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33 Best Selling Book Series of All Time

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Explore all the best selling book series of all time to see where your favorites rank and find new book series to dive into.

book series

Book series can have a special place in readers’ hearts for many reasons, including the fact that several books about particular characters can make them feel more real, and also the fact that the most selling book series also become tv or film adaptations, which contributes to making them memorable. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’s never heard of Harry Potter, Star Wars, or James Bond!

Below are all the best selling book series of all time in order, beginning with the highest selling book series of all time and moving to the second highest selling, and so forth. I’ve also included the approximate number of books sold to date, publication dates, the original language of publication, and details/thoughts on the series.

Best Selling Book Series of All Time

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

  • 500 million copies
  • Publication date: 1997–2007
  • Original language: English

It should come as no surprise that Harry Potter is the number one best selling book series of all time. This wizarding journey of light and dark, and life and death, has inspired hope in readers of all ages.

At this point, Harry Potter fandom is not just the best selling fiction book series (or even a movie series), but rather a way of life, including immersive experiences like theme parks and a vast array of merchandise.


Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

  • 350 million copies
  • Publication date: 1992–present
  • Original language: English

The second most sold book series is the spooky middle-grade thriller series, Goosebumps. For several decades now, kids (myself included) scooped up and couldn’t put down these thrilling tales of things that go bump in the night.


Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner

  • 300 million copies
  • Publication date: 1933–1973
  • Original language: English

The courtroom sagas of the ubiquitous American criminal defense attorney Perry Mason comprise the third best selling series of all time. These stories generally involve an incorrect murder charge and the finding of the real killer. Fans have also binged the tv series for generations.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

  • 275 million copies
  • Publication date: 2007–present
  • Original language: English

Diary of a Wimpy Kid has reached an absolutely massive number of child readers in the short time since it was first published. Created by a cartoonist, this series follows middle-school student Greg Heffley, who illustrates the occurrences of his daily life in a “diary.”


Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

  • 260 million copies
  • Publication date: 1962–present
  • Original language: English

The Berenstain Bears are memorable fixtures of my own childhood, in which we devoured the tales of the cartoon animal family that lives in a treehouse and learns a variety of life lessons, like eating too much junk food, cleaning, displaying manners, and sharing (all stories I very clearly recall like a walk down memory lane).

It’s comforting to know they continue to teach young readers about life.


Choose Your Own Adventure by Various Authors

  • 250 million copies
  • Publication date:
  • Publication date: 1979–present
  • Original language: English

The Choose Your Own Adventure books have earned their spot as one of the most popular book series of all time for being so interactive for kids to read. Unlike most books, they are written in the second person and allow the reader to make choices that change the trajectory of the story.


Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal

  • 250 million copies
  • Publication date: 1983–2003
  • Original language: English

The Sweet Valley High books were all the rage when I was a middle grader. Originating in the 1980s, they offer a real feel for that time, as two blonde California teen twins (one good and one “bad”) endure all sorts of suburban teenage angst in a whopping 400 books that also inspired a tv series.


The Railway Series by Rev. W. Awdry and Christopher Awdry

  • 201 million copies
  • Publication date: 1945–2011
  • Original language: English

Train-loving children continue to adore The Railway Series and its popular train “characters,” including Thomas the Tank Engine and his cartoon train friends. Personally, I remember this series for its tv adaptation.


Noddy by Enid Blyton

  • 200 million copies
  • Publication date: 1949–present
  • Original language: English

Noddy chronicles the adventures of a wooden elf-like toy who lives in Toyland. While Noddy himself is a “good” toy, he often gets in trouble, feels confused, and is tricked. This series was especially popular in England.


Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

  • 200 million copies
  • Publication date: 1930–present
  • Original language: English

It’s no surprise that the nearly one-hundred-year-old Nancy Drew books are one of the most popular book series of all time. The teenage amateur sleuth has inspired generations of readers, particularly women, including myself. She was one of the first literary heroines to which I was introduced and remains one of the most classic and well know book characters.


San-Antonio by Frédéric Dard

  • 200 million copies
  • Publication date: 1949–2001
  • Original language: French

San-Antonio is the most popular book series that was not originally published in English. There are 173 books about this detective and his sidekicks, members of the French secret service, who fulfill missions from the chief police.


