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Sunday, July 07, 2019

10 of the Best-Selling Books in History (Minus Religious Texts) | Book Corner - Mental Floss

Which books have sold the most throughout history? suggest Austin Thompson, researcher and app developer.

Photo: Korneeva_Kristina/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The answer isn't as straightforward as it might seem. Older books that have been published for centuries have poor data, and a lack of copyright can allow for dozens of publishers to enter the field, making numbers even more difficult to count. Then there's the question of what counts as a single book—do you count The Lord of the Rings, for instance, as one item even though it was published as three separate books? (Tolkien himself clearly stated “The book is not of course a ‘trilogy’ . . . the story was conceived and written as a whole” and only split the story up because of length and cost issues.) Extending the issue, what is a book? Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone has sold an estimated 120 million copies worldwide, but IKEA printed 203 million catalogs in 2017 alone, and both Sorcerer’s and IKEA are just over 300 pages in length.

With the understanding that the definition of a book is difficult; data is often impossible to confirm; that religious books like the Bible and Qur’an will be excluded; and that this list is not exhaustive, complete, or even a "top 10," these are candidates for some of the best-selling books in history.

Source: Mental Floss