The 30 Best Selling Books of All Time

Books, with their ability to educate and entertain, have proved almost indispensable since Gutenberg perfected the printing press in 1440.

The importance of the written word is only underlined by Google Book's estimate that approximately 130 million good reads had been published in the intervening centuries.

Such completion means only a select few of the very best books have been read in record numbers.

Note, there is no single source consistently tracking book sales over the centuries and religious books such as the Bible and Quran have been omitted, as so many are disturbed for free.

best selling books, best selling books of
These bestselling books should be on everyone's reading list Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

Read on to learn the best-selling individual books and book series to date in any language.

30. The Hite Report (50 million)

The Hite Report
Author Shere Hite holding the book, The Hite Report in 1976 Getty Images

The Hite Report helped redefine our understanding of the female sexual experience and the book is still considered essential reading for women of all ages.

First published in 1976, Dr. Hite's book is believed to be the first scientific analysis to focus specifically on women's sexuality.

29. Watership Down (50 million)

Watership Down
England: Richard Adams, author of the book "Watership Down" in 1974, London Getty Images

Richard Adams originally began telling the story of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home to his two daughters, who insisted he published his tales as a book.

Watership Down quickly became a huge hit with both children and adults, and the book won a pair of prestigious prizes when published in 1972.

28. The Eagle Has Landed (50 million)

The Eagle Has Landed
English actor Michael Caine, who stars in the film The Eagle Has Landed, pictured in 1976 Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images

Jack Higgins' 1975 thriller involves an elite team of Nazi paratroopers arriving in the UK to abduct Winston Churchill and cripple the Allied war effort.

The work of fiction proved so popular, the book was adapted into an equally successful movie the next year.

27. The Name of the Rose (50 million)

The Name of the Rose
Italian writer Umberto Eco, author of "Foucault's Pendulum" and "The Name of the Rose," visits central Prague, Czech Republic, October 5, 2000. Eco is in Prague to receive the Vision 97 Award, given by Czech President Vclav Havel and his wife Dagmar Getty Images/Sean Gallup

The 1980 debut novel by Italian author Umberto Eco is a historical murder mystery set in an Italian monastery in the year 1327.

The book quickly became a commercial and critical success after it was translated into English and other languages three years later, and a big-budget movie adaption arrived in 1987.

26. Black Beauty (50 million)

Black Beauty
British actress Judi Bowker, one of the stars of London Weekend Television drama 'The Adventures of Black Beauty,' riding along Rotten Row in Hyde Park, London, England, 10th September 1972 Stroud/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Composed by author Anna Sewell during the final years of her life, the book is an autobiographical memoir told by the titular horse named Black Beauty.

Despite dying only months after its publication, Sewell survived long enough to see her only novel become a publishing phenomenon.

25. Anne of Green Gables (50 million)

Anne of Green Gables
Martin Sheen and L.M. Montgomery's granddaughter, Kate McDonald Butler attends "Anne Of Green Gables" reading at Barnes & Noble Union Square on October 19, 2016 in New York City John Lamparski/WireImage/Getty Images

The beloved classic 1908 novel concerns an orphan girl's arrival into a world of privilege.

Canadian author L.M. Montgomery's episodic novel is today considered one of the greatest children's novels of the mid-twentieth century.

24. Common Sense Book of Baby & Child Care (50m)

Common Sense Book of Baby & Child
American pediatrician Dr Benjamin Spock (1903 - 1998) , author of, 'The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care,' holding onto a baby sitting on a table, circa 1950 Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care is a book by American pediatrician Benjamin Spock.

The book's core message of parents trusting their own common sense was considered revolutionary at the time of its publication in 1946.

23. Heidi (50 million)

Jessie Willcox Smith (1863 - 1935) was an American illustrator famous for her illustrations for children's books such as Heidi. She captured the innocence of children and worked for many magazines as well as book publishers Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Despite being written and published more than one hundred years ago, Heidi remains a perennial favorite for children.

Johanna Spyri's classic book relays the adventures enjoyed by orphan Heidi after she is sent to live in the Swiss Alps.

22. Lolita (50 million)

A lobby card for Stanley Kubrick's 1962 adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's novel, 'Lolita', featuring Sue Lyon Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Lolita is the highly controversial 1955 novel written by Russian-American novelist Vladimir Nabokov.

The plot finds a middle-aged man becoming besotted by twelve-year-old girl Lolita before the pair go on the run.

