The Ultimate Top-selling Books Quiz

By: Kate Kershner

The Ultimate Top-selling Books Quiz
Image: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

About This Quiz

You say you're a voracious reader, but have you read the most popular books of all time? Take this quiz to find out what books have held the world's interest. (And find out why figuring out which books have sold the most is an inexact science.)
What book holds the Guinness World Record for best-selling book?
the Bible
It's a safe bet that the Bible is always flying off the shelves.
the Odyssey
the Iliad

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What's one reason that reported numbers of books sold are unreliable?
Certain publishers don't keep track of sales.
because they don't reflect sales from all history
It's hard to say if the Bible or the Quran, for instance, has sold "more" copies.
Lots of publishers buy books from themselves.

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What's another reason book sales aren't always totally accurate?
Libraries don't report what books they buy.
Publishers give the sales figures.
And publishers might have a vested interest in manipulating sales figures.
Sales figures aren't kept for religious texts.

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Who was the first author to sell over a million ebooks?
Helen Fielding
Stephen King
James Patterson
In 2010, publisher Hatchette announced Patterson had the record.

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What book's exact sales figures are a ballpark -- but probably belongs as a top seller -- for its perennial popularity?
"Don Quixote"
Written in 1612 and still read to this day, it's fair to say that Cervantes sold a lot of books.
"Catcher in the Rye"
"War and Peace"

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What book holds the distinction of selling the most copies in 24 hours?
"My Life," by Bill Clinton
"Twilight: Breaking Dawn"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"
Anyone around in 2007 can attest to buying and devouring the book the day it came out.

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What reference book is the best-selling of all time?
Webster's Dictionary
Xinhua Zidian
The Chinese language dictionary is the winner.
Roget's Thesaurus

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What's the best-selling annual publication?
"Guinness World Records"
Formerly the "Guinness Book of Records," it's the leader with 132,002,542 copies sold since 1955.
"Webster's Dictionary"
"Oxford English Dictionary"

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What famous fantasy book is a top seller?
"Twilight"
"Battlefield Earth"
"The Lord of the Rings"
Over 150 million copies sold.

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What's the youngest author of a best-selling book series?
Stephanie Meyer
J.K. Rowling
Christopher Paolini
Author of the "Inheritance" series, which he started at the age of 15.

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What is the best-selling Harry Potter book?
"Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's [Sorcerer's] Stone"
But give the others time, and they'll probably catch up.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"

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About how many copies has "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" sold?
75 million copies
50 million copies
107 million copies
But note like all the books, it's still difficult to pin down the exact number.

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What book is the biggest-seller for an American author?
"The Stand"
"The Da Vinci Code"
Dan Brown's 2003 book is the first title to appear for an American author.
"Eat Pray Love"

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"Dream of the Red Chamber" is an 18th century book from what country?
China
The Chinese text has spawned an entire field of literary study.
Russia
India

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What Depression-era self-help book became an sensation (and top seller)?
"Think and Grow Rich"
Author Napoleon Hill certainly found a way to think and grow rich when he wrote this book that has sold about 70 million copies.
"Five Habits of Highly Effective People"
"How to Win Friends and Influence People"

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What serialized book is a top seller?
"Oliver Twist"
"She: A History of Adventure"
The British book about a fantastic journey into Africa was enormously popular and was published near the end of the 19th century.
"Les Miserables"

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What famous mystery is a top seller?
"Murder, She Wrote"
"And Then There Were None"
Agatha Christie's book about a mysterious group of travelers has one of the top places on the list.
"The Shining"

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What French story takes a top spot on the list of best-sellers?
"Candide"
"In Search of Lost Time"
"The Little Prince"
The sweet story has been translated into 230 different languages and dialects.

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"The Hobbit" is also a top seller. How many books was in its first printing?
5,000
10,000
1,500
And if you have one of those first 1,500, you better put it in a locked safe.

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What Oxford academic gets a spot as a top-selling author?
C.S. Lewis
"The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" has sold over 85 million copies.
T.S. Eliot
Antonia Fraser

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What children's book has been consumed by a ravenous public?
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
Eric Carle's sweet crawler has sold over 30 million.
"A is for Alpaca"
"Goodnight Moon"

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What doctor has a place on the top-selling list?
Dr. Spock
Dr. Benjamin Spock's perennially popular "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" has sold over 50 million copies.
Dr. Oz
Dr. Phil

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What book sold over nine million copies in the first 24 hours after it went on sale?
"Hard Choices"
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
Although the last installment sold more in a 24-hour period, nine million is no small feat.
"Dreams From My Father"

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What favorite teen book has sold over 60 million copies?
"The Fault in Our Stars"
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
"Catcher in the Rye"
J.D. Salinger's novel of adolescent angst probably won't go out of style for a long while.

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What author has seven books that have sold more than 50 million copies each?
J.R.R. Tolkien
Beatrix Potter
J.K. Rowling
Rowling clearly cast a Revealing Spell to make money appear in her bank account.

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What Canadian author belongs in the over 50-million-copies-sold club?
Lucy Maude Montgomery
Anne Shirley would be overcome by all the kindred spirits reading about her, I'm sure.
Margaret Atwood
Alice Munro

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What book -- originally published in Italian -- has sold more than 50 million copies?
"The Prince"
"Crossing the Threshold of Hope"
"The Name of the Rose"
Umberto Eco's tale of sordid monks has been a big hit.

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Switzerland is represented on the over-50-million list by what book?
"Heidi"
Originally published in two parts, Johanna Spyri's book has become a favorite of children the world over.
"Steppenwolf"
"The Swiss Family Robinson"

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One Russian author has a book that sold over 50 million copies. Who was it?
Anton Chekhov
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Vladimir Nabokov
Although "Lolita" was published in English, not Russian.

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"The Alchemist" has sold 65 million copies since its publication in 1988. Who wrote it?
P.G. Wodehouse
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Paulo Coelho
The Brazilian Coelho wrote the best-selling Portuguese novel.

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You Got:
/30
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

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