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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

 

Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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