Best-selling books of all time are difficult to identify with accuracy because of the span of centuries, but generally accepted lists often include "Don Quixote," "Xinhua Zidian," "A Tale of Two Cities" and "The Lord of the Rings." Works in the public domain can be printed by many different publishers.
With books such as "A Tale of Two Cities," which is in the public domain, it is almost impossible to accurately track sales over such a long period time. In addition, many best-selling books lists do not include religious or philosophical texts because the data is too inaccurate for works that have been in existence for many centuries. Many religious texts are printed and given away for free, thereby negating their tally in lists of books actually sold.
Lists which exclude works in the public domain often put "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien as the best-selling book of all time. Other contenders in the fiction category include "The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown, "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by J.K. Rowling, "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie, and "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Books are ranked by the number of books sold, not the amount of books published. These lists also do not include non-fiction, textbooks or comic books.