This page provides lists of best-selling single-volume books and book series to date and in any language. "Best selling" refers to the estimated number of copies sold of each book, rather than the number of books printed or currently owned. Comics and textbooks are not included in this list. The books are listed according to the highest sales estimate as reported in reliable, independent sources. This list is incomplete because there are many books, such as The Three Musketeers, Les Misérables, and The Adventures of Pinocchio, that are commonly cited as "best-selling books" yet have no reliable sales figures because of the many public domain re-releases.
According to Guinness World Records, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed. However, the Quotations from Chairman Mao, also known as the Little Red Book, has produced a wide array of sales and distribution figures — with some sources claiming over 6.5 billion printed volumes, others claiming the distribution ran into the "billions," and others citing "over a billion" official volumes between 1966 and 1969 alone as well as "untold numbers of unofficial local reprints and unofficial translations." The Qur'an is also widely reported to be one of the most printed and distributed books worldwide, with billions of copies believed to be in existence. Exact print figures for these and other books may also be missing or unreliable since these kinds of books may be produced by many different and unrelated publishers, in some cases over many centuries. All books of a religious, ideological, philosophical or political nature have been excluded from this list of best-selling books for these reasons.
^Some confusion and controversy is commonly attached to the publication data for Le Petit Prince. Saint-Exupéry, its author, spoke almost no English and wrote exclusively in French. His handwritten (and almost illegible) French manuscript was converted by his secretary into a French typescript, which he submitted to his New York City publisher Reynal & Hitchcock in late 1942, which was then translated to English by their own translator. The story was first published in New York City in English in April 1943, followed a week later by its French counterpart. It was also licensed for publication in other countries by Reynal & Hitchcock before being published by Saint-Exupéry's normal publisher in France after the end of the Second World War. Le Petit Prince would not be published in France until its liberation, with Gallimard's first French printing in November 1945, which they say they did not release for sale until 1946. In approximately 1947 Gallimard sued Reynal & Hitchcock claiming it had an 'exclusive' publishing agreement with Saint-Exupéry (who was killed during the war), and later reached a rights agreement with them.
^ on The Alchemist: "The Alchemist has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, won 115 international prizes and awards, has been translated into 80 languages, and is still on the New York Times bestseller list today, 25 years after its initial publication." (4 Sept 2016)
^ abcdefghiDavies, Helen; Dorfman, Marjorie; Fons, Mary; Hawkins, Deborah; Hintz, Martin; Lundgren, Linnea; Priess, David; Clark Robinson, Julia; Seaburn, Paul; Stevens, Heidi; Theunissen, Steve (14 September 2007). "21 Best-Selling Books of All Time". Editors of Publications International, Ltd. Archived from the original on 7 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
^The Telegraphy on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: "This classic story has sold more than 85 million copies in 29 different languages since its publication in 1950." (3 April 2010)
^San José Mercury News on The Da Vinci Code: "That earlier book has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, was adapted into a movie and made hits out of Brown's previous novels, including "Angels & Demons," whose film version is now in theaters." (5 June 2009)
^Forbes on Think and Grow Rich: "It has sold more than 70 million copies since its publication in 1937 and continues to sell robustly today." (March 2011)
^ABC Australia on Heidi: "Johanna Spyri's story has been translated into fifty languages and sold fifty million copies, but the marketing juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down - fat from it. Heidi now has her own theme park." (5 August 2002)
^ abcdeThe Top 10 of Everything 2002 by Russell Ash
^Reuters on Anne of Green Gables: ""Anne of Green Gables" has sold more than 50 million copies and been translated into 20 languages, according to Penguin." (19 March 2008)
^The Times on Black Beauty: "Fifty million copies of Black Beauty have been sold in the years since Anna Sewell's publisher paid her £20 for the story." (29 February 2008)
