The Top 20 Best-Selling Novelists Ever

After hours of arduous research I have concluded that the following are the top 20 best-selling novelists of all time. Unfortunately I didn’t make the list.

Pile of Books

20. Dan Brown(Born: 1964) – Brown is a thriller fiction author, whose seminal work was the 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code.
Total Books Sold: circa 210 million

19. J. R. R. Tolkien(1892-1973) – High fantasy novelist Tolkien is best remembered for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Total Books Sold: circa 240 million

18. Horatio Alger(1832-1899) – All of 19th Century American author Horatio Alger’s books are about boys from poor backgrounds, who become successful.
Total Books Sold: circa 250 million

17. Louis L’Amour(1908-1988) – L’Amour is the top-selling author of Western novels ever. He wrote 105 books.
Total Books Sold: circa 300 million

16. James Patterson(Born: 1947) – This American thriller and romance author is one of the World’s bestselling living authors.
Total Books Sold: circa 310 million

15. Stephen King(Born: 1947) – Contemporary author Stephen King is a prolific author of horror, science fiction, fantasy and supernatural fiction.
Total Books Sold: circa 350 million

14. Robert Ludlum – (1927-2001) – Ludlum wrote 27 thriller novels. His most famous being The Bourne Trilogy.
Total Books Sold: circa 370 million

13. Leo Tolstoy(1828-1910) – This iconic Russian novelist and short story writer is best remembered for his epic novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
Total Books Sold: circa 380 million

12. Corin Tellado(1927-2009) – Tellado published more than 4,000 novels. In 1994 she was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having sold the most books written in Spanish.
Total Books Sold: circa 400 million

11. Sidney Sheldon(1917-2007) – After a successful career writing for television Sheldon started writing novels at the age of 50.
Total Books Sold: circa 400 million


10. Dean Koontz(Born: 1945) – This American author of suspense thrillers is one of the world’s best-selling living authors.
Total Books Sold: circa 450 million

09. J.K. Rowling(Born: 1965)Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author.
Total Books Sold: circa 460 million

08. Jackie Collins(Born: 1937) – English novelist Jackie Collins has written 29 novels, all of which went on to become best-sellers.
Total Books Sold: circa 500 million

07. Georges Simenon(1903-1989) – This prolific Belgian author wrote nearly 200 novels in addition to many shorter works of fiction.
Total Books Sold: circa 550 million

06. Charles Dickens(1812-1870) – Widely regarded as the greatest writer of the Victorian era, Dickens is also one of the biggest selling authors ever.
Total Books Sold: circa 550 million

05. Gilbert Patten(1866-1945) – The King of the dime novels is best remembered as the author of the Frank Merriwell stories.
Total Books Sold: circa 600 million

04. Danielle Steel(Born: 1947) – American romance and mainstream fiction novelist Danielle Steel is the World’s bestselling living novelist.
Total Books Sold: circa 800 million

03. Harold Robbins(1916-1997) – The New York born playboy and master of publicity penned 25 bestselling novels.
Total Books Sold: circa 800 million

02. Barbara Cartland(1901-2000) – This prolific romance author penned 723 novel over the course of her long life.
Total Books Sold: 1 billion    

01. Agatha Christie(1890-1976) – The Guinness Book of World Records lists the creator of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple as the best-selling novelist of all time.
Total Books Sold: 2 billion


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