Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bestsellers... of All Time!

It seems like we're forever looking for something great to read, right?

This morning, when I flipped through my desk calendar, a notebook-sized spiral angled at writers with trivia and notes of encouragement (published by QPB), I stumbled across a list of The Bestselling Books of All Time! And I thought, why not share the titles? It would appear these are the somethings great.

*The following information is copied word-for-word from the calendar.*

The Bible holds the number-one spot, with somewhere between five and six billion copies sold. In fact, religious titles--the Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Common Prayer--all have boffo sales figures. But they would skew the list. For that matter, so do Harry Potter novels. So regard this as a partial, yet utterly fascinating roster of the kind of sales figures authors dream of.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, 1605 - 500 million copies
Clear away the sacred texts and this is the first secular book - and novel to boot! - with seriously impressive sales figures.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, 1814 - 200 million copies
Who knew swashbuckling, a quest for vengeance and suddenly becoming really, really rich could have such broad appeal?

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, 1939 - 115 million copies
You may also know this classic mystery novel by its alternate title, Ten Little Indians.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951 - 65 million copies
We debated whether to include this one, since it does apear so often on high school and college reading lists, but, a sale is a sale.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, 2003 - 64 million copies
One can only sigh heavily.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri, 1880 - 52 million copies
This one took us by surprise, too.

The following are all tied at 50 million copies

Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, 1880

King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard, 1885

The Curse of Capistrano (aka The Mask of Zorro) by Johnston McCulley, 1920

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, 1936

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1943

The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1946

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, 1988


***

So what do you think? Were you in the know? How many/which ones have you already read?

32 comments:

Melanie Avila said...

Hmm.. I've read:

Catcher in the Rye
The Alchemist
Don Quixote
Da Vinci Code
parts of the Bible

and The Count of Monte Cristo is on my shelf, to be read.

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh dear heavens. I've only read two - The Bible (though not all of it) and the Da Vinci Code, which I DID NOT like.

Wendy said...

Not so in the know. I've only read three.
Oh well, I have my own list I go by. :D
~ Wendy

Debbie said...

I was surprised. Oh, how I loved Heidi! And the Alchemist surprised me. Love his books but I didn't know it would rank that high.

Marybeth said...

The Catcher in the Rye
And all of the Harry Potter books..Too many times (cuz I'm a big dork like that) and most of the bible spread out over 28 years of going to church on Sunday's :D

My hubby keeps trying to convince me that I need to read The DaVinci Code though...suppose I should think about it eh? Probably same goes with And then There were None since we have that one too....

ralfast said...

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1943

Best children story ever.

Don Quijote, well he is also required reading in most Spanish speaking countries. I read it probably three times between High School and College.

scarlethue said...

Only four for me. I like weird books though.

Turkey Lurkey said...

Potter books (two or three times)

Da Vinci Code (once was enough)

I would like to read the Count this summer, and Zorro looks good too!

Joanne said...

Interesting bestseller trivia ... I've read the Da Vinci Code, and own Heidi and the Bible. I have other classics, Rebecca, Of Human Bondage, Dr. Zhivago, Gone With The Wind, and a few others, but I guess they never made the Top tier here!

Ang said...

Well...let's see:

The Bible (most of it)
Don Quixote
The Count of Monte Cristo
And Then There Were None (love Agatha Christie)
The Catcher in the Rye

Thanks to AP English...Etowah High School...Class of 1988! Loved that class.

WendyCinNYC said...

I've read 7 on the list, but 3 were for English classes. I've never read Agatha Christie, but I'd like to.

Lori Tiron-Pandit said...

I seem to have read ten of them. All from the first list (Well, the Bible not really entirely, but tried) and only three from the second one. I never read the Dale Carnegie book, dr. Spock, Zorro (the first Zorro movie I ever saw, with Alain Delon, was just too good) or the King Solomon's mines. Are these worldwide sales, or just from US, do you know?