^Daily Mail on The Hite Report: "Author of the groundbreaking 1976 Hite Report: A Nationwide Study Of Female Sexuality, Shere Hite has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide." (06 December 2007)
^Pocono Record on Charlotte's Web: " It has sold over 50 million copies, been translated into 23 languages, and shown in three major movie versions." (06 July 2007)
^Sunday World on The Ginger Man: "Donleavy, who lives near Mullingar, has previously rejected repeated attempts by Hollywood to make a film version of his book, which has sold 50 million copies worldwide and been translated into 18 languages." (5 August 2008)
^The Sydney Morning Herald on The Bridges of Madison County: "It stayed on The New York Times' bestseller list for more than three years and has sold 50 million copies." (25 January 2014)
^People on Flowers in the Attic: "Since the late 1970s, Andrews's Flowers novel has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, has been translated into 22 languages and was banned by schools across the country – all while being passed from bunk to bunk at sleepaway camp." (17 January 2014)
^Repubblica Italiana on Le Avventure di pinocchio: "“The Adventures of Pinocchio” translated in more of 260 languages." (1 July 2001)
^The New York Times on You Can Heal Your Life: "“You Can Heal Your Life” immediately landed on the New York Times best-seller list. More than 35 million copies are now in print around the world." (4 May 2008)
^ABC News on The Late, Great Planet Earth: "Hal Lindsey's "The Late Great Planet Earth" was one of the best-selling nonfiction works of the 1970s, according to The New York Times, with publishers shipping out more than 35 million copies in 52 languages." (6 June 2006)
^The Guardian on Kane and Abel: "Kane and Abel, first published in 1979, is Archer's bestselling novel – Pan says it has sold around 34m copies worldwide." (15 June 2009)
^The Daily Mail on Gone with the Wind: "The book has sold more than 30 million copies in the decades since the publication of Margaret Mitchell's gripping tale of the Old South gasping its last breath, as the U.S. was torn apart by Civil War and its bitter aftermath." (4 April 2008)
^Fox News on Het Achterhuis: "Thirty million copies of her diary have been sold, and it has been translated into 65 languages. " (29 March 2007)
^ABC News on The Purpose-Driven Life: "His book, "The Purpose Driven Life," has been translated into 56 languages and has sold 30 million copies." (7 March 2007)
^Wales Online on The Thorn Birds: "Her original novel, published in 1977 following a battle between two publishing houses that both wanted the manuscript, has sold around 30 million copies worldwide." (11 April 2009)]
^The Columbus Dispatch on The Wind in the Willows: "More than 25 million copies of the book have been sold in 70 countries since 1908, according to the Copyrights Group, which is presently promoting a new edition." (4 May 2008)
^The Philadelphia Inquirer on Nineteen Eighty-Four: "Nineteen Eighty-Four has sold 25 million copies, is still read in high school and college, and remains the best-known example of anti-utopian literature." (22 June 2009)
^Forbes on Covey: "Stephen Covey will be remembered most as the author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which sold over 25 million copies." (16 July 2012)
^The Age on The Celestine Prophecy: "it has sold in the vicinity of 23 million copies since its publication in 1993" (22 March 2008
^The Toronto Star on Mario Puzo: "According to the Official Mario Puzo Library website, the book sold 21 million copies in hardback and paper by 1997." (21 July 2007)
^Playbill on Love Story: "Erich Segal's best-selling novel, which has sold 21 million copies worldwide in 33 languages[...]" (23 July 2010)
^The Financial Times on Wolf Totem: "Since it first appeared in 2004, Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem has sold as many as 20 million copies." (15 March 2008)
^The Philadelphia Inquirer on The Happy Hooker: "He said he found it fascinating that her book, which has sold 20 million copies to date, is still being picked up today." (26 June 2008)
^The Times on Jaws: "Jaws stayed for 40 weeks in the bestseller charts of The New York Times, eventually selling 20 million copies [...]" (13 February 2006)
^The Huntsville Forester on Love You Forever: "The children’s classic Love You Forever has sold over 20 million copies worldwide and is in its 65th printing." (29 October 2008)
^CBC on The Women's Room: "It sold 20 million copies and was widely translated, despite poor reviews." (5 May 2009)
^The Australian on What to Expect When You're Expecting: "What to Expect When You're Expecting, in its fourth edition, was first published in 1984 and has sold more than 20 million copies." (27 October 2010)
^New York Times Upfront on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: "This year marks the 125th anniversary of the publication of Huckleberry Finn in the U.S., and the book is still selling—more than 20 million copies worldwide to date—and still generating controversy." (10 March 2010)
