5 Most Read Books in History


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Devoid of any sentiments, the most-read books in history have retained their masterpiece status to date. It seems like more people are reading them today because of the mind-blowing data on the copies sold. Humans have been reading since the early Egyptian civilization and various schools of thought have emerged and managed to reach this century because of the excellently published books.

A Controversial list of the world’s read books

James Chapman first researched thoroughly the most read books and came up with a list that has been controversial. Books like the Bible made it to the number one rating. But the controversy stems from the fact that the outlined books were listed in order of the number of copies produced and distributed.

It was also limited by ignoring online readership and digital copies of books. Some of the books mentioned also had questionable authorship as they have been distributed for centuries. However, from his highly controversial list, some books with less controversy have been selected to be used here.

To safely utilize the resource he provided, his personal ranking of the books will be set aside in favour of a less-controversial list.

Below are some of the most-read books in history

  1.  Harry Potter

The famous J. K. Rawlings came about the idea for Harry Potter while on a trip in train, in 1990. In 1997, Harry Potter was published. It is reported to have sold 500 million copies at the last check before this article was published.

  • The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho first published The Alchemist in 1988. He is the author of 30 books that have sold over 320 million copies. The book also made James Chapman’s list of most-read books in the world.

  • The Da Vinci Code

The novel, The Da Vinci Code sold more than 80 million copies after it was published by the author, Dan Brown in 2003. The book has been widely read and it is popular among young people and critics of traditional institutions.

  • Think and Grow Rich

The ideas in the book Think and Grow Rich have been very much around since 1937 after the book was published by author Napoleon Hill. 20 million copies have reportedly been sold.

  • Lord of the rings

J. R. R. Tolkien published his fantasy novel, Lord of the rings from 1954 to 1955. In all, the book consists of three parts separately published but known by the title Lord of the Rings. A total of about 150 million copies have been sold.


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