I found this on GalleyCat’s page from December 27, 2012 and it is listed as “by far the most popular (and controversial)” infographics they had posted that year. Jared Fanning created it using a list compiled by freelance writer James Chapman–based on the number of copies each book sold over the last 50 years.
The ranking and numbers in millions of copies:
1. The Bible (3,900)
2. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tsung (820)
3. Harry Potter (400)
4. The Lord of the Rings (103)
5. The Alchemist (65)
6. The Da Vinci Code (57)
7. The Twilight Saga (43)
8. Gone with the Wind (33)
9. Think and Grow Rich (30)
10. The Diary of Anne Frank (27)
There are several that for sheer sales I would think the list makes sense, with but I have to admit I have some serious skepticism. In part because this reads as a very Western-centric list and I have to wonder that there is not a Chinese or Indian author with significant popularity who would achieve significant sales numbers and yet be a relative unknown in Europe and the United States.
What comes to mind for me are some of the amazing actors and actresses, and singers with massive followings that I grew up with overseas that no one had ever heard of here. That is what makes me question this list.
What do you think? And if not these, what books would you have expected (or wanted) to see on the Top 10 Most Read Books in the World List?