The best selling books in the history of printed literature

You can endlessly argue about which book is the best in the world - each person has his own opinion on this matter, in addition, there are simply no criteria that allow to unambiguously determine the artistic value of a particular novel: who will undertake to substantiate, for example, that “Idiot Is Dostoevsky better in all respects than Tolstoy's Anna Karenina? These are two works, completely different in style and subject matter, and it would be silly to compare them. However, although there are not and cannot be comrades for literary taste and color, there is such a more or less objective thing as book sales - from them you can determine what the majority of the reading public likes. We present to your attention the top 21 best-selling books, not only belonging to the golden fund of world literature, but also literally making their authors rich.

Don Quixote, about 500 million copies

The immortal masterpiece by Miguel de Cervantes tells the story of a Spaniard who was so carried away by romance of chivalry that he himself decided to become a noble knight. "The cunning hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha" was first published in 1612, and this book, as they say now, turned the reading public's ideas about literature. Don Quixote was one of the first well-known works that can be called fiction - before him, almost all published books were devoted to theology or science. For more than four centuries, whole generations have been reading the story of the misadventures of a mad hidalgo trying to help the offended and oppressed, Cervantes's novel has become one of the most popular books in the history of mankind.

Of course, it is impossible to determine the exact number of sales, until now practically no information about the first editions of the book has been preserved. The figures of 500 million, which some researchers of the writer's work talk about, are also very approximate, but there is no doubt that Don Quixote deserves a mention in the collection - it is one of the greatest works in world literature.

Xinhua Zidian, 400 million

The Explanatory Dictionary of Chinese Characters, first published in 1953, is still a reference book for Chinese schoolchildren. Xinhua Zidian is perhaps the most popular dictionary in the world and the only reference book that boasts hundreds of millions of copies sold.

A Tale of Two Cities, 200 million

In his novel, published in 1859 by Charles Dickens, the acclaimed world literary classic explores the class struggle that caused the French Revolution. The Briton was one of the first among the rulers of literary thoughts to suggest that revolutionaries often behave much worse than the representatives of the bourgeoisie they hated:

“It was the most beautiful time, it was the most unfortunate time, ” wrote Dickens in The Tale.

Over the past 150 years, this work has been published dozens (if not hundreds) of times, so the number of books sold can be very approximate, but most experts agree that there are at least 200 million of them - not surprising, because in many countries, “A Tale of Two Cities »Is included in the school curriculum of required reading books.

Lord of the Rings, 150 million

The epic work of John Ronald Tolkien can be called the founding work of the incredibly popular fantasy genre in our time. Initially, The Lord of the Rings was conceived as a complete novel, but its first publisher in 1954 decided to divide the rather voluminous work into three books. Most of the copies of the novel were sold as a trilogy, including gift sets.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, approximately 107 million

The circulation of the first volume of the series about the adventures of a young wizard, created by the English writer J.K. Rowling, is still unknown, despite the fact that the novel "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was released in 1997 (the premiere took place exactly 17 years ago, 30- th June), when methods of tracking sales already existed. Publishers from different countries often do not provide reliable data on the circulation of the novel, so it would be more correct to indicate the number of books sold as “107, plus or minus 20 million”.

Ten Little Indians, 100 million

The first copies of another detective novel by the genius Agatha Christie appeared on the shelves of bookstores in 1939. The book describes a series of murders, each of which mystically corresponds to episodes of a comic nursery rhyme. The virtuoso plot and beautiful style of the "detective queen" will not leave anyone indifferent, not to mention the ending of the work, which explains everything.

As is the case with books by other popular writers, the sales figures are very rough. Agatha Christie is one of the most popular authors in the world - the circulation of "Negroes" alone exceeds 100 million copies, and the total number of works sold by the writer is approximately 1 billion.

A Dream in the Red Chamber, 100 million

A novel about a Chinese family who lived during the Qing dynasty was published in 1791. Thanks to this work, its author Cao Xueqin became one of the classics of Chinese literature. Many studies and monographs are devoted to "Sleep", but, despite all its "academic" character, the novel still remains in demand - this is eloquently evidenced by the book's sales. "Sleep" is wildly popular not only in the Middle Kingdom, but throughout the world, so many experts believe that the number of copies sold is somewhat underestimated.

The Little Prince, 80 million (or more than 200 million)

The love of the reading public for a strange but charming parable about the adventures of a little prince caring for a capricious rose, cleaning his planet in the morning and carefully looking for the right thing among the painted lambs can only be explained by magic. "The Prince" was first published in 1943 in the author's homeland, France, since then the book has been translated into many languages ​​and has gone through more than a dozen reprints, and one of the asteroids is even named in honor of the lyric hero of the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

Researchers estimate differently the number of sold copies of "The Little Prince" - according to some data, there are about 80 million of them, others say about 200 million, one way or another, the wonderful novel was and remains one of the most popular works in the world, from which philologists advise start learning French.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, 85 million

The first book in the series "The Chronicles of Narnia", created by Clive Lewis, was released in 1950. Originally conceived as a work for children, a novel with a religious and mystical bias, written during the Second World War, has become one of the most significant fantasy works in the world. In "Leo" she drew her inspiration, including the author of the Harry Potter books.

Recently, there has been a surge in interest in Lewis's fantasy saga from the general public, not least thanks to colorful Hollywood film adaptations.

