Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

Best-selling book series of all time

  • Best-selling book series of all time

    Once upon a time, a book was a book. Written and read, maybe it started conversations and captured imaginations. It might have been passed around, taught, or even came to influence the entire world.

    Today a book series is big business, reaching fans with licensed products, retail stores, toys and games, television and movie adaptations.

    Some hit book series won us over with characters we admire and inspire us. Musashi is a samurai-era hero whose feats are timeless, and Nancy Drew taught generations of girls that they could be as clever and brave as boys. Others starred characters who readers simple grew to adore. Children find comfort in Thomas the Tank Engine, see themselves in the bumbling adventures of Clifford the Big Red Dog, and cheer for Peter Rabbit and his escapades in Mr. McGregor's garden

    Some of the most popular books teach lessons. Chicken Soup for the Soul books talk about hope and happiness, The Baby-Sitter's Club girls learn about loyalty and responsibility and the Berenstain Bears tell of right and wrong.

    These book series take readers on journeys to fantastic places. Children stepped into the magical land of Narnia, helped Geronimo Stilton protect the residents of Mouseland, played with Noddy in Toyland, and traveled in Star Wars to a galaxy far away.

    The endless battles between good and evil run through many of the most popular books, from waging galactic wars and unraveling centuries-old crimes to courtroom dramas exposing the truth. Yet some books seem almost to defy explanation for their runaway popularity. Harry Potter touched something in the hearts and minds of readers whose love for the orphaned wizard is unrivaled.

    Stacker has compiled a list of the 25 best-selling book series of all time. The numbers were current as of 2018. Some figures are estimates as the series' intellectual copyright property rights have expired.

    You may also like: Best black and white films of all time

  • #25. 宮本武蔵 (Musashi)

    - Author: Eiji Yoshikawa
    - Number of copies sold: 120 million
    - Original language: Japanese
    - Number of installments: 7
    - Published: 1935–1939

    This epic novel about one of Japan's greatest heroes started out as serialized stories published in a newspaper. The elaborate saga of the celebrated swordsman Musashi is filled with tales of his legendary duels and his dedication to the samurai way of life.

  • #24. The Chronicles of Narnia

    - Author: C. S. Lewis
    - Number of copies sold: 120 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: 7
    - Published: 1949–1954

    The Chronicles of Narnia have delighted children since first being published following World War II. The fantasy series tells of children evacuated from London during the Blitz who discover the magical land of Narnia.

  • #23. Twilight

    - Author: Stephenie Meyer
    - Number of copies sold: 120 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: 5 + 1 novella + 1 guide
    - Published: 2005–2015

    The Twilight books follow Bella Swan and her passionate romance with the darkly seductive Edward Cullen, a dangerous vampire. The suspense-filled saga was adapted to become an enormously popular movie series.

  • #22. Frank Merriwell

    - Author: Gilbert Patten
    - Number of copies sold: 125 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: 209
    - Published: 1896–present

    Frank Merriwell was a dime-novel hero with both brains and brawn, introduced in 1896 in the magazine Tip Top Weekly. His exploits, as a student and as an international adventurer, filled over 200 full-length novels. The series' popularity declined as the movie business grew in the early 20th century.

  • #21. Clifford the Big Red Dog

    - Author: Norman Bridwell
    - Number of copies sold: 129 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: Over 80
    - Published: 1963–2014

    Children can see themselves in the kind, gentle, and clumsy character of Clifford the Big Red Dog who tries very hard to be good. He is beloved and always forgiven by his best friend Emily Elizabeth.

  • #20. Chicken Soup for the Soul

    - Author: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen
    - Number of copies sold: 130 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: 105
    - Published: 1997–present

    The inspirational heartwarming life lessons of this series have made Chicken Soup for the Soul an often-used household phrase. The single book introduced in 1997 gave rise to television shows and licensed products from podcasts to pet food.

  • #19. Geronimo Stilton

    - Author: Elisabetta Dami
    - Number of copies sold: 140 million
    - Original language: Italian
    - Number of installments: Over 200
    - Published: 2000–present

    The adventures of monocle-wearing mouse Geronimo Stilton, the editor of The Rodent's Gazette, have traveled from Italy to win a global following. The series features such characters as Creepella Von Cacklefur and Petunia Pretty Paws who are drawn into such adventures as "The Stinky Cheese Vacation" and "The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid."

  • #18. American Girl

    - Author: Various authors
    - Number of copies sold: 140 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: Over 150
    - Published: 1986–present

    Based on the sought-after dolls, the American Girl books tell stories of adventure, friendship, and courage set in historical and modern times. American Girl retail stores across the United States offer tea parties, etiquette classes, and hair salons for girls and their dolls—over 32 million of which have been sold.

  • #17. Little Critter

    - Author: Mercer Mayer
    - Number of copies sold: 150 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: Over 200
    - Published: 1975–present

    The Little Critter books star a wide-eyed, furry creature in overalls. He lives in Critterville, where he and his friends go to school, play baseball, and ride their bicycles. The characters appear in coloring books, games, animated shows, and a line of clothing.

  • #16. Peter Rabbit

    - Author: Beatrix Potter
    - Number of copies sold: 150 million
    - Original language: English
    - Number of installments: 6
    - Published: 1902–1930

    The delicate and charming tales by Beatrix Potter star Peter Cottontail and are based on an illustrated letter the author sent to a sick young friend. They grew to include such well-known characters as Jeminah Puddle-Duck, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, and Tom Kitten. Potter created the first Peter Rabbit doll in 1903, making him the world's oldest licensed literary character.

2018 All rights reserved.