The Most Popular Books Of All Time

Looking for something new to add to your reading queue? Shopping for a big reader this holiday season? The most popular books around are stories that transcend culture, age, and experiences – they appeal to a large number of people across the globe.

I’ve always been interested in checking out the ‘classics’. You know, the books that seemingly everyone has read, and are popular around the globe. This is at least in part because I’m always curious about what the big deal is. Why is Homer so popular, I wondered prior to reading it. Isn’t the Odyssey a difficult book to get through? Are Mark Twain and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as interesting as they’re made out to be?

Well, as it turns out, I’ve read most of the books listed on the handy infographic below, and as one would expect, I loved some of them and, well, didn’t love some of the others. Take a gander below to learn what the most popular books around the world are, how many editions they’ve gone through, how many languages they’ve been translated into, and how many copies have been sold.

The Most Popular Books Of All Time

  • Homer’s The Odyssey 
  • The Holy Quran
  • William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet 
  • The King James Bible
  • Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote 
  • Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe 
  • Cao Xueqin’s Dream of the Red Chamber 
  • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice 
  • Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities
  • Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales 
  • Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
  • Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • H. Rider Haggard’s She: A Story of Adventure
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind
  • JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit
  • Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None
  • Antoine de St. Exupery’s Le Petit Prince
  • George Orwell’s 1984
  • CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
  • JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
  • JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Richard Adams’ Watership Down
  • Mao Zedong’s Quotations From Chairman Mao
  • Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code
  • JK Rowling’s Harry Potter
  • Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy


How many of the books on the list have you read? Do you teach any of them in your classes? What do your students think of them if you do?



1 Comment

  1. anon

    December 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Could it be the reason that these book are so highly read is because they’ve been around since before dirt was invented? Some of them are ok, but come on, there are much better books out there than these.