Robert Langdon by Dan Brown

  • 200 million copies
  • Publication date: 2000–present
  • Original language: English

When the Robert Langdon books were first published in the early 2000s, they were, without a doubt, best selling book series for adults. Even those who didn’t generally read much could not put down these page-turners about the Harvard professor of religious iconology and symbology who solved related mysteries in tales of suspense, often in Europe.

Many were adapted to popular films, further propelling the popularity of the books.


Geronimo Stilton by Elisabetta Dami

  • 180 million copies
  • Publication date: 1997–present
  • Original language: Italian

The Geronimo Stilton books are the only ones of the best selling books of all time originally published in Italian. These children’s books share the memoirs of a mouse who works for the Gazette in a world dominated by mice and rats, and they are known for depicting important words in color.


Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan

  • 180 million copies
  • Publication date: 2005–2009
  • Original language: English

Percy Jackson and The Olympians has become one of the best selling book series of all time in recent years. These fantasy novels explore the worlds of the Greek gods in modern times, through the perspective of a young demigod who seeks to prevent the Titans from destroying the world.


The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

  • 172 million copies
  • Publication date: 1986–present
  • Original language: English

The Baby-Sitters Club is my personal favorite from this list of best selling book series of all time, as it began my own love of reading. Many were the childhood days in which I locked myself in my bedroom and devoured the stories (and spin-offs) of the fictional group of teenage girls from Connecticut who ran a small business while also coming of age.

The series has spawned numerous adaptations and merchandise, including dolls, and remains popular with modern girls.


Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

  • 160 million copies
  • Publication date: 2005–2020
  • Original language: English

The Twilight books are an entire phenomenon, especially in light of their popular film adaptations. This Young Adult saga captures a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire and befriends a werewolf.


Star Wars by Various Authors

  • 160 million copies
  • Publication date: 1977–present
  • Original language: English

Did you know there are over 300 Star Wars books?! While they may not be as popular as the movie adaptations, they remain one of the best book series of all time regardless. This epic space saga depicts a variety of unique characters (human and non) in battles of life, death, and a variety of lessons.


American Girl by Various Authors

  • 160 million copies
  • Publication date: 1986–present
  • Original language: English

The American Girl books hold a special place in my heart for teaching me, as a child, about history through the eyes of young girls in different time periods through illustrated stories and their corresponding dolls.

In my day, the Molly book series specifically taught me about the World War II experienced by my grandparents and remains beloved to me. Today, however, the series has evolved to reflect modern girls and remains vastly popular. Visit New York City and you won’t be able to count how many bags you see from their store being carried around the streets by tourists.


Little Critter by Mercer Mayer

  • 150 million copies
  • Publication date: 1975–present
  • Original language: English

The Little Critter book series is another set of children’s books that were everywhere when I was growing up. It follows a young porcupine-like creature as he lives life like a child, with recognizable illustrations that will make you feel nostalgic.


Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

  • 150 million copies
  • Publication date: 1902–1930
  • Original language: English

The Peter Rabbit books have remained popular for over a century, in part, because they are simply lovely for young children, and because the character is synonymous with Easter. Get lost in these wonderous, and beautifully illustrated, adventures of the young rabbit in Mr. McGregor’s garden.


Fifty Shades by E.L. James

  • 150 million copies
  • Publication date: 2011–2015
  • Original language: English

There was a time when the Fifty Shades books were all that women talked about. One of the best selling trilogies of all time, these books are incredibly racy and enticing — feeling almost like a forbidden fruit — and take readers explicitly into the very dark and steamy relationship between a young woman and a businessman.


Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

  • 130 million copies
  • Publication date: 1997–present
  • Original language: English

The Chicken Soup for the Soul books were an absolute sensation when they were originally published. These compilations of short, emotional stories of life and its many lessons tugged at the hearts of readers and spawned spinoffs dedicated to all different types of people.

Personally, I had to have all the “teenage” ones at the time, and they were some of the most memorable books of my entire youth.


Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell

  • 129 million copies
  • Publication date: 1963–2014
  • Original language: English

I would imagine that many, if not most, people have read a Clifford the Big Red Dog book in their lifetime. It’s hard to miss this bright, beloved canine who has so many adventures and tries to be a good boy in these illustrated books for young children.


