The Top 10 Most Popular Books Of All Time

The top 10 most popular books of all time.



We live in the age of advanced technology. Our everyday lives are overwhelmed by shining lights, electronic cigarettes, iPads and iPhones. However, the weight of the written word seems to fascinate even humans of the 21st century. Some of these books continue being sold and read, in millions, tens, hundreds and thousands of years after they were first published.

1. The Bible

With over 3 billion copies sold, this holy text tops all lists of this particular category. Some readers might argue this as an inaccurate listing, due to the fact that there is not one particular book called The Bible. Instead, it consists of a collection of ancient religious texts which have been divided into 100+ different books. Among them are the famous 39 books of the Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) and the 27 books of the New Testament. Even though these 66 books represent the basic, fundamental beliefs of Christianity, some particular churches, such as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, have added tens of other books to the original Biblical texts.

2. The Qur’an

After reading about The Bible, it doesn’t take much more than a small amount of logical thinking to conclude that the second most sold book of all time would beThe Qur’an, the holy text of Islam. It originally consisted of many different religious texts which were regarded as the direct words of Allah. Shortly after the death of prophet Muhammad, The Qur’an’s teachings were compiled into a single book. Technically, due to the fact that it consists of one singular text, The Qur’an should be considered the most popular book of all time, with over 1.5 billion copies sold world wide.

3. Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung by Mao Tse-Tung

The rise of the Chinese Communist Party to power marked the beginning of a new era in China, an era of cultural revolution as the Party’s leaders referred to it. It was an era filled with major propaganda movements, designed for one sole purpose; to brainwash the Chinese population into believing that they were being led by a brilliant, fair and just man who had dedicated his life to serving the people of China. They were taught to love him, admire and worship him. Over time, slowly and steadily, Mao Tse-Tung was inevitably shaped into the image of a God living among men. His speeches, teachings and writings were memorized and recited over and over. Eventually, they were dotted down on ink and paper. Obviously, those who worshiped Mao bought the book. Those who didn’t worship their leader, were far too afraid not to buy the book. Children and students were forced to buy the book. It became the Chinese equivalent to a Christian Bible. Every home, office and classroom was fully equipped with plenty of copies. And now, approximately half a century later, Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung still holds a firm position in our list, with over 800 million copies sold.

4. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

We stumble upon yet another listing which might be inaccurate to some, so to speak. Since they were first introduced to the public, the seven Harry Potter books have marked the beginning of a new age for the lovers of magic and the fantasy genre. J.K. Rowling might as well have the most wonderful success story of all times. An idea that sparked in her head during a train ride made a 180 degree spin on her life. In the course of a few years, Rowling, who was once purchasing her writing tools with a state welfare check, became one of the richest women on the British island. Today, over 450 million book sales later, Rowling’s net worth has been estimated by Forbes magazine at approximately $1 billion.

5. Xinhua Zidian

Being responsible for 1/6 of the Earth’s population certainly helps a nation when it comes to mass cultural sales. This particular dictionary also holds another type of record besides that of the 5th most popular book of all time; it is also the most popular reference work of all time. This pocket size book consists of over 11,000 literal characters of the Chinese language, or logograms, as they are widely referred to. Over a dozen updated versions have been published since the original was first introduced to the public in 1953. The latest, the 10th edition, was made available in stores in 2004. Up to this day, the Xinhua Zidian has been printed and sold more than 400 million times.

6. “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens

Sure enough, the story takes place in two major European cities, London and Paris, during the years of the French Revolution. Famous for their aristocracy, delicate ways and romantic panoramas, London and Paris seemed like the perfect settings to unfold the novel about two upper class men who find themselves intertwined in constant social struggles. And they were. The first part of the weekly series was published in 1859, and nowadays, approximately 150 years later, this wonderful, soul touching story continues to hold a prestigious place among the most popular books of all time. Many years after its first publishing, the weekly series was complied into a single novel. With over 200 million copies sold, A Tale of Two Cities is the single most printed and read novel of all time.

7. The Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith, J.R.

Another sacred religious text securing a position on the list, what else is new? Similar to The Bible andThe Qur’an due to the fact that it represents the basic beliefs of a religious sect, The Book of Mormonalso differs from the other sacred literature texts. Unlike the books mentioned above, this one was written only 170 years ago. Joseph Smith did not claim to have met God in a marvelous, spectacular unveiling of shining light and thunder storms, unlike other ‘prophets’ before him. Instead, he claimed to have been visited by the angel Mormoni who redirected him on the path to finding the “golden plates”. In the Mormon faith, the “golden plates” are large, heavy metallic plates which are engraved in ancient Egyptian characters. In these engravements lay the fundamental teachings upon which the Mormon faith was founded. Smith is regarded as a prophet and the savior who dotted the ancient texts from the heavy plates into ink and paper. Little did he know, that almost two centuries in the future, his literary work would be considered one of the most popular books of all time, with over 150 million copies sold world wide.

8. “The Lord of The Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien

Another fantastic story of a magic, wonderful, far away world, full with hobbits, midgets, evil, good, death, destruction, love, monsters and knights in shiny armors. The novel consists of three series, which began as a sequel to The Hobbitand involuntary, slowly developed into something much more epic; a mystical story which would forever immortalize Frodo and the infamous ring. It has been roughly estimated that the sales of the three volumes total about 150 million copies.

9. “The Hobbit” by J. R. R. Tolkien

One of the most widely recognized pieces of children’s literature, the Hobbit served as a foundation for the development of story which would haunt fantasy lovers for the century to come. Children, as well as many adults, seemed to love indulging themselves in this mystical, dark world which was full of adventures and colorful characters. The Hobbit focuses around the life of one particular character and his struggled attempt to win the right to a treasure guarded by an almighty dragon. After it was first published in September of 1937, its popularity spread like an epidemic, almost overnight. The author received immense financial compensation and professional recognition by well known critics. Approximately 70 years and a few dozen awards later, The Hobbit continues to live up to its legacy, with over 100 million copies sold world wide.

10. “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie

On November 6th, 1939, Collins Crime Club would publish a book which would forever change the genre of mystery. It was one of the first, and without a doubt, the most well known, book which described the story of a dozen or so strangers, coming together in an alien structure, faced with clues and mysteries, and eventually, being killed one by one from an unknown character. This particular setting has served as the foundation for many recent horror releases from Hollywood, as well as foreign film industries. The last two places on our list are very much debatable due to the fact that they both grossed in from more than 100 million sales, without any exact numbers being available. Consider The Hobbit andAnd Then There Were None as equally deserving the title of “The 9th Most Popular Book of All Time”.


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