4. Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince)
Written By Antoine de Saint Exupery | Total sales- 140 million
“The Little Prince”, written by French aristocrat, writer and poet, Antoine de Saint Exupéry, is a strange yet charming poetic tale of a prince who has fallen to earth from a tiny asteroid. A pilot meets him then, and the story begins to unravel the strangeness of the adult world. Published in 1943, the novel was and is still extremely popular in France and many other countries.
Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, The Little Prince is one of the best-selling novels of all time, totaling more than 140 million copies sold worldwide, and boasting a sales figure of over a million copies per year. It is the most read as well as the most translated book in the French language.
3. The Lord of the Rings
Written By: J.R.R. Tolkein | Total sales- 150 million
J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is arguably the ultimate fantasy novel, a literary stand out work that has established the modern fantasy genre. Most parts of the novel were written around the World War II – between 1937 and 1949, though the story began as a sequel to “The Hobbit”, a 1937 children’s fantasy novel by Tolkien himself. The story follows war and fantasy examining the life of hobbits, their allies and traveling companions and the Dark Lord Sauron over the course of the “War of the Ring”.
Although the original publishers divided “The Lord of the Rings” for some logistical reasons in 1954, for much of the history it has always been a single epic high fantasy novel. Here, it comes in our list as the third-best selling novel ever cum the second-best selling English novel, with more than 150 million copies sold worldwide.
2. A Tale of Two Cities
Written By: Charles Dickens | Total sales- 200 million
First published in 1859, Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” inspects the struggle of different social classes that led to the French Revolution. Set in London and Paris during the time of revolution, it intertwines the truth that sometimes those involved in the revolution are worse than the overall idea of establishment of it. Demonstrating the brutality shown by the revolutionaries towards the former aristocrats in France in the early years of revolution, the novel also parallels with social life in London during the same time period, following the lives of several characters like Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, and more.
A Tale of Two Cities has been published in several editions by hundreds of publishers over the last 150 years. With over 200 million copies sold worldwide, it ranks among the best and one of the most influential works in the history of fictional literature.
1. Don Quixote
Written By- Miguel de Cervantes | Total sales- 500 millionWritten by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote is a Spanish novel about a man who becomes so inspired with intense passion for the tales of knights that he decides to become one of them. In the novel, under the name Don Quixote, Alonso Quijano misadventures as he travels and wonders across the Spanish countryside to revive chivalry. On his way, he recruits Sancho Panza, a simple farmer who employs earthly wits while dealing with Quixote’s rhetorical speeches on medieval knighthood, initiating themes of meta-theater, literary representation, realism and intertextuality.
Published in two volumes in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is regarded as the first novel ever, and is also the oldest novel in this list. Many consider it to be the most influential literary work from the Spanish Golden Age and the overall Spanish literary canon. In Spain the sales figure of this novel is a guess, as there is no means to tally sales from early 1600s. Some up and coming sources suggest that Don Quixote has sold around 500 million copies till date.
Compared to the top 10 lists in regards to the best-selling novels on other websites, this countdown here is backed with the latest and near-accurate sales figures cumulatively added from year to year since the novels were first published. Additionally, the list is not prejudiced to English novels; there are some good non-English novels as well in the list.
So, what do you think of our “Top 10 Best-Selling Novels Of All Time”? Feel free to make comments and suggestions or start a debate on what other novels should have been included on the list. Thank you for reading.