Frank Merriwell by Gilbert Patten

  • 125 million copies
  • Publication date: 1896–1936
  • Original language: English

The Frank Merriwell books were a sign of their times, depicting an all-American Yale athlete who also solved mysteries and made “wrongs” right again.


Dirk Pitt by Clive Cussler

  • 120 million copies
  • Publication date: 1973–present
  • Original language: English

The Dirk Pitt books are a series of more than two dozen books that follows a Major from the U.S. air force who served in Vietnam, then became head of the National Underwater and Marine Agency.  Still, he finds adventure with his best friend.


Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa

  • 120 million copies
  • Publication date: 1935–1939
  • Original language: Japanese

The Musashi books are the only ones of the best selling series of books originally written in Japanese. They are the classic samurai novels about the most famous swordsman and his life as a samurai.


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

  • 120 million copies
  • Publication date: 1950–1956
  • Original language: English

The Chronicles of Narnia are comprised of seven fantasy novels set in a fictional world of magic and myth, as it is explored by children who venture there via a wardrobe. The adaptations of this series are countless and include popular modern films.


Mr. Men by Roger Hargreaves and Adam Hargreaves

  • 120 million copies
  • Publication date: 1971–present
  • Original language: English

Popular in my own youth, the Mr. Men books (and their cutesy characters) have gained popularity again in modern times on social media. These simple children’s stories introduce new characters (Mr. “This” or Miss “That”) and teach life lessons in bite-sized fashion. It’s hard not to fall in love with them and to create characters of your own.


SAS by Gérard de Villiers

  • 120 million copies
  • Publication date: 1965–2013
  • Original language: French

The SAS books are another popular French book series written as spy novels like “the next James Bond” after author Ian Fleming died. The protagonist is a freelancer for the CIA who goes on missions in order to finance repairs on his Austrian castle.


The Hunger Games by Suanne Collins

  • 100 million copies
  • Publication date: 2008–2010
  • Original language: English

It’s hard to deny The Hunger Games as one of the best selling book series of all time, thanks, in part, to its popular movie adaptations. These Young Adult novels follow teenager Katniss Everdeen in a dystopian world in which children fight a televised battle royale similar to that of galdiators.


James Bond by Ian Fleming

  • 100 million copies
  • Publication date: 1953–1966
  • Original language: English

James Bond is one of the most well-known literary characters of all time. This classy British spy engages in espionage of all sorts while dating, drinking, and looking dapper. They are my husband’s absolute favorite books (and movies).


Martine by Gilbert Delahaye and Marcel Marlier

  • 100 million copies
  • Publication date: 1954–2014
  • Original language: French

The Martine books hail from France and are illustrated children’s books depicting the life of a young French girl.


Millenium by Stieg Larsson and David Lagercrantz

  • 100 million copies
  • Publication date: 2005–present
  • Original language: Swedish

The Millenium books are Swedish crime novels that follow an asocial computer hacker with a great memory and an investigative journalist. They have garnered worldwide attention and successful movie adaptations.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest selling book series of all time?

With more than 500 million copies sold, the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling is the best selling book series of all-time.

What are the top 5 most popular book series?

The 5 most popular book series of all time are:
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (500 million copies)
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine (350 million copies)
Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner (300 million copies)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (275 million copies)
Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain (260 million copies)

What are the top 10 best-selling book series?

The 10 best-selling book series are:
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (500 million copies)
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine (350 million copies)
Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner (300 million copies)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (275 million copies)
Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain (260 million copies)
Choose Your Own Adventure by Various Authors (250 million copies)
Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal (250 million copies)
The Railway Series by Rev. W. Awdry and Christopher Awdry (201 million copies)
Noddy by Enid Blyton (200 million copies)
Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene (200 million copies)

Is Harry Potter the best selling book series of all time?

Yes, with more than 500 million copies sold, the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling is the best selling book series of all-time.

What is the best selling children’s book series of all time?

If you consider Harry Potter to be a children’s book series, it is the best selling children’s book series of all time with more than 500 million copies sold. Otherwise, the next best selling children’s book series of all time is the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, which has sold more than 350 million copies.


Those are the best selling book series of all time.

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