If you’re looking for an excellent book to read, why not pick one of the best-selling books of all time.
We checked it all out to bring you the top three titles across 17 different genres. Whether you’re a fiction and fantasy type of reader, or you need a good book for your kids, this list has something for everyone. We even included audiobooks and made sure that each selection was a bestseller.
Most of these books have received a lot of press, so you’ve probably heard of them. We found some hidden gems, though, so scroll down to find your next best read.
Best-Selling Children’s Books of All Time
The origin of children’s stories may have once been oral, but in 1744, John Newbery’s “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book” became what is known as the first children’s book. Since then, research has emphasized that reading aloud to children can have multiple benefits on their cognitive, emotional, and social development.
Every child from the Millennial generation knows that Harry Potter goes to a magical school. Harry Potter is more than just a children’s book. It’s also the most popular book series of all time, with 500 million copies sold.
Maurice Sendak’s imaginative “Where the Wild Things Are” captures children’s attention of all ages, with a relatable and lonely main character that finds friendship in the oddest of places. Find your copy of this children’s classic here.
”The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle shows beautiful illustrations of a caterpillar eating its way through all kinds of food, inspiring and teaching the curious nature of how things grow and transform. It may not be one of the highest-grossing books, but with such perfect graphic design, grabbing a hard copy of this one here is well worth it.
For a first children’s novel, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White teaches the ins and outs of friendship in a fun and distinctive way, making this book an absolute classic. Perfect for children six and older, this story is considered the best-selling children’s paperback of all time and can be found here.
Best-Selling Fiction Books of All Time
Fiction focuses on character development. The opportunity it gives us to identify with the characters is probably the main source of its appeal. The genre arguably covers the widest selection of books and provides significant benefits to the reader.
A recent study revealed that reading fiction increases the reader’s social and emotional intelligence. Research shows that reading fiction helps develop empathy, theory of mind, and critical thinking.
One of the highest-selling books of all time for fiction is a novel entitled “Don Quixote.” Published in 1605, many call it the first modern novel and one of the foundations of contemporary literature. To give this book a try, you can find it here.
“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens is a must for historical novel fans. It describes Paris and London before and during the French Revolution, and over 200 million copies have been sold to date. Pick up one of the top-selling books ever here, and start reading one of the great classics.
“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery may sound like a children’s book, but it’s more of a philosophical tale. The book covers themes of love and loss, friendship and loneliness. It is available in 301 languages and dialects, which makes it one of the most translated books of all time, and can be found here.
Best-Selling Non-Fiction Books of All Time
It may not be as creative as fiction, but sometimes we all need a bit of fact and undoctored truth. Non-fiction books preserve things as they are and show them back to us, allowing us to learn from the real experience of others.
Non-fiction books allow us to learn new things, understand the world from a factual point of view, and document the discoveries and truths of a particular time.
Katie Couric, a successful journalist, author, and producer, published her life story that has turned into one of the best-selling books of all time. She gets as honest as possible about her struggle with her husband’s fatal illness and its aftermath in her book “Going There.” This tell-all story has left many readers feeling deeply connected to Couric and her family’s struggle. Find it here to start reading.
Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen decided to put on a podcast exploring the conversations of their unlikely friendship. As one of the current top-selling books, “Renegades Born in the USA” was produced, discussing their own careers, marriage, race, politics, and America as they see it. You can buy the book here or find the podcast series on Spotify.
Dave Grohl wrote an autobiography pleasing Nirvana and Foo Fighters fans all over. Documenting his life devoted to music, “The Storyteller” is Grohl’s account of his participation in many iconic rock bands and his experience with fame. Find it here if it sounds like your kind of gig.
Best-Selling Science Fiction Books of All Time
Science fiction brings its own persona to the fictional story genre. While the earliest example of the genre may be Lucian’s “Trips to the Moon” from the 2nd century AD, the term “science fiction” wasn’t used until 1851. With the onset of technological development in the 20th-century, the genre took off, inspiring the imaginations of many sci-fi authors.
The iconic dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is one of the best-selling books of all time in this category. Contemporary readers have detected striking similarities between Orwell’s Big Brother and their own societies, even though the book was published over 70 years ago. If you didn’t have to read it in school already, you can grab it here and decide for yourself.
The science-fiction story “Dune” isn’t just a B-class horror film, but also one of the highest-selling books of all time. It shows a feudal interstellar futuristic society, with Melange, a fictional psychedelic drug, playing a central role in the plot and experience of the characters. You could watch the movie and the remake, but there’s really nothing like the real thing. You can pick it up here.
