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Best-selling Authors

Best-selling Authors

Looking for a list of best-selling authors? Look no further. This article will give you a comprehensive overview of the writers that made it.
Penlighten Staff
It's harder to write a book than one might think, trust me. As a wannabe author myself, I have a wholesome respect for anyone who's taken on the gargantuan task of writing a book complete with characters, plots, twists, and ending. Think about it, when you throw yourself into a book, and struggle to keep pace with the twists and turns, or the meandering alleys that the author chooses to take you down, does it ever strike you how much effort is needed to make those twists work? How much skill is needed for the plot to fit together like a neat little jigsaw? Or perhaps how much competence is needed, to hold a reader's attention to the exception of all else? Don't trash it till you try it, that's all.

As an obsessive reader, there are books that I've read, books that I've loved, books that I've hated. Just like there are stories that have stayed with me long after the last page is turned, there are those that left an indelible impression, and those that remain options to re-read time and time again. The best-selling authors of all time are geniuses of the best kind, more so because their appeal is universal, and has transcended generations and stood the all important acid test of time.

It may be important to note that a list of best-selling books need not rank in the same order as that of authors. Some authors have several books to their name, and the combined sales of series total up to numbers that leave individual book sales far behind. The best-selling book of all time, is for instance, The Holy Bible. And while we may have a long discussion about the likelihood of including the author of the Bible in a list, I'm going to steer clear of controversy and begin without further ado. As far as numbers and categories go, classification by genre is a task that I certainly wouldn't want to take up, so to make things simple, the following is a list of the top five best-selling authors―they might have some good books to read, don't you think?

William Shakespeare
Although technically more a playwright than an author, William Shakespeare has sold more 'books' than any other author. Famous beyond measure for his plays and poetry, William Shakespeare has the distinction of being the best author of all time whose works have sold the most.

Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie was a British crime writer, and has more than 80 novels to her credit, each of which individually went on to become a best-seller. She is also the author of the play 'The Mousetrap', which is the longest running play in history, and continues to this day, having completed more than 23,000 runs. Outsold only by the Bible, Christie's works have sold more than 4 million copies, and been translated into 103 languages.

Barbara Cartland
With more than 700 books in print, Dame Barbara Cartland was an English author, famous for her romance novels. Her novels have been translated into more than 30 languages, book sales have touched an estimated 500 million, and she remains to this day one of the most famous British authors of all time.

Harold Robins
The American author of racy adventures comes in fourth on the list, with more than 20 books to his name. He is the highest selling American author of all time, with book sales an estimated 750 million.

Georges Simenon
The Belgian master of mysteries, Georges Simenon is one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century. Famed for his creation Maigret, the fictional detective who solved the most baffling cases, Georges Simenon has written more than 200 books and sold an estimated 500 million copies.

Apart from the aforementioned authors, there are others who make it to this list:
  • Sidney Sheldon
  • Enid Blyton
  • Danielle Steel
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Gilbert Patten
In a world where there are more books than people (or something like that at least) it's more than difficult to come up with a comprehensive list of the deserving. But the best part of a best-selling list, is that it's sales that decides your rankings, not content, reviews, or acceptance. There is a reassuring stream of fresh talent, with new offerings, many of whom show promise, but they have a long way to go before they can take on the big daddies of the book world. As any list will tell you, it's almost impossible to come up with the actual number of books sold, therefore, any given list is an estimation of the approximate number that have been sold. It would be remiss not to mention several names that will appear below, in any list of authors who have garnered fame, appreciation, and worldwide renown for their works, which are classic books that everyone should read. The following is a list of best-selling fiction authors.
  • Alexander Dumas
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • JRR Tolkien
  • Stephen King
  • Louis L'Amour
  • Irving Wallace
  • John Le Carre
  • PG Wodehouse
  • Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Jackie Collins
  • R.L. Stine
  • Corrin Tellado
  • Dean Koontz
  • Aleksander Sergeyevich Pushkin
  • Jin Yong
  • Robert Ludlum
  • Charles Dickens
  • Beatrix Potter
  • James Patterson
  • Alistair Maclean
  • Arthur Hailey
  • C.S. Lewis
Recent times have their own offerings with enough and more for even the most avid fan. The following is a list of the best-selling authors of the decade.
  • JK Rowling
  • Jeffrey Archer
  • Eric Segal
  • Michael Crichton
  • John Grisham
  • Nora Roberts
  • Dan Brown
  • Stieg Larsson
  • Rhonda Byrne
  • Stephanie Meyer
Of these, Stieg Larsson, Stephanie Meyer, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, and Jeffrey Archer, continue to feature on this list, covering a wide spectrum of genres that still hold universal appeal. Any lists, such as those mentioned above, are likely to feature something for everyone. Whether it's crime fiction that tickles your fancy, or fantasy and romance rolled into one, there's a book out there for you. Whichever way you look at it, it's always a good time for lovers of the written word.