Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

4408113761_c2d8995324_z

Bestselling book of all time? How much do you think a book would have to sell to take such a spotlight?

Well, after looking through considerable data, the folks at lovereading.co.uk claims to have come up with a good list that includes the likes of Don Quixote, Harry Porter, and Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

At 3 billion copies sold, the Holy Koran snags first place as the bestselling book of all time. You’re are probably wondering how the Bible faired. Well, the King James Bible comes second at 2.5 billion copies. 

To be honest, I don’t know how fair or accurate this study is. Seems odd to compare sales of the Quran (since 644) with just one version of the bible published much later in the history of the bible. In fact the whole book-of-all-time idea is a bit dodgy.

Notwithstanding, it’s an exciting list. Lists like these are not interesting because they are accurate but because they give us a sense of texts that, for one reason or another, have captivated the human imagination throughout history.

Curious about other books on the Top 10 list?

1. The Holy Quran (644) – over 3 billion
2. The King James Bible (1611) – over 2.5 billion
3. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (1964) by Mao Zendong – 800 million 
4. Don Quixote (1512) by Miguel de Cervantes – 500 million
5. Harry Potter series (1997-2007)  by J.K.Rowling – 450 million
6. A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens – 200 million
7. The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien – 150 million
8. 
Le Petit Prince (1943) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – 140 million
9. Alice in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Caroll – 100 million
    Dream of the Red Chamber (1754) by Cao Xueqin – 100 million
And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie – 100 million
The Hobbit (1937) J. R. R. Tolkien – 100 million
10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C.S. Lewis – 85 million 

stylist.co.uk

 

Here is a short clip of the accompanying infographics.  Click HERE to see the full image. Infographics-Most-Popular-Books-sm

 

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Johary Ravaloson’s Return to the Enchanted Island Is the Second Novel from Madagascar to Be Translated into English

johary ravaloson - winds from elsewhere - graph (1)

In May 2018, we brought news of the first novel by a writer from Madagascar to be translated into English: […]

Sundays at Saint Steven’s | Davina Philomena Kawuma | Poetry

unsplash3

when god runs out of money (how, no one says) once a week, these days, we come to where the […]

Read the First Excerpt from Petina Gappah’s New Novel, Out of Darkness, Shining Light

petina gappah - out of darkness, shining light - graph

Petina Gappah‘s new novel Out of Darkness, Shining Light was released on 10 September by Simon & Schuster imprint Scribner. […]

We Need To Talk | Muriel Adhiambo | Fiction

unsplash4

IT WAS A warm, humid night in the lakeside city of Kisumu. Under a starless sky, the women, seated on […]

For World Diabetes Day, Miss BloodSugar Calls for Entries to Competition & Anthology Sponsored by Bella Naija

mbs final edit

Press release: What’s your diabetes story? Are you diabetic? Have you been impacted by the experiences of a family/friend/patient with […]

The Hour of Judgment | Edith Knight Magak | Fiction

unsplash1

THE HOUR OF judgment has come upon me, and my hope for redemption is pegged on a needle, sorcery, and […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.