Every year, Book Lovers Day is observed on August 9 to raise awareness about the importance of books and celebrate the joy of reading. From ancient manuscripts to our Kindle devices, books have been cherished since prehistoric times. A gateway to an unknown world, books transport us from reality into imagination — deepening our creativity, influencing our thoughts and perspectives.
Only bibliophiles will understand the immense pleasure of going to a library and getting lost in make-believe worlds. Afterall, what is better than a book in your hand on a rainy day while sipping on a cup of tea? So, on this special occasion, let’s take a look at the top 10 best-selling books of all time, according to Guinness World Records.
10. The Dream Of The Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
First published in 1791, this novel is considered as one of China’s greatest classical novels written. The story revolves around the lives of a family living in Beijing during the rule of Qing dynasty. Originally named “The Story of the Stone”, this book has been translated from Chinese and read by millions of readers outside of China as well. Till date, it has sold around 105 million copies.
9. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
A fantasy novel by British author J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit was first published in 1936. Set in the fictional world of Middle-earth, the book tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, a so-called hobbit who lives a peaceful life in his home, Bag End, until he is recruited by a wizard named Gandalf to aid his conquest in retrieving the lost Kingdom under the Lonely Mountain from Smaug — a dragon who stole their treasure. The book has sold 110 million copies until now.
8. And Then There Were None by Agastha Christie
A mystery crime novel by acclaimed writer Agastha Christie, is one of the most successful mystery crime novels of all time. It follows the lives of ten people who are invited to an island by the host Mr. U.N. Owen for unknown reasons, only to find him dead at the beginning of the story, thereby making them the suspects of his murder. Selling 115 million copies till date, the book was also the first-ever novel to break the one million mark on sold copies.
7. Scouting for Boys by Robert Baden-Powell
A handbook on the outdoors, especially written for young boys, this book was originally published in 1908 by British Army officer and founder of the Scout Movement, Robert Baden-Powell. Divided into six parts, the book serves as an instructional guide for young Scouts and youths interested in joining the movement. It has sold 120 million copies in total.
6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. (Source: Amazon.in)
Also known as Sorcerer’s Stone in many countries, this fantasy novel was first published in 1997. This was Rowling’s debut book, which was followed by seven sequels. It was later adapted into a movie franchise of the same name — making it one of the most successful book adaptations. Translated into almost 100 languages, the book followed the life of Harry Potter, a young wizard, who discovers his magical heritage at “Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”, and faces an evil wizard who intends to become immortal. The book has sold almost 125 million copies.
5. The Litter Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Originally titled “Le Petit Prince”, the book by far is the best-selling children’s books of all time having sold around 140 millions copies worldwide. Published in 1943 when Saint-Exupery was living in exile in the US after France’s surrender to Nazi Germany’s invasion in 1940, the book delves into the life of a young prince who visits various planets, including Earth, and addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love and loss.
4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
Coming at fourth place is The Lord of the Rings which has sold around 155 million copies globally. Contrary to popular perception, the book is not a trilogy, but was originally written as one story. The decision to market it as three books (“The Fellowship of the Ring“, The Two Towers” & The Return of the King“), was taken by the original publishing house Allen & Unwin. This fantasy novel however only gained a cult following many decades after the author’s death in 1973. The three movies based on the book were a huge success as well.
3. The Quran
The Quran. (Source: Amazon.in)
Selling around 800 million copies to date, The Quran was written in the 7th Century AD in Arabic. It serves as the basis for the world’s second-largest religion — Islam. The book is considered a revelation from God (Allah) as delivered by his earthly prophet Muhammad. Muslims use the book for guidance and as the basis for their religious customs.
2.Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung by Mao Zedong
Also referred as the “Little Red Book”, this novel is the second best-selling book of all time, having sold around 1.1 billion copies worldwide. The book contains 427 quotes on 33 different topics by Mao Zedong, the leader of the Communist revolution in China and the original chairman of the Chinese Communist Party. His book of quotations was first only distributed among military leaders, but soon got distributed among the public as well. In order to avoid competition for his own work, he also stopped the distribution of other books for a while.
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Having sold around 5 billion copies until now, The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. Written by several authors, the book is divided into two parts — The Old Testament and the New Testament. Originally written in Hebrew with some parts in Aramaic, the book primarily serves the world’s largest religion — Christianity.
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