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Books that have sold over 50 million copies

  • #29. Watership Down

    Author: Richard Adams
    Year published: 1972
    Approximate sales: 50 million

    Another children's adventure tale that has topped 50 million in sales is Richard Adams' "Watership Down." The book, which was released to rave reviews in Europe, found mixed enthusiasm with its North American release. It took Adams 25 years to publish a sequel.

  • #28. The Eagle Has Landed

    Author: Jack Higgins
    Year published: 1975
    Approximate sales: 50 million

    Another British author to make the list is Jack Higgins with his World War II-themed novel "The Eagle Has Landed." Higgins weaves real-life historical moments with fiction in this thriller, which would later become a major motion picture.

  • #27. The Hite Report

    Author: Shere Hite
    Year published: 1976
    Approximate sales: 50 million

    Hite’s book focuses on female sexuality and was met with stark criticism upon release. While "The Hite Report" was a commercial success, Hite received several death threats leading her to renounce her U.S. citizenship in 1995.

  • #26. Il Nome della Rosa (The Name of the Rose)

    Author: Umberto Eco
    Year published: 1980
    Approximate sales: 50 million

    Another novel with religious themes is author Umberto Eco’s debut novel "The Name of The Rose." Eco’s novel, which was first published in Italian, is a murder mystery set in an Italian monastery.

  • #25. You Can Heal Your Life

    Author: Louise L. Hay
    Year published: 1984
    Approximate sales: 50 million

    One of the few self-help books to make the list, "You Can Heal Your Life" found commercial success after author Louise L. Hay was featured on both "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "Donahue." Her book examines the possibility that physical trauma is often related to deep-seated emotional trauma.

  • #24. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    Author: Jules Verne
    Year published: 1870
    Approximate sales: 60 million

    This classic science fiction novel was published in 1870 and has since sold over 60 million copies across the globe. This deep sea adventure follows Capt. Nemo on his journey to hunt a giant sea monster. It is still regarded as one of the classic adventure novels and is said to pay homage to Homer’s "Odyssey."

  • #23. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

    Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    Year published: 1887
    Approximate sales: 60 million

    This prolific series of 12 short stories follows Sherlock Holmes and his trusty sidekick Watson as they stumble through misadventures while administering their own brand of justice in London, England. The book has inspired numerous blockbuster film adaptations.

  • #22. Think and Grow Rich

    Author: Napoleon Hill
    Year published: 1937
    Approximate sales: 60 million

    Another book that made the list in the self-help category, Napoleon Hill’s "Think And Grow Rich," was inspired by business tycoon Andrew Carnegie and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

  • #21. The Bridges of Madison County

    Author: Robert James Waller
    Year published: 1992
    Approximate sales: 60 million

    One of the more modern titles to find its way onto the list, Robert James Waller’s novel was first published in 1992, making it one of the best-selling books of the 20th century. Waller’s novel tells the story of a lonely postwar Italian woman who has an affair with a National Geographic photographer while her husband and children are away at the Iowa State Fair.

  • #20. The Catcher in the Rye

    Author: J. D. Salinger
    Year published: 1951
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    J. D. Salinger's controversial "The Catcher In The Rye" is a defining coming of age story with themes of teenage rebellion and identity. Salinger’s novel follows protagonist Holden Caulfield on an existential journey through New York City after expulsion from prep school.

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