Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bestselling Fiction Authors of All Time?

One of the newsletters I subscribe to posted a list of the top bestselling fiction authors of all time. The list comes from Wikipedia, so I’m not sure it’s completely accurate, but it is fun to read. This list includes only those known to have sold 100 million copies or more. Since precise numbers are impossible to determine for many, a column of minimum to maximum estimated sales is provided. Not enough is known about the sale records of some well-known authors to include them in the list at all. Also, the list doesn’t include comic book authors, but it does include the number of titles each author published. Here’s the top eleven:

William Shakespeare, 2 billion minimum to 4 billion maximum (44+ titles published)
Agatha Christie, 2 billion – 4 billion (85 titles)
Barbara Cartland, 500 million – 1 billion (she published 723 titles!)
Danielle Steel, 500 million – 800 million (72 titles)
Harold Robbins, his minimum and maximum is 750 million (23 titles)
Geroge Simenon, 500 million - 750 million (570 published books!)
Sidney Sheldon, 370 million – 600 million (only 19 titles, my how lazy!)
Enid Blyton, 300 million – 600 million (children’s author with 800 titles)
Dr. Seuss, 100 million – 500 million (44 titles)
Gilbert Patten, 125 million – 500 million (209 adolescent adventures)
J.K. Rowling, 350 million – 450 million (7 titles. That in itself is one heck of a record)

You can find the complete list at Through that link, you can click on each individual’s name to learn more about them. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to the keyboard. Clearly, I have some work to do.

DEADLY ACCUSATIONS, (now also out on Kindle)
THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, now available for iphones, iPads, and iPodTouch at Also available in paperback at and on Kindle at


Katja Rinne said...

6 out of 10 are women. Woot! And you can't exactly say, that you've used up your market, when there's people selling hundreds of millions and billions. :D

Gina Gao said...

I really like most of these authors (especially JK Rowling!). This is a great post. I really enjoy going through your blog.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks for your comments Katja and Gina. I didn't realize that women represented just over half of those listed! And I'm so happy you enjoy the blog, Gina. I try to keep it interesting on a variety of writing related topics. There's a lot to write about!!