Updated on June 26, 2024

Books have an amazing power to take us to new worlds, spark our imagination, and teach us about life. While many books have been written over time, only a few have become the most read and loved by people everywhere. Let's take a journey to discover the twenty most-read books in the world. Each one has its own special story and message that people continue to enjoy across generations.

1. The Bible

What is the #1 most read book in the world? The Bible holds the top spot, with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed. It is the holy scripture of Christianity and is also respected in Judaism. The Bible is a collection of sacred texts that include history, poetry, prophecy, and moral teachings, making it the most widely read and distributed book globally.

2. Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-Tung by Mao Zedong

The second most-read book in the world is a collection of Mao Zedong’s writings and speeches, which has sold over a billion copies. It's a key part of Chinese culture and politics, making it one of the most influential books of the 20th century.

3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series has charmed readers all over the world, selling over 500 million copies. The seven books follow the young wizard's adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and they've captivated people of all ages.

4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel, " The Lord of the Rings," has sold over 150 million copies. It draws readers into the magical world of Middle-earth, where they follow a gripping story of heroism, friendship, and the fight between good and evil.

5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho's novel "The Alchemist," which has sold over 150 million copies, is a modern classic that encourages readers to pursue their dreams and follow their hearts. It tells the philosophical and allegorical story of a shepherd named Santiago as he embarks on a journey to discover his Personal Legend.

6. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Dan Brown's thriller "The Da Vinci Code" has captured the imaginations of readers globally, selling over 80 million copies. The novel's thrilling blend of art, history, and mystery keeps readers eagerly engaged.

7. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer’s "Twilight Saga" has taken the world by storm, selling over 120 million copies. The four-book series explores vampires, werewolves, and forbidden love, captivating a broad audience, especially young adults.

8. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell's classic novel has been purchased over 30 million times. "Gone with the Wind" is an epic historical romance that unfolds during the American Civil War, delving into themes of love, survival, and societal change.

9. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill's motivational book, which has sold over 100 million copies, has motivated countless people to reach for success. "Think and Grow Rich" discusses the principles of personal achievement and financial independence.

10. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne Frank's diary, recounting her time hiding from the Nazis in World War II, has deeply moved millions of people. Selling over 30 million copies, it stands as a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit in challenging times.

11. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel "The Great Gatsby" has sold more than 25 million copies all around the world, tells the story of Jay Gatsby and his impossible love for Daisy. It's considered one of the best American novels, with its metaphors and dreamy style making you think.

12. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The famous Pelican Shakespeare series has sold over four million copies worldwide. One of Shakespeare's most acclaimed plays, Hamlet, follows the journey of a troubled Danish prince searching for his father's killer. Along the way, Hamlet grapples with his sanity and speaks some of Literature's most profound and impactful lines.

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye has a broad global readership, with over 65 million copies sold and about one million copies selling annually. Originally written for adults, J.D. Salinger's novel is now popular among teenagers worldwide for its themes of coming-of-age and alienation.

The protagonist, Holden Caulfield, is a troubled young person navigating his identity and connections with others. This touching and profound book is often praised as a timeless and relatable masterpiece.

14. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee's book is famous all around the world for talking about important topics like racism and sexual assault. It has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. The story is told by a six-year-old girl named Scout, who talks about serious and sad things in a simple and innocent way. This makes the book very touching and meaningful, and people consider it a classic that will always be important.

15. The Odyssey by Homer

Despite being the oldest book on this list, Homer's Odyssey has sold over two million copies and remains a timeless classic. It is the original adventure story, set after the famous battle of Troy, depicting Odysseus' journey home and the challenges he encounters along the way.

16. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Many argue that Pride and Prejudice is Jane Austen's finest novel, having sold over 20 million copies worldwide. It delves into the lives of the Bennet sisters and the various relationships they experience. The book is famous for the romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, and it's celebrated as one of the most realistic and feminist texts of its era.

17. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Joseph Heller's book is now a famous part of American literature and is commonly studied in schools today. It has sold 10 million copies just in the United States. The story is about a pilot dealing with difficulties and thinking deeply during a war, showing how human suffering can be confusing and contradictory.

18. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, one of the most renowned eponymous novels ever written by Charlotte Bronte , is her most famous work. It has sold over 2 million copies, narrating the journey of a school teacher as she enters the enigmatic world of Mr. Rochester.

19. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Some argue that it's one of the most thought-provoking and controversial novels ever written, selling over 15 million copies. Dostoevsky's story traces the life of a poor ex-student who commits a murder, offering a deep exploration of his evolving emotions: initially, feelings of justification and satisfaction, then of guilt and regret.

20. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Achebe's book, seen as a typical modern African novel, has sold over 20 million copies. It tells the story of an Igbo man dealing with the growing British control. Covering topics like race, religion, and how societies work, Things Fall Apart is still very important today, just like it was when it came out in 1958.


In conclusion, these twenty books, along with professional book writing services, have reached people everywhere and made a strong impact. They offer spiritual guidance, exciting adventures, and valuable life lessons. These classic books are loved and read again by book lovers of all ages.

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