Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Top Ten Best Selling Books of All Time

Wikipedia’s List of best-selling books contains estimates of  popular books sold over the last several centuries. The list is incomplete since accurate sales figures are difficult to find. Books such as Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, The Adventures of Pinocchio, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and the individual Harry Potter books are the biggest omissions from the list.

Also missing from the list are religious books, such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Bible and the Qur'an. Most likely, religious books are the most-printed books, but it’s nearly impossible to find reliable sales figures for them. In addition, many of these books are given away free, instead of being sold.

Despite these omissions from Wikipedia’s lists, this list of the top ten best selling books of all time gives us insights into our cultural diversity and tastes.


Think and Grow Rich
#10:  Think and Grow RichThink and Grow Rich is a motivational personal development and self-help book inspired by a suggestion from Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie. While the title implies that this book deals only with how to get rich, the author explains that the philosophy taught in the book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and to do or be almost anything they want. 

     Author: Napoleon Hill
     Published: 1937 
     Approximate sales: 70 million


The Da Vinci Code 
#9:  The Da Vinci CodeThe Da Vinci Code is mystery-detective novel. It follows symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu as they investigate a murder in Paris's Louvre Museum and discover a battle between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei over the possibility of Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene.

     Author: Dan Brown
     Published: 2003
     Approximate sales: 80 million


#8:  SheShe is a first-person narrative that follows the journey of Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There, they encounter a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen, Ayesha, who reigns as the all-powerful She, or She-who-must-be-obeyed

     Author: H. Rider Haggard
     Published: 1887
     Approximate sales: 83 million


The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
#7:  The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children. The story begins in 1940 during World War II, when four siblings — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie — are evacuated from London to escape the Blitz. While the four children are exploring their new living quarters, Lucy looks into a wardrobe and discovers a doorway to a magical world named Narnia. Eventually all four of the children enter Narnia and their adventures begin.

     Author: C. S. Lewis 
     Published: 1950 
     Approximate sales: 85 million


And Then There Were None 
#6:  And Then There Were NoneAnd Then There Were None is a detective fiction novel. In the novel, ten people, who have previously been complicit in the deaths of others but have escaped notice or punishment, are tricked into coming onto an island. Although the guests are the only people on the island, each is murdered one by one, in a manner paralleling the old nursery rhyme, Ten Little Indians.

     Author: Agatha Christie 
     Published: 1939 
     Approximate sales: 100 million


Dream of the Red Chamber 
#5:  Dream of the Red Chamber紅樓夢/红楼梦 Hong lou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber) is believed to be semi-autobiographical, mirroring the rise and decay of author Cao Xueqin's own family and, by extension, of the Qing Dynasty. The novel is remarkable not only for its huge cast of characters and psychological scope, but also for its precise and detailed observation of the life and social structures typical of 18th-century Chinese aristocracy.

     Author: Cao Xueqin
     Published: 1759
     Approximate sales: 100 million


The Hobbit 
#4:  The HobbitThe Hobbit, or There and Back Again, is a fantasy novel and children's book. Set in a time "Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men", this novel  follows the quest of home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins, whose quest is to win a share of the treasure guarded by the dragon, Smaug.

     Author: J. R. R. Tolkien 
     Published: 1937 
     Approximate sales: 100 million


The Lord of the Rings 
#3:  The Lord of the RingsThe Lord of the Rings is an epic high fantasy novel that is a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit. The title refers to the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth.

     Author: J. R. R. Tolkien 
     Published: 1954 
     Approximate sales: 150 million


The Little Prince 
#2:  The Little PrinceAntoine de Saint-Exupéry first published Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) in 1943, only a year before his Lockheed P-38 vanished over the Mediterranean during a reconnaissance mission. More than a half century later, this fable of love and loneliness has lost none of its power. The narrator is a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert, frantically trying to repair his wrecked plane. His efforts are interrupted one day by the apparition of a little, well, prince, who asks him to draw a sheep. And so begins their dialogue, which stretches the narrator's imagination in all sorts of surprising, childlike directions.

     Author: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
     Published: 1943 
     Approximate sales: 200 million


A Tale of Two Cities 
#1:  A Tale of Two CitiesA Tale of Two Cities is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. The novel depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution. The novel also portrays many unflattering social parallels with life in London during the same time period.

     Author: Charles Dickens 
     Published: 1859 
     Approximate sales: 200 million

Redmond Library Board

1 comment:

Mayo said...

I love to buy any books from this list. This is so much fun and interesting.