The Most Popular Book Ever Read: Ranking the Ultimate Literary Phenomenon

Choose the book you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 17, 2024 06:52
Welcome to StrawPoll's ultimate quest to uncover the most popular book ever read! We've curated an incredible list of literary masterpieces that have captured the hearts and minds of readers across generations. From timeless classics to contemporary bestsellers, this is your chance to have your say and make your favorite book rise to the top. Cast your vote, champion your treasured tome, and discover if your chosen novel reigns supreme. Feel like we've missed a literary gem? Don't worry, you can suggest your own additions and rally others to join your cause. Ready to embark on this literary adventure? Turn the page and let the great book battle commence!

What Is the Most Popular Book Ever Read?

  1. 1
    The Bible is with an estimated 5 billion copies sold, the Bible is considered the most popular book ever read. It is a religious text containing the teachings and stories of Christianity.
    The Bible is a religious text that holds great significance for many religious and cultural communities around the world. It is a collection of sacred scriptures and writings that are revered as divinely inspired by Christians and Jews. The Bible is divided into two main sections, the Old Testament, which contains religious texts and history prior to the birth of Jesus Christ, and the New Testament, which focuses on the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It covers a wide range of genres, including narratives, poetry, laws, prophecies, and letters. The Bible has been translated into numerous languages and has had a profound impact on literature, art, and religious practices throughout history.
    • Number of Books: 66 (for Protestant versions)
    • Number of Chapters: 1,189
    • Number of Verses: 31,102
    • Languages: Written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek
    • Publication Date: Between the 15th century BCE and the 1st century CE
    The Bible in other rankings
  2. 2
    Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung is also known as the Little Red Book, this book contains a collection of sayings and speeches by Mao Zedong, the former Chinese chairman. It has sold an estimated 900 million copies.
    Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, also known as the Little Red Book, is a collection of selected speeches and writings by Mao Zedong, the former leader of the Communist Party of China. It was first published in 1964 and widely distributed during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The book served as a guide for the Chinese people in terms of ideology, politics, and behavior, promoting Mao's revolutionary ideas.
    • Original publication year: 1964
    • Number of published editions: over 1 billion
    • Number of languages translated: over 50
    • Number of quotations included: varies across editions, usually around 400
    • Total page count (in its most common edition): approximately 300
  3. 3
    Don Quixote is a novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote has sold an estimated 500 million copies and is considered one of the greatest works of fiction ever written.
    Don Quixote is a classical ballet that premiered in Moscow in 1869. It is loosely based on the famous novel by Miguel de Cervantes and follows the adventures of Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza. The ballet is known for its lively and colorful choreography, showcasing the talents of the dancers through virtuosic solos, energetic group dances, and breathtaking pas de deux.
    • Premiere Date: December 26, 1869
    • Setting: Spain
    • Act: Three acts
    • Style: Classical ballet
    • Main Characters: Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Kitri, Basilio
    Don Quixote in other rankings
  4. 4
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, this book has sold over 120 million copies worldwide and has become a cultural phenomenon.
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first installment in the beloved Harry Potter series. It follows the magical journey of a young boy named Harry Potter who discovers he is a wizard and is enrolled in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Harry navigates through a world filled with enchantment, danger, and friendship, he uncovers the truth about his parents' mysterious deaths and faces the dark wizard Lord Voldemort. With its captivating plot, engaging characters, and intricate magical world, the book takes readers on an unforgettable adventure.
    • Genre: Fantasy
    • Publication Year: 1997
    • Page Count: 223
    • Main Protagonist: Harry Potter
    • Setting: Wizarding World, primarily Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in other rankings
  5. 5

    The Lord of the Rings

    J.R.R. Tolkien
    The Lord of the Rings is a trilogy of fantasy novels by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings has sold over 150 million copies and has been adapted into films and other media.
    The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It follows the quest of a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins who is tasked with destroying a powerful ring. Along his journey, he is accompanied by a fellowship of diverse characters, including elves, dwarves, men, and other hobbits, who strive to protect him and defeat the dark forces. The story takes place in the fictional world of Middle-earth and delves into themes of heroism, friendship, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil.
    • Publication Year: 1954-1955
    • Genre: High fantasy
    • Number of Volumes: 3
    • Number of Chapters: 62
    • Total Word Count: 455,125
    The Lord of the Rings in other rankings
  6. 6

    The Alchemist

    Paulo Coelho
    The Alchemist is a novel by Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist has sold over 65 million copies and has been translated into over 80 languages. It is a philosophical and inspirational story about following one's dreams.
    The Alchemist is a philosophical novel written by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It tells the story of an Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who goes on a journey to find a hidden treasure in the Egyptian desert, guided by a series of omens. Along the way, he learns important life lessons and discovers the true meaning of his personal legend and the importance of following one's dreams.
    • Publication Year: 1988
    • Genre: Philosophical Fiction
    • Language: Originally written in Portuguese, translated into multiple languages
    • Number of Pages: 163
    • Themes: Personal Legends, Destiny, Dreams, Omens, Spirituality
  7. 7

