What Are Some of the Best Selling Books Ever Written?

Lists of best-selling books generally include the Bible, the Qur'an, the Book of Mormon, "Don Quixote" by Cervantes and Xinhua Zidian (the Chinese dictionary). More recent titles include "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens, "The Lord of the Rings" by Tolkien, and "Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone" by Rowling.

Book publication, distribution and the long history of literature make it difficult to identify with certainty the best-selling books ever written. Though many sources publish lists of bestselling books, those sources rely on different criteria and data when creating their lists. Some sources focus primarily on a book's popularity while other sources place more emphasis on actual sales.

In spite of these differences, most lists include the following fiction: "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie, "Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis, "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Bestselling non-fiction includes "The Little Red Book," the American Spelling Book by Noah Webster and "Chairman Mao's Poems" by Mao Zedong.

Several news publications and retailers track and publish information about current best-selling books. The New York Times, for example, publishes weekly lists of top-selling titles in general and by category.