Best Selling Books of All Time

Which are the best-selling books of all time? Although it is quite difficult to come to a conclusion on the most popularly sold book throughout history, this article tries to list down top ten of the most probable best-selling books of all time.
Those of us who love devouring good books are eager to know which are the best-selling books of all time. Asking the question, 'which are the best-selling books of all time?' is easy, however, answering it can be extremely difficult. In fact, this question is almost unanswerable because nobody really knows for sure. We do not have data that can clearly specify which are the best-selling books that have sold most number of copies throughout history. So the answers derived comes from the little data available, clubbed with speculations. Let's have a look at the top ten best-selling books of all time.

Top Ten Best Selling Books of All Time

Number 1: The Bible
It is quite difficult to find out the exact number of Bible copies printed or distributed, however, as per the Bible Society's attempts to count the number of Bible copies printed between 1816 and 1975, the number of copies crossed the 2 billion mark. However, in a survey conducted in 1992, the figure touched almost 6 billion. The Bible has been translated into more than 2000 languages and dialects. Further translation into other languages is also underway. Despite the uncertainty about exact figures, it is a common consensus that the Bible is the number 1 best-selling book of all time.

Number 2: Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (Little Red Book)
The second rank goes to the Chairman Mao's Little Red Book which was first published in 1966. This book was a hot favorite in the platter of almost every Chinese adult between the years 1966 and 1971. The book throws light on the Chinese dictator's view on life, politics and economics.

Number 3: American Spelling Book
Written by the American man of letter, Noah Webster in 1783, this book was a hot favorite throughout the 19th century. The book's highlight was its words which were broken down into syllables, thereby making it easier for kids to learn how to pronounce words easily. Soon this book was a recommended English textbook in schools in the United States during the 19th century.

Number 4: The Guinness Book of World Records
First published in 1955, this book has fascinated millions by its repository of world records of all kinds of information, right from sports, science to all kinds of weird facts, etc. The idea of the book evolved in the mind of the big boss of Guinness brewery who wanted to find out the fastest game bird in Europe. His urge to find the information triggered the idea of a book that contained scores of facts and photographs which satiated the hunger for interesting facts. There are more than 37 editions in UK alone and it is available in several foreign languages as well.

Number 5: The McGuffey Readers
Published first in 1853, this book was compiled by the American anthologist William Holmes McGuffey and is a repository of short stories for young people. The stories were of moral teaching and preachy in nature, however, it was a great rostrum to introduce young people to moral lessons in life. There were some discrepancies between the figures quoted by the publishers. They claimed they printed and sold more than 120 million copies, however, this is not believed to be true as the population in the US was somewhere around 10 million at that time only.

Number 6: A Message to Garcia
Written and published in 1899 by Elbert Hubbard, this book revolved around the subject of labor relations and its sales soared great heights, since many American employers bought large number of these books and distributed them to their employees.

Number 7: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care
Written and published by Dr. Benjamin Spock in 1946, this book provided parents with essential advice on how to raise children. It encompassed a wide range of topics right from taking care of newborns to toddlers and also covered various issues regarding grappling parents.

Number 8: World Almanac
This comprehensive reference book comprising information on every arena of life from science, sports, history to geography. It was first published in 1868 and became a hot favorite. This manual of information has been published every year except the period between 1876 to 1886.

Number 9: The Valley of the Dolls
Written and published by Jacqueline Susann in 1966, this book revolves around a tale of sex, drugs and violence and emerged as the world's bestselling novel. Though quite melodramatic and addictive, this book was an instant hit in the 60s.

Number 10: In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?
Written and published by Rev. Charles Monroe Sheldon in 1896, this book revolves around what true Christianity is all about and how we can live a life that gives glory to God in all that we do. He proposed a method by which a Christian could exercise discipleship and asked individuals to ask themselves the question - "What would Jesus do?" before taking any decision.

This was the list of the most commonly acknowledged best-selling books of all times. Avid readers would most probably have read most of the above mentioned best-selling books. Now, let's check out some more lists that involve some recent best-selling books. These results have been published in 'The New York Times'.

Recent Best Selling Books

Paperback Fiction
  • Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Associate by John Grisham
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Cross Country by James Patterson
  • Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
Paperback Non-fiction
  • The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
  • Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max
Hardcover Fiction
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
  • Under the Dome by Stephen King
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
Hardcover Nonfiction
  • Going Rogue by Sarah Palin
  • Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
  • Arguing with Idiots written and edited by Glenn Beck, Kevin Balfe and others
  • True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy
  • Open by Andre Agassi
This was the list of some best-selling books of the last decade. It is quite difficult to list down the best-selling books ever as each book is marketed as a best seller today. However, I hope this article has provided enough reliable information as to the most commonly accepted best-selling books of all times.
By Priya Johnson
Last Updated: 9/22/2011
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