best seller ever

The thread about O’Reilly’s book sales got me thinking.

What was was the best selling book by a living author?

IIRC, the answer would be the Guiness Book of World Records. Really.

(Yes, I believe God is alive, for all you smart-alecks. But I didn’t think that’s what vanilla was looking for…)

Zev Steinhardt

Yes, my good man, I figured some would say the Bible,but many on here don’t believe He is alive(I do!) so since I already thought of the Bible,I wanted to know the next answer.
And thanks.;j

If you mean authors who are still alive, then I’m not sure.

If you mean sales during the author’s lifetime, Chaiman Mao’s Little Red Book which “sold” around 800,000,000 copies. This somewhat swamps the Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care by Dr. Spock (39,000,000) or Valley of the Dolls (30,000,000)

It probably depends what you mean. According to Guinness World Records (thanks for the suggestion, Zev!), “Guinness World Records™ is the world’s best ever selling copyright book!” (100 million copies in 37 languages). Of course, if the Bible (best-selling non-fiction [there’s a good debate] book with 2.5 billion in 2,233 languages and dialects) doesn’t count, I’m not sure that GWR should count since “author” may not really apply. The best-selling fiction author is Dame Agatha Christie (78 crime novels selling about 2 billion copies in 44 languages). GWR doesn’t list best selling fiction book, though it lists Hillary Clinton’s Living History as the fastest selling.

Guiness has sold around 81,000,000 copies, but doesn’t really have a single author.
The Bible has sold around 6,000,000,000 copies btw

I knew Abbie had mentioned that on the Merv Griffin show back when.Guess he was tellin the truth.

If we are talking about regular trade books by a single author, then Harry Potter is hard to beat:

FWIW, the Bible is the biggest all-time seller. Ironically it’s also the single most stolen book. (No cite, can anyone help here?). But, technically, it didn’t have an author. It was written by a multitude of people. It’s more a compilation than a story.
(But I still believe in the entity that inspired it)

I’d be curious as to which version of the Bible holds the record, and what that quantity might be. My guesses would be the Septuagint, the Greek version, in constant use since the early centuries AD in Greek-speaking areas, and with its O.T. (not the Tanakh; it includes other books) being the Bible of Greek-speaking Jews since Ptolemaic days; or the King James Version, the standard Bible of (nearly) all English-speaking people for three centuries prior to 20th century translations.

Whichever version the Gideon’s put in the hotel rooms. They claim 59,000,000 distributed worldwide.

I don’t remember ever staying in a hotel room in the US that didn’t have one. On the rare occasion where there was none it was probably stolen since other rooms in the hotel had one.

FYI: The Gideon Society would kinda’ like it if you DID take a Bible. They don’t mind losing the occasional copy, they can always replace it[wonder if they do sweeps through motels and hotels every so often?] and it means you probably were interested enough to do further reading. Sorta’ their raison d’etre, getting the word out and about that is.

I’m pretty sure Gideons put out the King James Bible. I was in a hotel in Alaska that had both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I would think most Utah hotels have both. I didn’t think there were many Mormons in Alaska.

I would guess the Koran has sold a bunch of copies too.