The most popular book of all time is not Harry Potter, it’s the Qur’ān

The numbers have been crunched and the list for the best selling books of all time has been revealed.

In, 2014, website collated the figures for the number of editions, translations and copies sold of the world’s most popular books, including fiction and non-fiction.

The Islamic book, the Qur’ān came out on top with over 3 billion prints, followed by The King James Bible with over 2.5 billion copies sold. Read the Qur’ān by clicking here.


The third highest selling print is Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, a book of selected speeches and writings by Mao Zedong, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, which has been translated in 34 languages.

Mao Tse Tung

The most popular novel on this list was Spanish novel Don Quixote which came in at fourth place with 500m copies sold, followed by J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter series at fifth place with 450m copies sold.

Harry Potter

Homer’s epic Odyssey has been translated the most amount of time into 250 languages, followed by French Children’s classic Le Petit Prince.

To make for easy reading we’ve ranked the most popular novels below. Numbers indicate number of copies sold or printed and the first printing year is in the brackets.

  1. The Qur’ān (644) – over 3 billion
  2. The King James Bible (1611) – over 2.5 billion
  3. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung (1964) by Mao Zendong – 800 million
  4. Don Quixote (1512) by Miguel de Cervantes – 500 million
  5. Harry Potter series (1997-2007) by J.K.Rowling – 450 million
  6. A Tale of Two Cities (1859) by Charles Dickens – 200 million
  7. The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) by J. R. R. Tolkien – 150 million
  8. Le Petit Prince (1943) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – 140 million
  9. Alice in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Caroll – 100 million
    Dream of the Red Chamber (1754) by Cao Xueqin – 100 million
    And Then There Were None (1939) by Agatha Christie – 100 million
    The Hobbit (1937) J. R. R. Tolkien – 100 million
  10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) by C.S. Lewis – 85 million

“This is the Book (the Qur’ān), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqoon (the pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)).”

(Qur’ān 2:2)

Written by Adeel Malik

Born in Hong Kong, grew up in Scotland and ethnically Pakistani, Adeel primes himself to be a multicultural individual who is an advent social media user for the purpose of learning and propagating Islam while is also a sports fan. Being an English teacher himself, he envisions a bright future for Muslims which he strongly believes can only be done with education.

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