Long before the human being learnt the art of reading and writing, all the knowledge used to passed on from person to person and from generation to generation by word of mouth. The most popular form of communication since ancient times has been story-telling. Initially, even the religious knowledge used to be passed on in the form of stories only. That is how religious books like The Bible, the Bhagavad Gita and so on were preserved from generation to generation. After the invention of paper and printing press, the trend of printing such stories came into existence. Due to the popularity of the religious scriptures, their circulation was so immense, it is literally impossible to keep a track of all the copies circulated worldwide. There are other books written by famous authors at different times which have attained tremendous popularity due to their content and style of presentation. Here are the Top 10 best-selling single-series books of all time.
1) A tale of two cities (200 million copies sold)
This phenomenon was written by Charles Dickens and was first published in 1859. The book describes the way of life in two cities, London and Paris, before and after the French revolution. The novel represents the dilemmas of the peasants of French as they are demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years before the revolution. It also talks about the matching cruelty shown by the revolutionaries towards the former aristocrats during the revolution. It compares unappealing social traditions of Paris with London during the same period. The book was published in English.
2) Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) (200 million copies sold)
The little prince is the most read and translated book in the French language. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, it is the most famous work of the French aristocrat writer, poet and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s about a delightful little prince who sets off on a journey across all the planets so see if he can find a friend. He has no luck until he falls to Earth. It was first published in 1943.
3) The Lord of the Rings (150 million copies sold)
Written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J.R.R Tolkien, the Lord of the Rings was actually written as a sequel to his earlier novel, the Hobbit. It was written in stages between 1937 and 1949. It is one of the greatest trilogies every written. The book is based on the struggle for the Ring of Power, which was forged by Sauron, the Dark Lord, a long time ago.
4) The Hobbit (100 million copies sold)
The hobbit is a children’s fantasy novel that was published in 1937. It is again written by J.R.R Tolkien. It plot is about a band of Dwarfs who’s treasure has been stolen by a dragon called Smaug. Gandalf, the wizard, persuades Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, into going with them to get the treasure back. The encounter many adventures along the way.
5) Hong lou meng (Dream of the Red Chamber) (100 million copies sold)
The Dream of the Red Chamber or The Story of the Stone as its commonly called, is written by novelist Cao Xueqin. It was composed in the middle of the 18th century and is one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels. This book describes the rise and fall of the Qing Dynasty. It is believed to be semi-autobiographical as the author also talks about his own family in the process.
6) And Then There Were None (100 million copies sold)
This book is not only Agatha Christine’s best-selling novel but is also the world’s best-selling mystery ever. It was first published in the United Kingdom in 1939 under the title Ten Title Niggers. Due to controversies, the title was changed a few times and finally it came to be known as And Then There Were None. In the novel, ten people who are involved in the death of others but have managed to evade notice or punishment are cleverly persuaded to visit an island. These guests are the only people on the island and each of them is murdered in a pattern resembling the old nursery rhyme, Ten Little Indians.
7) The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (85 million copies sold)
Composed by C.S.Lewis in 1950, this is a fantasy novel written for children. It has also been published in 47 different foreign languages. The novel is set in World War II. In it, four children travel through a wardrobe to the land of Narnia and find out what it is their destiny to free it with the guidance of a mystical lion.
8) She (83 million copies sold)
This story is written in the first-person narrative by Henry Rider Haggard in 1887. It follows the journey of Horace Holly and his charge Leo Vincey to a lost kingdom in the African interior. There they run into a primitive race of natives and a mysterious white queen. It has been translated into 44 different languages.
9) The Da Vinci Code (80 million copies sold)
Written by Dan Brown in 2003, this mystery novel created a world-wide sensation. The book begins with the investigation of a murder. Symbologist Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu are called to Louvre Museum in Paris where they discover that there is a battle going on between the Priory of Sion and Opus Dei. This is taking place over the possibility of Jesus having been married to Mary Magdalene. It is mystery novel that created immense controversy.
10) Think and Grow Rich (70 million copies sold)