William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” popularized cyberpunk as a genre. Written in 1984, the story follows a hacker facing a powerful AI, which many can’t help but see as a predictive story of the internet. If you like to look back at how authors were accurately looking forward, get this novel here.
Not everyone has time to sit down and read, and audiobooks seemed to have solved that problem. This genre has been trending for a while, and in 2020 alone, the audiobook sales revenue in the US reached $1.3 billion. On average, a study found that the number of audiobooks the average person listened to in the last year was 8.1.
Interestingly, women listen to audiobooks more than men, and research shows that audiobooks are more popular with higher-income families.
“The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles is one of the top-selling books in the audio format. It reached the top five highest-selling audiobooks one month after it was published. Apparently, the interest in novels about the American road hasn’t decreased since Kerouac, and it can be found here.
Dave Kindred’s autobiography speaks volumes about love, addiction, and loss. Bringing listeners together over a painful topic, “Leave Out the Tragic Parts” can be found here and teaches great lessons about what keeps families together.
Matthew McConaughey narrates his book “Greenlights.” As one of the current top-selling books, it’s a record of his life—stories, lessons, poems, bumper stickers, and much more. McConaughey narrates his own book and shows that he’s not only an eloquent narrator but also a writer in this love story to life itself. Many praise his familiar vocal tone and personalized reading style. Find your own version here and listen to it on one of these great audiobook apps.
Best-Selling Comic Books of All Time
The popularity of comic books in the US is undeniable. Creating an entire subculture of its own and billions of dollars of revenue in books, games, and movies, there’s no doubt that comic books are an immense part of American pop culture.
In August 2021, the best-selling comic book in North America was the first issue of King Spawn, with 479,000 copies sold. The first issue of Batman ’89 sold 134,000 copies in the same month and became the second best-selling comic book in North America for 2021.
Some of the most successful movies borrowed famous characters from the best-selling comic books of all time, such as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, and Wonder Woman.
You can always opt for the movie versions, but the recent comic copy of “The X-Men” has sold approximately 248,000 copies in total. The first volume has remained the most popular, however, selling almost 8.2 million copies to date. Get your hands on a copy of one of the highest-grossing comic books here.
In January 1991, Marvel Comics issued the second highest-selling comic book of all time: X-Force #1. With over 5 million copies sold to date, this classic follows the adventures of a team of mutants and superheroes, and you can get your own copy here.
The tenth book in the Dog Man series sold 236,000 copies in its first week alone. This iconic series deals with themes of love, persistence, and friendship and appeals to a vast array of readers for this very reason. If you’re new to comics, this might be a great first pick, and you can find it here.
Best-Selling Self-Help Books of All Time
Self-help book sales jumped by 30% in early January 2021. Whether it’s personal growth, changing habits, how to be successful, finding love, or making more money, more than ever, people are looking to self-help books to get them where they want to be. Especially around the new year, resolutions are spurring this genre forward annually.
Some might even say self-help books are seasonal.
Of course, relationships, productivity, happiness, and similar topics never go out of style. New authors and experts publish their take on how to solve some of the most puzzling aspects of life, from generation to generation.
One of the best-selling books right now for the self-help genre is titled “Atomic Habits.” It effectively explains how small daily changes can greatly improve your quality of life over time. Author, James Clear, writes a concise and inspiring solution to modern issues in lifestyle change, and it can be found for purchase here.
“The Four Agreements” spent over a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, making it one of the most popular books of all time. The book is based on ancient Toltec wisdom and provides four fundamental rules for living a happy life. This book promotes personal freedom by helping people get rid of self-limiting beliefs and can be found here.
“The 5 Love Languages” answers some of the most difficult questions about love and relationships. What’s even better, it shows us how to apply the advice it contains. Love is an act, not an idea, after all. This book can be found here if you’re interested in communicating better in love.
Best-Selling Fantasy Books of All Time
Fairies, dragons, orcs, and other imaginary creatures are typical for fantasy books. People often mistake high fantasy for children’s fantasy literature, and in recent years, the most popular fantasy books were first aimed at children.
Nevertheless, adults love fantasy worlds, too. Recent research shows that science fiction and fantasy together sold $590.2 million worth of books. It might not be the top-selling genre overall, but fantasy has a dedicated and loyal following.
Fantasy genre enthusiasts will be the first to praise one of the most popular books of all time: “The Hobbit.” The adventure of Bilbo Baggins found its way to adult readership upon publication and created a cult following after “Lord of the Rings.” If you’re interested in going on the journey of a lifetime, visit here.