21. One Hundred Years of Solitude (50 million)

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Colombian writer and Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez (L) receives the first copy of a commemorative edition of his most outstanding work "Cien anos de Soledad" (One Hundred Years of Solitude), from the Director General of the Royal Spanish Academy, Victor Garcia de la Concha, during the opening of the IV International Congress of the Spanish Language, in Cartagena, Colombia, 26 March 2007 AFP PHOTO/Rodrigo ARANGUA/Getty Images

Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez's landmark novel tells the story of the Buendia family over several generations.

The book's rich and evocative prose has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."

20. You Can Heal Your Life (50 million)

You Can Heal Your Life
Author Louise Hay attends the premiere of "Mary Pickford, The Muse of Music" at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences on August 28, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown

This self-help book's key message is: "If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed."

However, the theories described in this book have been criticized as groundless by proponents of evidence-based medicine.

19. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (50 million)

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, USA, 1925 FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives/Getty Images

Published in 1880, Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur is considered one of the most popular and beloved 19th century American novels.

This faithful New Testament tale intertwines the life of Jesus and a man who finds redemption for himself and his family.

18. The Bridges of Madison County (60 million)

The Bridges of Madison County
Clint Eastwood kissing Meryl Streep on the cheek as she nestles into him in a scene from the film 'The Bridges of Madison County', 1975 Getty Images/Warner Brothers

The Bridges of Madison County is a 1992 best-selling romance novella by American writer Robert James Waller.

The book tells the story of a married but lonely woman who encounters and falls in love with a free-spirited photographer.

17. The Catcher in the Rye (65 million)

The Catcher in the Rye
American actress Jean Seberg (1938 - 1979) arrives at an airport carrying a copy of the book 'The Catcher in the Rye' by J. D. Salinger, 1957 Hulton Archive/Getty Images

This J.D. Salinger novel published in 1951 details two days in the life of 16-year-old Holden Caulfield.

Although controversial at the time of publication for its frank language, the book became an instant bestseller and a schoolroom classic.

16. The Alchemist (65 million)

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho, who holds the world record for the most translations of a single title signed by the author in one sitting, who signed 53 different languages of his bestseller "The Alchemist" during the Guinness World Record Photocall at the London Book Fair, April 16, 2007, held at Earls Court Exhibition centre Harold Cunningham/WireImage/Getty Images

Author Paulo Coelho's visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore has topped bestseller lists in 74 countries.

The global phenomenon follows a young shepherd as he embarks on a journey and documents the life-changing wisdom he learns on the way.

15. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (65 million)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter Fans at the Toys "R" Us Times Square midnight launch of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows" on July 21, 2007 in New York City Jason Kempin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The final novel of the Harry Potter series was released in July 2007.

The fantasy finds the protagonist and his teenage companions enter the final struggle with Voldemort.

14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (65 million)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter author JK Rowling arrives at Edinburgh Castle where she will read passages from the sixth magical children?s title ?Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince?, on July 15, 2005 in Edinburgh, Scotland. 70 junior reporters from around the world, aged between eight and 16, make up the audience, and meet and ask questions to the author ahead of the midnight release of the new volume Getty Images/Christopher Furlong

The penultimate novel in the Harry Potter series was released in July 2005.

The story picks up during Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, as Voldemort's power and followers increase.

13. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (65 million)

Harry Potter & the Order of the
Daniel Radcliffe at the "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on July 8, 2007 in Hollywood, California Eric Charbonneau/WireImage/Getty Images

The Order of the Phoenix is the fifth book in the Harry Potter fantasy series.

The book finds 15-year-old Harry in adolescence, complete with outbursts of rage, a growing crush and a powerful sense of rebellion.

12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (65 million)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Gili Bar-Hillel Hebrew-language version of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", one of the four Harry Potter books she translated, stands alongside its English original in her office June 23, 2003 in Tel Aviv. Bar-Hillel began work on J. K. Rowling's latest book "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" the day after its worldwide release. She is expected to finish translating the 5th book in the series within six months David Silverman/Getty Images

The Goblet of Fire is author J. K. Rowling's fourth novel in the Harry Potter series.

The protagonist faces death-defying tasks, dragons and dark wizards with the help of his best friends Ron and Hermione.

11. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (65 million)

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
An employee of Tokyo's Yaesu Book Center stacks books of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", the latest instalment in the best-selling "Harry Potter" series at a corner of the bookstore, 12 July 2001 as the Japanese translation was unveiled in Japan. Japanese publisher prepared 800,000 copies for the first print YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

The third in the Harry Potter series follows the young wizard in his third year at Hogwarts.

