Sunday 8 September 2013

The World's Best Selling Fantasy Books!

The World's Best Selling Fantasy Books!  (and mine)

These figures are taken from the Wikipedia page on the subject.

Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is the biggest selling novel of all time for which a figure is available - I include it to bound the info-graphic. It's not fantasy. It's not the best of books, it's not the worst of books. I did enjoy it though.

Figures for Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone and A Game of Thrones are lower bounds. The Harry Potter figure is from the Wikipedia list but for the 7th book. Clearly the 1st book sold more than the 7th but there is no figure given. The Game of Thrones figure is that for the 5 books in the series (taken from the Wertzone) and divided by 5 - this is a minimum.

The area of the circles is scaled to the number of sales.

click image to enlarge

Obviously I could only include a few titles, but the fact is that very few fantasy titles are on the list. A Game of Thrones didn't have enough sales declared to make the list (need 10 million+ for an individual title).

Anyway, the bottomline is that if you could just nip out and buy 199.5 million copies of Prince of Thorns I could have the biggest selling novel in history. Thanks!

For even more context. Here's the diagram scaled against Agatha Christie's sales of crime stories. Christie has sold more books that anyone else with the exception of Shakespeare. The bible outsells both.

Note, this is the lower estimate for Christie, it could be double this.


  1. Coincidently, I was planning on going into town and buying exactly that many copies of Prince of Thorns anyway.

  2. There's something wrong with humanity when 50 Shades of Grey sells over 70 million copies worldwide, and books like A Game of Thrones and Prince of Thorns don't even sell a fraction of that figure.

  3. As a fantasy author with considerably less than .15 million sales, I am totally jealous of your success. It's all relative...

  4. I did just that last weekend. Started reading it yesterday (and thoroughly enjoying it so far). I know it's not exactly 199.85 million copies, but at least it's one more to add to your list :) As for Fifty Shades Of Grey? It may have sold over 70 million copies, but in recent poles it's also been voted the most discarded book. Says a lot really :)

  5. You forgot "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It is 3º in the list and, without doubt, can also be classified as a fantasy.
    Thanks for writing your books. I liked them very much and i wish you can continue on, but i don't see them coming to the numbers of harry potter. The potential audience/market of your book is very small in comparison. :(

  6. It took dickens a 150 years to reach that plateau...I would like to think your trilogy will reach that in the same amount of time...I am sure you will be looking forward to that.

  7. Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. Thank you so much. You are a great writer...
    Charlie Hunnam

  8. Mr. Dickens has been helped considerably by being assigned reading for English Lit classes. Get PoT on some high school required reading lists, and you'll get there in a couple centuries.

  9. Would be 'interesting' to take your diagram and then recalculate the relative sizes based on number of years that each each title (or titles) have been available - therefore it then effectively becomes an average of sales compared on a year-for-year basis. I suspect, you might not look so bad after that...

  10. So the Bible is the largest selling fantasy book. Interesting.