rated 3.9 over 2,331,100 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
81. Fear of Flying – Erica Jong
Published 1973 // 461 pages // Rated 3.5 over 19,400 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
82. Wolf Totem – Jiang Rong
Published 2004 // 527 pages // Rated 4.1 over 4,000 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
83. Andromeda Nebula – Ivan Efremov
Published 1957 // 368 pages // Rated 3.4 over 400 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold

The 20 Best Selling Books of Nonfiction

Below you’ll find my list of the 80+ best selling books of nonfiction all time.

Want a more structured view? Check out this ranked list of the 100+ best nonfiction books of all time or this list of 30+ incredible must read books.

Best Selling Books: Think and Grow Rich
1. Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill (FREE Summary)
A best-selling book of all time and a cornerstone guide to the Law of Attraction and the role of the subconscious in transforming your life – by a titan of the self-help genre, Napoleon Hill.
Published 1937 // 233 pages // Rated 4.2 over 187,900 reviews on Goodreads
75 million copies sold
2. You Can Heal Your Life – Louise L. Hay
Published 1984 // 253 pages // Rated 4.1 over 68,800 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
3. Baby and Child Care – Benjamin Spock
Published 1946 // 992 pages // Rated 3.8 over 2,000 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
4. The Hite Report – Shere Hite
Published 1976 // 638 pages // Rated 3.8 over 700 reviews on Goodreads
50 million copies sold
5. Cosmos – Carl Sagan (Summary)
Published 1980 // 384 pages // Rated 4.4 over 107,700 reviews on Goodreads
40 million copies sold
6. A Message to Garcia – Elbert Hubbard
Published 1899 // 48 pages // Rated 3.7 over 1,600 reviews on Goodreads
40 million copies sold
7. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
Published 1947 // 283 pages // Rated 4.2 over 2,671,000 reviews on Goodreads
35 million copies sold
8. Your Erroneous Zones – Wayne W. Dyer
Published 1976 // 320 pages // Rated 4.0 over 13,800 reviews on Goodreads
35 million copies sold
9. The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren
What on Earth Am I Here for?
Published 2002 // 334 pages // Rated 3.9 over 216,000 reviews on Goodreads
33 million copies sold
10. Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson (FREE Summary)
A short, light-hearted parable about the different ways we respond to life’s changes and how doing so skillfully can help us find more success and happines in our lives – by best-selling author, Dr. Spencer Johnson.
Published 1998 // 96 pages // Rated 3.8 over 331,600 reviews on Goodreads
26 million copies sold
11. A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking (Summary)
Published 1988 // 212 pages // Rated 4.2 over 272,900 reviews on Goodreads
25 million copies sold
12. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey (FREE Summary)
Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
A perennial masterpiece on leading a happy, productive and purposeful existence and an unmissable stop for any pilgrim of personal improvement – by educator, author and speaker, Stephen Covey.
Published 1989 // 372 pages // Rated 4.1 over 500,100 reviews on Goodreads
25 million copies sold
13. Autobiography of a Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda
Published 1946 // 520 pages // Rated 4.2 over 45,300 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
14. The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale (Summary)
Published 1952 // 128 pages // Rated 4.2 over 81,600 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
15. Kon-Tiki – Thor Heyerdahl
Published 1948 // 240 pages // Rated 4.1 over 20,700 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
16. The Naked Ape – Desmond Morris
Published 1967 // 256 pages // Rated 4.0 over 9,600 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
17. What to Expect When You’re Expecting – Heidi Murkoff
Published 1969 // 597 pages // Rated 3.8 over 46,100 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
18. The Secret (The Secret, #1) – Rhonda Byrne
Published 2006 // 199 pages // Rated 3.7 over 291,200 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
19. The Happy Hooker – Xaviera Hollander
My Own Story
Published 1972 // 304 pages // Rated 3.4 over 3,400 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold
20. The Bermuda Triangle – Charles Berlitz
Published 1973 // pages // Rated 3.2 over 1,400 reviews on Goodreads
20 million copies sold

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Arthur Worsley
I founded TAoL to discover and share the best wisdom on how to live long and prosper. Before that I studied Psychology, Philosophy & Physiology at Oxford and consulted at McKinsey. Still curious? Learn more or take my FREE productivity quiz.

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