Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bestsellers:What Are They and, More Importantly, Have You Read Them?,d.aWc&psig=AFQjCNHEIFLo4YbuWQh4pS4KE_efnJ_nOQ&ust=1395400802045610

A bestseller is popular book, right?
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, defines a bestseller as “a book that is identified as extremely popular by its inclusion on lists of currently top selling or frequently borrowed titles that are based on publishing industry and book trade figures and library circulation statistics…”
But what books are the most popular of all time? The biggest bestsellers? Can you guess? The London Telegraph lists these thirteen.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
2. Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S Lewis
4. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
5. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
6. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
7. Animal Farm - George Orwell
8. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
10. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
11. The Time Travelers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
12. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kasey

The list has lots of classic novels and seems right; however, How Stuff Works, supplies this list along with how many millions of books that have been sold.

  1. Don Quixote – 500 million
  2. Xinhua Zidian – 400 million (This is a Chinese-language dictionary that was first published in 1953.)
  3.  A Tale of Two Cities – 200 million
  4. The Lord of the Rings – 150 million
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -- 107 million
  6. And Then There Were None – 100 million
  7. Dream of the Red Chamber – 100 million (This is a Chinese novel that was first published in 1791. Apparently it’s one of the classic Chinese novels.)
  8. The Little Prince – 80 million (or perhaps 200 million--sources disagree.)
  9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – 85 million
  10. The Da Vinci Code – 80 million
  11. Think and Grow Rich – 70 million
  12. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – 65 million
  13. The Alchemist – 65 million

I don’t know which list is correct. I’m presenting both as food for thought. What do you think? If you were to guess about world bestsellers, would your list have some of the same titles?

Did you think the Bible should be on the list? I did. How Stuff Works.Com decided not to include religious texts because their sales numbers are hard to verify because they’re often given away.

I’m okay with putting the Bible in a class by itself because I believe its author also is in a peerless position, but I’m eager to find out what you think about the other books on the list. Have you read many of them? Are any your favorites? Tell me what you think. Thanks.



  1. im always wary of lists like this: I've seen one that purported to identify the 100 most important (must reads, yep) books of all time. Most of them I have never heard of, and of the ones remaining, I think I may have read two.
    Its a subjective thing, anytime you start adding numbers and words together on the same page.
    Don Quixote is often cited as one of the most popular unread books in the world. We all have a copy, does anyone EVER finish it?
    Of the first list, Ive read all but #11 and #13 and I actually threw #5 across the floor, it was so annoying.

    Of the second list, it seems that including a Chinese dictionary and #7 is padding the list. As would the bible. As to the second list I've read 8, never heard of The Alchemist and am a bit shaky about Think and Grow Rich.

    These fun to look at, if only to solidify one's own sense of what's great, or popular, and massage that guilt about not having read 'em.

  2. Mittens,
    You are right to read these lists with a grain of salt. That's kinda why I published both lists. I believe a good reader thinks when she reads. Thanks for your insightful comment.

  3. On the first list, I have read all but 8 and 13. I've only read six on the second list.

    I think these lists are relatively useless, but then again I think it creates a stronger society if we all have some background in the same things. Part of what is wrong with us today is we have lost those times of standing around the water cooler talking about the same show. No one has anything to talk about anymore but the weather.

  4. CountryDew,
    I agree. We all talk about the weather.

  5. Two interesting lists. I think some of the disparities between lists like these is that reading is subjective. Not everyone likes the same type of books/genres. I’ve read all but numbers 11 and 12 from your first list, and have read all but five on the second list (1, 2, 7, 11 and 13 – and two of them are in Mount TBR).

    Another Bookish T13

    1. Heather,
      I think you're right. Reading is subjective and I'm not surprised to find out you've read most of the books on both lists. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I've read 4 on the first list (less on the second) and seen 8 movies based on the books.

    I think some people claim to read the Bible like they claim to wash their hands after using the toilet.

  7. Colleen,
    I've read about half of the first list, but you have me beat on the movie count.

    I appreciate your comment.

  8. Fiction list, I take it, because normally The Bible comes out at the top.

  9. I struggle with reading classics. I've read Harry Potter, and I've seen some of these in movies, but I read books that have been written in the last ten years. Maybe I'm missing out - I don't know, but I'm happy with my reading regime.

  10. With you on your thoughts of the BIble. I was smiling when I saw some of those I read on the list. Da Vince, Pride & Prejudice... ; been meaning to read To Kill... but for curiosity sake only.

  11. Interestingly enough, I've read almost all of those books but a bunch of them I read because it was required reading. Meaning that the school system certainly believes these lists.
    I remember getting into an argument with my English Lit teacher in High School because he said Frank Herbert's "Dune" was not Literature.