The Da Vinci Code, 80 million

Dan Brown's mystical thriller, released in 2003, has been a bone of contention for critics and readers for several years. Some extol the artistic merit of "The Code", others spit at historical blunders and a few strained plot twists. After the release of the film of the same name with Tom Hanks in the title role, the Catholic Church took a very tough stance towards the film and the novel that served as the basis for it, which served Dan Brown in good stead - sales of the book went up sharply.

Think and Grow Rich, 70 million

A manual for aspiring oligarchs, authored by the American psychologist Napoleon Hill, has been among the world's best-selling books for over 70 years. The work was published in 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression - an economic crisis that had the most detrimental effect on the economy of the United States, but had a beneficial effect on the desire of people to be wealthy and, as a result, on the sale of a book teaching it. Hill's work is considered the founders of books containing various formulas for achieving success in business, in love and in life in general - these days, such tomes are simply littered with the shelves of all bookstores without exception, and in each of them, Hill's ideas are interpreted with varying degrees of freedom.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 65 million

The sixth book in the series about the young magician is not too inferior in popularity to the first novel - in it, Rowling tells in detail about the childhood of the main villain of the saga, Lord Voldemort, and his terrible death. The book is one of the record holders not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of sales speed - in the first day after the novel's release in 2005, about 9 million copies were found.

Alchemist, 65 million

When writing The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho probably used the ancient knowledge of the masters of alchemy - what else can explain such an impressive circulation of the novel in Portuguese, which was published in 1986, and translated into English only seven years later, in 1993?

The plot of the allegorical story about the young shepherd Santiago, who went into the desert to find his destiny, is based on European folklore. For all the artistic merits of the novel, critics note that interest in it is largely due to the upcoming film adaptation, work on which began back in 1994, but so far practically nothing is known about the future film.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 60 million

The second novel about the wizard Harry was released in 1998, a year after the release of the first book - some science fiction writers, like George Martin, should learn from the British woman the speed of work on books, although the works of Rowling and Martin are, so to speak, in different weight categories.

It is difficult to say what exactly is the difference between the sales of different books in the series, but if you do not take into account the pilot book, the spread does not exceed 10-15 million, so that can be considered a simple error in estimating circulations or quirks of the general reader.

The Catcher in the Rye, 60 million

Jerome Salinger's masterpiece is undoubtedly highly recommended reading, especially for teenagers. Since its release in 1951 to this day, the novel is one of the most significant works about aspirations and doubts tormenting young heads. Catcher in the Rye is often included in school curricula, so it is likely that the novel's real popularity is much higher than the official sales figures.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 55 million

The fourth book about Harry Potter is also one of the best-selling books of all time (in secret - all the novels in the series belong to them). What is not there: competitions between magicians of various schools (the so-called Tournament of Three Wizards), the intrigues of Potter's evil opponents and, of course, Harry's first meeting with Voldemort face to face - it is not surprising that the book was so fond of the masses, and the film version, of course, only increased the popularity of the novel.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 55 million

The fifth book, dedicated to the young wizard, tells about the creation of a secret society, whose members are struggling with the growing power of Voldemort. 55 million copies is not a very accurate, but rather plausible estimate of the book's circulation. Thanks to the buzz around the Potter novels, J.K. Rowling has become one of the richest women in the world, with a net worth of around $ 1 billion.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 55 million

The third volume in the series "Potterians" was released in 1999. If you consider yourself a fan of a young magician with a scar on his forehead, this work dedicated to him, like the other six, has undoubtedly been studied by us up and down, for those who are just starting their acquaintance with the fantastic universe of J.K. Rowling, it is worth mentioning that in the novel "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" they will read about an adventure with werewolves, time travel and the tragic fate of Harry's parents.

Ben-Hur: The Story of Christ, 50 million

Based on biblical events, the novel by American writer Lew Wallace was first published in 1880. In his work, the author "examines" the Roman Empire during the First Coming through the eyes of Judas Ben-Hur, one of the followers of Jesus Christ.

Unlike many fictional works of a religious and historical orientation, Wallace's novel is replete with reliable details and details describing the life of people of that era. Thanks to the author's meticulousness and attention to detail, the book became one of the bestsellers of its time, although in recent years the interest of readers in the novel has somewhat decreased.

Lolita, 50 million

The scandalous novel by Vladimir Nabokov, published in 1955, as they say now, “blew the brain” of readers - they had never seen anything more frank and sensual. The hype around the book provided her with excellent advertising, but many people found Lolita pornographic - not everyone wants to delve into all the intricacies of the sexual relationship between the protagonist and his 12-year-old stepdaughter. Be that as it may, the novel is regularly included in the list of the most popular books in the world, numerous reprints and millions of copies only confirm this.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 50 million

The final book of the Harry Potter saga was set by J.K. Rowling in 2007 and sales of the novel reached an impressive 44 million copies in just one year. After the release of the paperback version of the book, several million more copies were sold, so the work surpassed the 50 million mark fairly quickly.

It is also necessary to mention the bestselling books, which are only slightly behind the final Harry Potter novel in sales, including The Child and His Care by the American pediatrician Benjamin Spock and Heidi: Years of Wandering and Studying by the Swiss writer Johanna Spiri.