Anyway, I find very interesting how eclectic this list is, with old and new books, fiction, non-fiction, highly artistic and just mass-consumption literature. Very interesting.

Kara said...

Only four. I love Tthe Little Prince! This list is very interesting though,thanks for sharing:)

thedomesticfringe said...

I've only read a few. If I remember the list correctly, 3. Looks like I should be doing some reading. ;-)

Thanks for the list.
-FringeGirl

Jody Hedlund said...

Isn't it amazing what kinds of books make the bestseller list? Sure shows the subjectivity and individuality of people's reading habits!

Lady Glamis said...

Hmmm, wow! I've read 4 of those. Interesting list!

Terri Tiffany said...

I've read 4 or them--is that bad or what??

Angie Ledbetter said...

Ouch! Only five. And I really can't believe To Kill a Mockingbird didn't make the lsit.

Janna Qualman said...

Melanie - You've done better than most, it appears!

Melissa - My list is about parralel with yours.

Wendy - Me, too. I tend to go different routes.

Debbie - I've heard mention of The Alchemist a lot lately, and may have to check it out.

Hi, Marybeth! Thanks for stopping by. You certainly aren't the only HP dork. ;)

Rafael - I feel like I should know the story of The Little Prince. I'll check it out!

scarlethue - Nothing wrong with that!

Janna Qualman said...

Turkey - I'd like to read that one, too. Though I'd probably understand a movie version better. ;)

Joanne - I'd have expected some of those on there!

Ang! *hugs*

Wendy - Wow, lady. YOU get the gold star, for class or not.

Okay, so then Lori gets TWO gold stars. :D And that's an excellent question. I've looked at the calendar again, but it doesn't specify if this was just America. I'd guess world-wide, though, given a few of the titles.

Kara - I'll def check out The Little Prince, then!

FG - Me, too.

Jody - Absolutely!

Lady - I was struck by some of the titles, too.

Terri - You've still got some beat!

Angie - I would have thought so, too!

Deb Shucka said...

What an interesting mix. I've read most of them, but love that Agatha and Heidi both made the list. I'm with Angie - To Kill a Mockingbird should be there. Actually I could probably fill pages with books I think should be.

Woman in a Window said...

I am so ill informed but then that does not come as a surprise to me! Selective reader, I am, as in I elect to not read very much there days.

Jessica said...

Interesting list.
I read Catcher for school. Bible for me. None of the others at all. LOL

Janna Qualman said...

Deb - Most of them? Because you're a teacher, you think, or would you have anyway? Go you!

Woman - But that probably keeps you from wasting time on something you'd dislike, right?

Jessica - How funny! :)

The Hat Chick said...

I've only read the bible. If they could break down those other books and publish them in the newspaper, I might have a chance at them.

Kristen Painter said...

The Bible and Catcher - but only because that one was required in school.

colbymarshall said...

have to be honest...though literary masterful writing it may not be, I actually love Da Vinci Code. Guilty pleasure ;-)

Janet said...

Six, maybe seven (one of the problems for me is that I read some of these over 30 and even 40 years ago, and it's hard to remember for sure sometimes), plus the Bible and all the Harry Potters. And I don't think I read any of them for class assignments.

Nadine said...

This was fascinating! Hmm.. Let's see.

I've only read parts of the bible, Catcher in the Rye, and Da Vinci Code.

Fun post!

Janna Qualman said...

Hat Chick - They do all seem to be incredibly long books, don't they?

Kristen - It's okay; I do believe there are more important things going on for you. ;)

Colby - I read it when it first came out, but honestly can't remember much about it. I'd like to see the movie! (I LOVE Tom Hanks.)

Janet - Consider me impressed! :)

Nadine - Thanks! I thought this was a neat, different sort of post, too.

Capri K said...

Only 2.
The Bible and The DaVinci Code. I have also read 4 Harry Potter books out loud with our kids. They read the rest on their own.

Kathy said...

Parts of the Bible.

And The Catcher in the Rye.