    The Da Vinci Code

    Dan Brown
    The Da Vinci Code is a thriller novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code has sold over 80 million copies and has been adapted into a film. It explores themes of religion, art, and conspiracy theories.
    The Da Vinci Code is a popular mystery thriller novel that was written by Dan Brown. It was first published in 2003 and quickly gained immense popularity around the world.
    • Publication Date: 2003
    • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
    • Setting: Paris, France
    • Main Characters: Robert Langdon, Sophie Neveu
    • Themes: Religion, Art, Conspiracy
  8. 8
    The Catcher in the Rye
    Bantam · Public domain

    The Catcher in the Rye

    J.D. Salinger
    The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye has sold over 65 million copies and is considered a classic of American literature. It explores themes of teenage angst and alienation.
    The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age novel written by J.D. Salinger. It follows the story of Holden Caulfield, a disillusioned teenager, as he navigates through life and grapples with themes of identity, alienation, and the loss of innocence. The novel is set in the 1950s and is renowned for its candid portrayal of teenage angst and its examination of societal expectations.
    • Genre: Coming-of-age, Bildungsroman
    • Publication Year: 1951
    • Setting: 1950s New York City
    • Themes: Identity, Alienation, Loss of innocence
    • Narrative Style: First person, stream-of-consciousness
    The Catcher in the Rye in other rankings
  9. 9
    To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird has sold over 50 million copies and is also considered a classic of American literature. It explores themes of racism and injustice in the South.
    To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic American novel written by Harper Lee. Set in the 1930s, the story revolves around a young girl named Scout Finch who narrates her experiences in a small Southern town and the events surrounding her father's defense of a black man falsely accused of rape. Through Scout's innocent eyes, the novel explores themes of racism, injustice, morality, and the loss of innocence.
    • Publication Year: 1960
    • Genre: Literary Fiction
    • Setting: Maycomb, Alabama, USA
    • Narrative Perspective: First-person
    • Main Characters: Scout Finch, Atticus Finch, Jem Finch
    To Kill a Mockingbird in other rankings
  10. 10
    The Diary of a Young Girl
    Gonzalort1 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The Diary of a Young Girl is also known as The Diary of Anne Frank, this book is a diary kept by Anne Frank during her time in hiding from the Nazis during World War II. It has sold over 30 million copies and is considered a poignant and important account of the Holocaust.
    The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, is a well-known autobiography published in 1947. It was written by Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager who lived in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands until she and her family were eventually captured and sent to concentration camps. Anne Frank's diary entries provide a poignant and intimate account of her thoughts, emotions, and daily life while in hiding. The diary is considered a powerful and important historical document.
    • Publication Year: 1947
    • Author: Anne Frank
    • Genre: Autobiography
    • Language: Dutch
    • Original Title: Het Achterhuis
    The Diary of a Young Girl in other rankings

Missing your favorite book?


Ranking factors for popular book

  1. Number of copies sold
    This is a primary indicator of a book's popularity, as it directly reflects the number of people who have purchased and read the book.
  2. Cultural impact
    A book's significance in contributing to societal changes, influencing important conversations, and shaping public opinion should be considered when evaluating its popularity.
  3. Timelessness
    A popular book often remains relevant and well-read over time. Examining the longevity of a book's appeal across multiple generations is essential in determining its popularity.
  4. Critical acclaim
    Reception by critics, as well as the book's success in winning prestigious awards such as the Nobel Prize in Literature, Pulitzer Prize, or Man Booker Prize, are important factors when assessing a book's popularity.
  5. Translation and global reach
    The number of languages a book has been translated into demonstrates its geographic popularity and accessibility to readers across the globe.
  6. Adaptations to other forms of media
    Successful books often inspire adaptations into film, television, theater, or other formats, which can further contribute to their widespread popularity.
  7. Reader reviews and ratings
    Positive feedback and high ratings from readers on platforms such as Amazon, Goodreads, and other book review platforms can be an indicator of a book's popularity.
  8. Presence in academia
    If a book is frequently taught or studied in educational settings like schools and universities, it can signal that it is widely read and regarded as important or influential literature.
  9. Listening formats
    The availability of the book in audio formats (audiobooks) and being highly listened to can contribute to its popularity.
  10. Inclusion in bestseller lists and rankings
    Consistent appearance on bestseller lists, such as the New York Times Best Sellers list or Amazon's bestseller rankings, are a clear indication of a book's popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular book ever read. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or book is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 180 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each book once every 24 hours. The rank of each book is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular book ever read

Reading is a timeless pastime that has been enjoyed by people for centuries. Throughout history, countless books have been published and read by millions of people around the world. But which books have stood the test of time and captured the hearts and minds of the most readers? Determining the most popular book ever read is no easy feat. The definition of "popular" can vary greatly depending on factors such as time period, genre, and audience. However, there are a few books that have consistently appeared on "best-seller" lists and have been widely read and beloved by generations of readers. Some of the contenders for the title of most popular book ever read include classics such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, and "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Other popular books include "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling, and "The Bible". Ultimately, the most popular book ever read is subjective and can vary from person to person. However, there is no denying the impact that these books have had on literature and on the readers who have been touched by their stories.

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