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Books that have sold over 50 million copies

  • #19. The Alchemist

    Author: Paulo Coelho
    Year published: 1988
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    Another South American author making the list is Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, whose international best-seller has been translated into 70 languages worldwide. "The Alchemist" is the story of a young shepherd who is drawn to Egypt after having recurring dreams of discovering treasure there. The novel was written in only two weeks.

  • #18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

    Author: J. K. Rowling
    Year published: 1999
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" is the third installment in the "Harry Potter" series from author J. K. Rowling, with all books selling over 65 million copies. The book, which was released in 1999, only took Rowling one year to write and won numerous awards including the Bram Stoker award for superior achievement in dark fantasy and horror writing.

  • #17. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

    Author: J. K. Rowling
    Year published: 2000
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    Telling the story of Harry Potter’s fourth year of Hogwarts, "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" was released to much critical and commercial success. It is the only book of the series to win the distinguished Hugo Award. "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire" was adapted for a blockbuster film as well as a video game.

  • #16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    Author: J. K. Rowling
    Year published: 2003
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    The longest book in the series was published in June 2003. The novel which details Harry Potter's fifth year at Hogwarts sold 5 million copies within the first 24 hours of publication.

  • #15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    Author: J. K. Rowling
    Year published: 2005
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    The penultimate novel in the "Harry Potter" series focuses on Lord Voldemort as Harry Potter prepares to battle the ongoing antagonist in the sixth book of the series. The book performed even better than its predecessor, selling 6.9 million copies during the first 24 hours after its release.

  • #14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    Author: J. K. Rowling
    Year published: 2007
    Approximate sales: 65 million

    The final book in the "Harry Potter" series sold 8.3 million copies in the first 24 hours, setting new records for initial sales. The book was written for the maturing audience of Harry Potter fans, capping off the saga with a dramatic and decisive battle with Lord Voldemort. It was eventually adapted into a two-part feature film.

  • #13. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    Author: J. K. Rowling
    Year published: 1998
    Approximate sales: 77 million

    J. K. Rowling, who reportedly wrote the first two "Harry Potter" books while still on welfare benefits in the Edinburgh, Scotland, was worried "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," would not live up to the success of the first book. Little did she know, it was only early days and the entire series would sell over 450 million copies around the world. Not everyone was a fan of the second book, though: A Lewiston, Maine, preacher held a party to mark the release of the second book in which he shredded "Harry Potter" copies. 

  • #12. The Da Vinci Code

    Author: Dan Brown
    Year published: 2003
    Approximate sales: 80 million

    Dan Brown’s international best-seller became a sensation because of Brown’s blending of fiction and historical references. Brown’s novel was so convincing that it sparked a fair amount of controversy due to its claim that the Bible’s Holy Grail mythology was actually a metaphor for the bloodline of Christ, who Brown’s novel fictionalized as having children with Mary Magdalene.

  • #11. She: A History of Adventure

    Author: H. Rider Haggard
    Year Published: 1887
    Approximate Sales: 83 million

    What is said to be the book that sparked the lost world subgenre, "She: A History of Adventure" follows Horace Holly and Leo Vincey as they journey into the African interior to find a lost kingdom ruled by the white queen Ayesha. 


  • #10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

    Author: C. S. Lewis
    Year Published: 1950
    Approximate Sales: 85 million

    The first book in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series, "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" is a children's novel by famed British author C. S. Lewis. The book follows four siblings who move to the countryside to escape the German bombing of London during World War II, where one child finds a magic wardrobe that leads into the fantasy land of Narnia. In 2005 Time named it one of the 100 best English language novels published since 1923.


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