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is the first novel in the Harry Potter series. The novel that introduces Harry to us is the second best-selling novel of all time, thanks to 120 million copies sold so far. There are so many different editions that you can go for, but if you want to get started with the most popular book series of all time, head here.
Time includes C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” into its list of the 100 best English-language novels published since 1932. This allegorical novel has been a staple in children’s reading lists since its debut. With 85 million copies sold, that makes it part of our best-selling book compilation, and you can get it here.
Best-Selling Business Books of All Time
Many people have the dream of starting their own business without really knowing the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. Reading business books is an economical method of becoming an expert before investing your life savings into an idea.
The author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” reveals a series of habits that lead to efficiency. Over 25 million people have bought this book, and it is translated into 40 languages around the world. If you want to get yourself into some habits that will make you more successful, go here.
“Rich Dad Poor Dad” is for those with ambition. It has been on Time’s top 10 best-selling books of all time list for over six years. It offers financial education and promotes financial independence. Click here to start your financial makeover, including how to grow your own business.
“Think and Grow Rich” is a motivational business book that instructs how to achieve professional success through self-improvement. The author, Napoleon Hill, made a conclusion about making money based on the success stories of the famous millionaires of his time. If it’s time to change your life and become a success, go here.
Read more: Top Motivational Books for Women
Best-Selling Novels of All Time
According to a study, reading reduces stress 68% more than listening to music and 600% more than playing a video game. Reading is a pastime that many think to be lost but has immense benefits to the reader and society as a whole.
By providing complete focus to the brain, reading provides a trance-like state that has been compared to meditation.
“The Da Vinci Code” is full of intrigue and controversy. It challenges the well-established truths about the Catholic church and takes the reader on a mysterious adventure. Since it sold 80 million copies worldwide, it counts as one of the international best-selling books, and you can get it here.
Paolo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” follows the story of a young shepherd determined to find hidden treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. Pursuing one’s destiny at all costs is dominant in this novel, with a core philosophy that it’s enough to want something to happen, and the universe will do the rest. You can find it here.
Bestsellers are rarely used in education, but “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been a curriculum standard for decades. With themes of prejudice, racial inequality, and standing up for what you believe in, this book is a global classic, and you can find it here.
Best-Selling Poetry Books of All Time
Poetry may not be the most read material in the United States, with most Americans preferring novels and other types of fiction. Still, new studies show that 28 million or 11.7% of the US population read poems. This is not an encouraging figure if all the benefits of poetry are considered.
Poetry therapy has proven to be pretty helpful for various issues. Most importantly, reading poetry can educate readers about emotions and communication problems.
As the title suggests, our first choice is one of the best-selling books of all time for married people. “Love Poems for Married People” covers all aspects of married life. The book reminds readers what love is about when the reality of married life hits hard and provides a supportive experience for couples going through rough times. Pick up the latest copy here.
“The Poetry of Pablo Neruda” is even better for reviving a little romance in your life. Hundreds of poems depicting Neruda’s style most certainly deserve the title of one of the greatest international best-selling books. Get this book here, and fall in love with poetry again.
While some praise “Milk and Honey,” others accuse the poet of plagiarism. Sometimes it’s nice to read what all the fuss is about, and either way, you get to read some pretty great feelings and perceptions. We discovered that the best-selling poetry is love poetry, and you can grab it here.
Best-Selling Horror Books of All Time
“House of Leaves,” tells the story of a house that appears to be bigger on the inside than on the outside. The book is known for its unusual layout and pages with sometimes just one line and has been reviewed as a great satire of academia. It may not really be horror, but more a psychological thriller or even a love story. Either way, this critically acclaimed novel can be found here and is worth a read.
It’s not one of the best-selling books right now, but “The Shining” is a horror classic. Describing an alcoholic experiencing horrific flashbacks in a haunted hotel, but the suspense and eerie characters build a tense-filled terror that makes this book a classic. Get yourself a copy here.
“Flowers in the Attic” gives the same anticipatory fear that makes for a great horror novel. This book has sold over 40 million copies worldwide since its debut in 1979. It exudes a gothic horror that has stayed on the bestseller list for decades, and you can find it here.
Best-Selling History Books of All Time
It’s important to know where to start when looking for a history book. History is vast, and facts can easily be manipulated. History’s primary job is to give us an insight into the past so that we can see the bigger picture.
Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses S. Grant is an example of a trustworthy book. It portrays one of the most powerful US generals and presidents. Among other things, the book brings his struggle with alcoholism to light and provides insight to the reader. Dig deeper into the past by finding this book here.
“Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” is another of the New York Times best-selling books of all time. It’s the number one international bestseller and explores how human beings have been shaped and conditioned by our biology and history. This book examines humankind’s evolution from a more integrated point of view and can be found here.
The “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” is a groundbreaking book that reveals the truth about the American continent and the native peoples who inhabited the land. It challenges the widely accepted truth that Columbus found few people in the wilderness of the Americas, and you can get it here.
Check out our selection of the best places to sell textbooks!
Best-Selling Spiritual Books of All Time
Spiritual books help to explore the feeling of something greater than ourselves. By covering the deep and mysterious topics of human existence, many find solace in spiritual books during times of uncertainty.
The 14th Dalai Lama gives answers in his book “The Art of Happiness.” Many people struggle with everyday life, causing them to feel anxiety, anger, and grief. This book provides a way to see the world that grants the reader inner peace, and you can find it here.
“The Power of Now” is one of the best-selling books of all time for several reasons. It has sold over two million copies and is translated into over 30 languages. Living in the moment has never been a bigger issue for people worldwide. The content of this book is powerful enough to awaken the reader. If you’re interested, find it here.
Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha” has an even more powerful message. It states that meaning comes from within. As an illustration, Hesse uses a wealthy Indian Brahmin who renounces a life of privilege and goes on a quest to find spiritual fulfillment. Begin your journey to fulfillment by reading this book here.
Best-Selling Political Books of All Time
Political books may serve a niche audience, but they nonetheless help many to understand the socio-political structures that shape our experience in the modern world.
For example, “Woke Racism” touches upon the never-ending concern in the US of racial inequality. The book exposes the dark side of antiracism, and the author, John McWhorter points out the harmful effect of everything done to fight racism in the United States. If you want a unique and enlightening perspective on the race wars in America, click here.
One of the best-selling books of all time severely criticizes Donald Trump and his presidency. “Midnight in Washington” claims that Trump permanently damaged the US institutions and compromised the Republican party. It becomes evident that the threat to democracy comes from inside the government. If you want to find out more, you can find the book here.
Likewise, “On Tyranny” warns us about authoritarianism in present-day America. The author illustrates it by evoking the darkest moments from the 20th century. These warnings remind the reader to pay attention to the recurring moments in US politics, and you can buy it here.
Best-Selling Religious Books of All Time
Bookstore sales have been declining for years in the US. Some categories, however, have retained their popularity. For one thing, the sales of religious books in the US have been steady for a couple of years and are most popular in hard copy or paperback. In 2020, religious books brought $667.2 million in sales.
According to Guinness World Records, “The Bible” is the highest-selling book of all time as of 1995. It’s one of the current top-selling books, as well. Since Christianity has 2.38 billion followers worldwide, it’s no wonder this religious document is still flying off the shelves. You can also find it online here.
With over 800 million copies sold, the Quran is the second highest-selling religious book. It’s one of the finest classical Arabic texts, and you can grab it here.
The Latter Day Saint movement uses the Book of Mormon as the basis for its teachings. The followers see this book as scripture and as a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas. You can order your copy here.
Best-Selling Mystery Books of All Time
The nature of the mystery genre makes these books the most compelling. At first, readers are given only hints at what’s going on in the story, but by the end of the book, the readers put all the pieces together, only to have been wrong from the start.
Umberto Eco is a master of mystery. He combined historical facts, fiction, information from the Bible, and literary theory into one amazing novel. “The Name of the Rose” has sold over 50 million copies globally, which made it one of the best-selling books of all time. Get your copy here.
Investigating a double homicide, the story in the “Deadly Cross” takes place in modern times. The novel brims with trouble and secrets, and each investigation brings new and riveting discoveries. You can find the book here.
The New York Times described the author of “A Time for Mercy” as a master of plotting. Jake Brigance, a character from Grisham’s bestseller “A Time to Kill,” appears once again to solve the impossible. To get this highlight of the mystery genre, head here.
Best-Selling Books of All Time: Conclusion
This list of bestsellers features books that have given their contribution to each respective genre. Some of them took years to become bestsellers of all time, but for others, a week or a month was more than enough.
Despite the general opinion, people still read books, and print format is still the most popular, no matter how convenient audiobooks are. Nevertheless, there are three remarkable audiobooks on our list, as well, giving you a comprehensive record of the best-selling books ever published.