The Best Selling Book Series in the World

The ever-growing Harry Potter series tops the list of best selling book series. Editorial credit: Wan Fahmy Redzuan /
The ever-growing Harry Potter series tops the list of best selling book series. Editorial credit: Wan Fahmy Redzuan /

When books are described as best-selling, it is usually referring to the number of copies of that book that were sold and not the number that was printed or the number that is owned. The list is compiled based on the highest number sold as identified by dependable sources.

Best-Selling Book Series

Harry Potter

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is the most sold book series in the world. These fantasy novels track the life of a young sorcerer, Harry Potter. The first book in the series was first released in June of 1997. The series has expanded to 7 novels, a play script, and multiple supplimentary books. These books have a widespread audience stretching from the young to the old. It is interesting to note that by May of 2013, the books had sold half a billion copies worldwide thus rising to be the best-selling book sequence. The last four books of the series have set a record as the fastest-selling books ever. The last book sold more 11 million copies in the US in about 24 hours.


Goosebumps is a series of a children’s horror fiction stories that were penned by the American writer R.L. Stine. The Goosebumps books were written between 1992 and 1997 with a total of 62 books being released. Since the release of the first book, 350 million books have been sold throughout the world, translated into 32 languages.

Perry Mason

Perry Mason is a collection of novels and short stories that were written by Erle Stanley Gardner. The books were published between 1933 to 1973. His works were mostly published in magazines like the Toronto Star weekly and the Saturday Evening Post. An estimated 300 million copies of the books have been sold.

Berenstain Bears

The Berenstain Bears is a children’s book series that tells of the Berenstain Bear family, who learn a lesson by the end of the story. The books were written by Stan and Jan Berenstain and later taken up by their son Mike Berenstain. Since the release of the first book in 1962, the series has sold more than 300 titles. More than 300 million books have been sold, and have been translated into 23 languages.

Choose Your Own Adventure

The Choose Your Own Adventure books are the fifth on the bestselling book series. The concept behind these children’s gamebook was created by Edward Packard. These books were very popular among children in the years 1980 to 1998, selling a whopping 250 million copies. The books were written in the English language.

Sweet Valley High

Sweet Valley High, the sixth on this list, is a young people fantasy story that was created by Francine Pascal. These books, which was written by ghostwriters under Pascal's supervision, were first released in 1983. They were written over a span of 20 years, managing to produces 603 titles under the name. The series has sold approximately 250 million books worldwide.

Sales Records

It is important to note that this list is inconclusive due to the insufficiency of materials or lack of credibility of sources. Many books that have been cited as bestselling books have no proper sales records since they are released after the intellectual copyright property rights have expired. This is practical with books like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Best Selling Book Series

RankBook SeriesAuthor(s)Original LanguageNo. of installmentsFirst PublishedApproximate Sales
1Harry PotterJ. K. RowlingEnglish7 + 8 supplements1997–present510 million
2GoosebumpsR. L. StineEnglish62 + spin-off series1992–present350 million
3Perry MasonErle Stanley GardnerEnglish82 + 4 short stories1933–1973300 million
4Berenstain BearsStan and Jan BerenstainEnglishover 3001962–present260 million
5Sweet Valley HighFrancine Pascal and ghostwritersEnglish4001983–2003250 million
6Robert LangdonDan BrownEnglish52000–present200 million
7San-AntonioFrédéric DardFrench1731949–2001200 million
8The Railway SeriesRev. W. Awdry, Christopher AwdryEnglish411945–2011200 million
9Nancy Drewvarious authors as Carolyn KeeneEnglish1751930–present200 million
10NoddyEnid BlytonEnglish241949–present200 million
11Diary of a Wimpy KidJeff KinneyEnglish112007–present194 million
12The Baby-sitters ClubAnn MartinEnglish3351986–present172 million
13Star Warsvarious authorsEnglishover 3001977–present160 million
14Peter RabbitBeatrix PotterEnglish61902–1930150 million
15Little CritterMercer MayerEnglishover 2001975–present150 million
16Geronimo StiltonElisabetta DamiItalianover 2002000–present140 million
17Chicken Soup for the SoulJack Canfield, Mark Victor HansenEnglish1051997–present130 million
18Clifford the Big Red DogNorman BridwellEnglishover 801963–2014129 million
19Fifty Shades of GreyE. L. JamesEnglish42011–2015125 million
20Frank MerriwellGilbert PattenEnglish2091896–1930125 million
21TwilightStephenie MeyerEnglish5 + 1 Novella + 1 Guide2005–2015120 million
22Mr. MenRoger Hargreaves, Adam HargreavesEnglish431971–present120 million
23The Chronicles of NarniaC. S. LewisEnglish71949–1954120 million
24宮本武蔵 (Musashi)Eiji YoshikawaJapanese71935–1939120 million
25Dirk PittClive CusslerEnglish241973–present120 million
26MartineGilbert Delahaye, Marcel MarlierFrench601954–present100 million
27James BondIan FlemingEnglish141953–1966100 million

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