^John J. Miller on Thor Heyerdahl on National Review Online on Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft: ""Our intention was to test the performance and quality of the Inca raft, its seaworthiness and loading capacity, and to ascertain whether the elements would really propel it across the sea to Polynesia with its crew still on board," he wrote in Kon-Tiki, a book that has sold 20 million copies." (April 19, 2002)
^USA Today on Where the Wild Things are: "More than 20 million copies have been sold in 32 languages." (November 21, 2013)
^The New York Times on The Power of Positive Thinking: "Ruth Stafford Peale, the author's widow (he died last Christmas Eve) feels that the book is as viable today as it was 20 million copies ago." (May 31, 1994)
^The Salvation Army on The Shack: "Today, there are more than 20 million copies of The Shack in print, in 40 languages." (10 March 2012)
^Belfast Telegraph on The Secret: "Publishers Simon & Schuster expect sales to be on a par with -- if not bigger than -- 'The Secret', which has so far notched up 20 million copies in 46 languages." (19 August 2010)
^Washington Post on Fear of Flying: "It has been 40 years since “Fear” and its glamorous author landed like feminist blonde bombshells on American culture, selling 20 million copies here and abroad." (7 October 2013)
^Macmillan on Dune: "Today the novel is more popular than ever, with new readers continually discovering it and telling their friends to pick up a copy. It has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold almost 20 million copies;"
^OBITUARY: Michael Ende - People - News - The Independent on The Neverending Story: "Translated into 30 languages and selling over 16 million copies, it starts when 10-year-old Bastian, overweight and undervalued, decides he will read a fantastic book rather than endure another day's bullying at school." (Friday 01 September 1995)
^CBS on Ken Follett: "But since it was published in 1989, "The Pillars of the Earth" has become an international sensation, selling 15 million copies worldwide." (7 October 2007)
^The Financial Post on Dale Carnegie: "Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, the gold standard of the genre, has sold more than 15 million copies since it was first published in 1937." (5 April 2008)
^The Patriot Ledger on Perfume: "Yet the scene, like the movie, is so daring, so challenging, you cannot help but respect Tykwer’s unerring desire to remain true to the source novel, a book that has sold 15 million copies and has been credited with inspiring Kurt Cobain to write the Nirvana classic ‘‘Scentless Apprentice.’’" (5 January 2007)
^The Forres Gazette on The Horse Whisperer: "Mr Evans is the author of "The Horse Whisperer", which sold 15 million copies worldwide and was made into a Hollywood film in 1998 directed by and starring Robert Redford." (10 September 2008)
^Irish Times on The Shadow of the Wind: "[...]his novel The Shadow of the Wind has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, writes Arminta Wallace" (13 June 2009)
^The International Herald Tribune on Follow Your Heart: "But Susanna Tamaro's "Follow Your Heart," the biggest selling Italian postwar novel, with more than 14 million copies sold, according to its publisher, Baldini Castoldi, as it was known then, sold barely 25,000 copies in the United States." (3 August 2008)
^The Wall Street Journal on A Wrinkle in Time: "Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has sold 14 million copies since its publication in 1962." (16 April 2015)
^Fox News on The Outsiders: "According to Viking, a division of Penguin Group USA, "The Outsiders" has sold more than 13 million copies and still sells more than 500,000 a year." (29 September 2007)
^Associated Press on Norwegian Wood: "More than 10 million copies of the book have been sold in Japan alone, with 2.6 million more sold in another 33 languages." (2 September 2010)
^The Toronto Star on Grace Metalious: "It sold 100,000 copies in its first month and went on to sell another 12 million copies, was made into a film and eventually into a prime-time television series that made the young Mia Farrow a star." (21 July 2007)
^China View on La Peste: "Translated into 28 languages, the book has sold more than 12 million copies around the world." (9 April 2008)
^The Standard on Chinua Achebe: "That Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, would sell about 11 million copies in about 45 languages?" (14 March 2008)
^Joan Acocella (January 7, 2008). "Prophet Motive". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 21, 2014. Since its publication, in 1923, “The Prophet” has sold more than nine million copies in its American edition alone.