The book opens with a tense atmosphere at the school for wizards, due to an escaped mass murderer on the prowl.

10. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (77 million)

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets
Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson during "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" - DVD Launch at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, Great Britain Fred Duval/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The Chamber of Secrets is the second in British author J. K. Rowling's popular fantasy series.

Students at Hogwarts are found as though turned to stone, appearing to prove house-elf Dobby's gloomy prophesy true.

9. The Da Vinci Code (80 million)

The Da Vinci Code
A woman holding the best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code" written by US author Dan Brown, next to the Louvre Museum in Paris, which houses the Mona Lisa. Parisian travel agencies offer Da Vinci Code tours, beginning with the visit of the Louvre AFP PHOTO JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/Getty Images

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon races against time to decipher a labyrinthine puzzle before an explosive ancient truth is lost forever.

The 2003 mystery thriller novel by Dan Brown proved extremely popular with readers for its lightning-paced plot.

8. The Adventures of Pinocchio (80 million)

The Adventures of Pinocchio
Carlo Lorenzini, called Collodi (November 24, 1826 – October 26, 1890) "The Adventures of Pinocchio" advertising for the new edition illustrated by Attilio Mussino (1878-1954), R. Bemporad, Italy, Florence approx. 1920 Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images

Animated puppet Pinocchio enjoys many adventures after magically coming alive.

First published in 1883, author Carlo Collodi's classic tale about redemption and parenthood still appeals to both children and adults.

7. She: A History of Adventure (83 million)

She: A History of Adventure
Autographed cabinet card with a three-quarter-profile portrait of English adventure-fiction writer Sir Henry Rider Haggard, wearing a fur overcoat and an orchid buttonhole, developed by Falk Studios, New York, 1891 Stuart Lutz/Gado/Getty Images

The plot finds academic Horace Holly and his ward Leo Vincey journeying to a lost kingdom in the African interior.

Author H. Rider Haggard's romantic adventure proved extraordinarily popular upon its release in 1887 and the book has never since been out of print.

6. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (85 million)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
English actress Barbara Kellerman as the White Queen in a TV adaptation of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe', 1988 Tom Stoddart/Getty Images

A quartet of adventurous siblings step through a wardrobe door into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch.

This book is by far the most popular in the classic Chronicles of Narnia fantasy series, written by Cambridge academic C.S. Lewis.

5. And Then There Were None (100 million)

And Then There Were None
Maria Rohm, Oliver Reed (1938 - 1999), Alberto de Mendoza and Elke Sommer star in the 1974 Agatha Christie film 'Ten Little Indians' (also known as 'And Then There Were None') Archive Photos/Getty Images

An incongruous assortment of guests is assembled on a remote island and then killed off one by one.

This ingenious book topped a recent poll marking Agatha Christie's 125th birthday year to discover which of her 80 crime books was the world's favorite.

4. Dream of the Red Chamber (100 million)

Dream of the Red Chamber
Sudents wearing traditional costumes take part in a re-enactment of a scene from the famous story "the Dream of the Red Chamber" at a temple fair in Beijing on February 10, 2008 AFP PHOTO/TEH ENG KOON/Getty Images

Written sometime in the middle of the 18th century during the Qing dynasty, this epic follows the infatuations and adventures of a pubescent boy.

The book has been described by critic Anthony West as "one of the great novels of world literature [... ] to the Chinese as Proust is to the French or Karamazov to the Russians."

3. The Little Prince (100 million)

The Little Prince
The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince), 1942-1943. Private Collection. Artist Saint-Exupéry, Antoine de (1900-1944) Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's book follows a young royal as he travels across the universe.

This deceptively simple fable has captured the imaginations of both adults and children ever since it was first published in the 1940s

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (120 million)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
British author J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, points to the place on her forehead where her title character has a scar while reading "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" during the Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House April 5, 2010 in Washington, DC Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

J.K. Rowling's first book of the fantasy series finds eleven-year-old orphan Harry Potter discover he is a wizard, who is then invited to study at Hogwarts.

However, even as the protagonist escapes his ordinary life to enter a world of magic, he finds trouble waiting for him.

1. The Hobbit (140.6 million)

The Hobbit
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien ( 1892 - 1973) the South African-born philologist and author of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord Of The Rings' Haywood Magee/Getty Images

The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is J. R. R. Tolkien's children's fantasy novel published in 1937.

The Lord of the Rings prelude has remained in print continuously to entertain successive generations of readers, while the book's hero, Bilbo Baggins, is one of the most popular characters of fiction.

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