^The Wall Street Journal on The Exorcist: "Back in the 1970s, those smaller, rack-sized paperbacks were the blockbusters of the business, led by such best sellers as William Peter Blatty's "The Exorcist" (11 million copies sold); Peter Benchley's "Jaws" (more than nine million copies), and Sidney Sheldon's "The Other Side of Midnight" (six million copies plus)." (14 September 2007)
^The Telegraph on The Gruffalo: "The Gruffalo has sold more than 10.5 million copies, been adapted for stage in both the West End and Broadway, and in 2009 was made into a 30-minute animated film" (3April 2010)
^The Telegraph on Stephen Hawking: "Prof Hawking is the author of A Brief History of Time — which has sold 10 million copies — and is currently writing two books." (27 April 2007)
^The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on The Cat in the Hat: "There are more than 10 million copies in print today in more than a dozen languages, including the Latin, "Cattus Petasatus."" (14 April 2007)
^TVNZ on The Lovely Bones: "Published in 2002, Lovely Bones is the second novel by Alice Sebold, and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide, remaining on the New York Times hardback bestseller list for over a year." (5 May 2007)
^The Telegraph on Wild Swans: "Selling more than 10 million copies and topping the "most borrowed historical biography" chart in British libraries year after year, it proved a publishing phenomenon" (21 July 2007)
^Britannica on Santa Evita: "Martínez was best known as the author of two classics of Argentine and Latin American literature: La novela de Perón (1985, The Perón Novel, 1988) and Santa Evita (1995, Eng. trans., 1995); the latter was translated into 30 languages and sold more than 10 million copies." (22 November 2007)
^The New York Times on Night: "Indeed, since it appeared in 1960, “Night” has sold an estimated 10 million copies — three million of them since Winfrey chose the book in January 2006 (and traveled with Wiesel to Auschwitz)." (20 January 2008)
^The Times on The Kite Runner: "His first novel, The Kite Runner, sold 10 million copies." (11 April 2008)
^ABC News on The Total Woman: "One of the first books to address the issue was Marabel Morgan's "The Total Woman," which sold more than 10 million copies to women of all religious persuasions, making it the best-selling nonfiction book of 1974." (15 April 2008)
^U.S. News & World Report on What Color is Your Parachute: "Today, Parachute is one of the all-time bestselling careers books, with more than 10 million copies of 37 editions snapped up since 1970. " (1 October 2008)
^The Toronto Star on The Dukan Diet: "The book has sold 10 million copies worldwide, but didn’t really make an impression on North America until [...]" (18 April 2011)
^BBC Magazine on The Joy of Sex: "The Joy of Sex ended up selling more than 10 million copies around the world - more than five million in the United States alone, where it stayed in the New York Times best-seller list for a decade." (26 October 2011).
^ on The Gospel according to Peanuts: "The Gospel according to Peanuts ended up selling more than 10 million copies around the world."
^ on Life of Pi: "It was based on a popular novel by Yann Martel that has sold more than 10 million copies around the world."
^New Trailer hits for 'The Giver' on The Giver: "The film is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide."
^Author Examines Gay Athletes on The Front Runner: "The Front Runner long ago leapt from the shelves of so-called 'gay fiction' to become one of the best-selling novels of recent times, selling 10 million copies in eight languages."
^The BBC on Harry Potter: "The Harry Potter novels have sold more than 450 million copies through Bloomsbury in Britain, and Scholastic in the United States." (23 June 2011)
^Bookseller on Goosebumps: "Goosebumps is the second- bestselling series of all time globally, selling over 350 million books across 32 languages [...]" (14 October 2014)
^Variety on the Berenstain Bears: "The company also is offering a new animated series based on the Berenstain Bears, the hugely popular children's brand that has sold more than 260 million books worldwide." (7 April 2002)
^The Globe and Mail on Choose Your Own Adventure: "The Choose Your Own Adventure DVD movies are adaptations of the original books, which sold more than 250 million copies. " (22 August 2006)
^Forbes on Sweet Valley High: "But despite 250 million copies in print, in 25 languages, Sweet Valley's sugar rush has been on the decline. " (28 October 2002)
^Kelly, Keith (18 November 2015). "'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' boasts strong worldwide sales". New York Post. Retrieved 14 December 2015. The serial chronicles middle schooler Gregory Heffley and his troubles with family, friends, and school. Author Jeff Kinney, with 164 million copies in print, is a reluctant author, having first aspired to be a newspaper cartoonist, but it did not work out.
^The Wall Street Journal on the Star Wars books: "According to a Random House spokesman, the publisher has more than 160 million copies of "Star Wars" books in print." (1 April 2005)
^The Lord of the Rings is considered by most people to be a single book, because it was written and planned by the author to be such. It is written in the preface to many editions that the book is sometimes 'erroneously' referred to as a trilogy, and goes on to state that it is one book in three volumes. Some people consider it to instead be a trilogy or series of three books, because it was originally published as a series of three volumes: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Lord of the Rings, Waterstones.com: This move by the publishing house was due largely to post-war paper shortages as well as to minimize the price of the first volume to aid sales.
Wagner, Vit. "Tolkien proves he's still the king", The Toronto Star, 16 April 2007: In subsequent printings the book has sometimes appeared as a single volume, and in at least one case was split into seven. The figure of 150 million is a 2007 estimate of copies of the full story sold, whether published as one volume, three, or some other configuration.
^Mercer Mayer, HarperCollins, retrieved 24 October 2014, His most recognized character, the lovable and charismatic Little Critter®, was born in 1975 in the book Just for You. Mercer's Little Critter has since starred in more than two hundred books, which have sold over one hundred and fifty million copies.
^USA Today on James Patterson's Alex Cross by the numbers: "81 million: Copies sold of series, starting with Along Came a Spider in 1993.""with Alex, it just seems to come together so naturally that I've kept him for myself. I suppose you could say Alex is the co-author." (27 November 2013)
^Amazon on Terry Pratchett: "Sir Terry Pratchett was the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he was the author of fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. Worldwide sales of his books now stand at 70 million, and they have been translated into thirty-seven languages. Sir Terry Pratchett died on 12th March 2015.
^Lexington Herald-Leader on the Magic Tree House series: "The series has sold 70 million copies in North America and has been translated into 28 different languages in 31 countries." (25 November 2010)
^Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye (2001-09-11). "Home". Left Behind. Retrieved 2009-08-31.
^The Globe and Mail on A Series of Unfortunate Events: "whose 13 “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books for children have sold an astonishing 65 million copies." (10 January 2012)
^The Green Bay Press Gazette on Little House on the Prairie: "If there was any doubt that a love for "Little House is an everlasting one, consider not only that 60 million copies of the Wisconsin-born Wilder's books have been sold since 1932[...]" (24 July 2010)
^The Belfast Telegraph on the Jack Reacher books: "2012 marks a landmark year for Lee Child, whose Jack Reacher thrillers have now sold in excess of 60 million copies worldwide." (7 September 2012)
^Variety on Where's Waldo: "The books have sold more than 55 million copies in more than 38 countries and been translated into more than 30 languages" (7 November 2011)
^The Star on the Mars Venus series: " You must be from another planet if you have not heard of Gray and his Mars Venus universe. Fifty million of his books have been sold in 40 different languages." (24 February 2008)
^However further 'Foundation' books were written by Asimov from 1982, extending the direct series to seven books, however these four further novels tell two largely independent stories. Ultimately many of Asimov's works join to form a single time line encompassing 20,000 years of future-history. To further add the extent of the series, a 'Second Foundation Trilogy' of books by contemporary Sci-Fi writers also explicitly join with the series.
^The Stage on Horrible Histories: "[...] based on the hugely successful (20 million copies sold worldwide) series of children’s books by Terry Deary, who also wrote this adaptation." (1 October 2008)
^Brandeton.com on Rainbow Magic: "A publishing phenomenon, “Rainbow Magic” has sold 20+ million copies in 31 languages worldwide, including over 6 million books in print in the U.S." (23 November 2010)
^BBC on Alexander McCall Smith: "His books, featuring the unconventional No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, have sold 15 million copies in English, not counting the 42 languages they've been published in elsewhere." 7 March 2008
^The New York Times on His Dark Materials: "His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman's trilogy inspired by Paradise Lost, has sold 15 million copies worldwide, while the film version of the first volume, The Golden Compass, has earned more than $150 million." (13 January 2008)
^Extrapolation for global range of other language publications, and related to the number of Scouts, make a realistic estimate of 100 to 150 million books.Jeal, Tim. Baden-Powell. London: Hutchinson. ISBN0-09-170670-X.
^"Guinness World Records earmarks licensing growth", Licensing, 26 October 2010, The Guinness Book of World Records has been published in 30 languages in more than 100 countries and has sold in excess of 115 million copies, becoming the biggest selling copyright book of all time..
^The Telegraph on the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: "Thirty million copies of the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary have been sold since it was first published in 1948. " (3 June 2005)
^Akron Beacon Journal on The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book: While the title of the book is actually Alcoholics Anonymous, the members of AA refer to it as the Big Book. This is the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA's text on how to stay sober. "And this year is also the 70th anniversary of the publication of A.A.'s Big Book, which has sold nearly 30 million copies since 1939." (11 June 2009)
^Twelve Step Programs Worldwide about "Alcoholics Anonymous", the book affectionately known as "The Big Book". The 25 millionth copy of the Big Book was published in 2005, and about 1 million copies are sold each year. This means that as at 2010 there have been about 30 million copies sold, ranking it high on the list of best-selling books ever. More impressive still, it has sold this many copies even though it is available free online in English, Spanish and French - links provided."