Is Bible the World’s Best-Selling or Most-Read or Most-distributed Book?


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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A few days ago, some friends and me while discussing the Holy Bible unwittingly got divided into three factions. One group claimed the Bible as the world’s best-selling book. Another group upheld it as the world’s most-read books. The third group considered it as the most-printed and most-distributed Book.

Many devout Christians are quick to assert that the Holy Bible is the world’s best-selling book, for all time. They claim that because a great number of people purchased the Bible, it, therefore, has lots of philosophical truth in it.

The Bible, the Quran, and Quotation from Chairman Mao, often reported as the most-printed and most-distributed books worldwide, have hundreds of millions of copies to their credit. Exact print statistics for such books are, in fact, not available, or inaccurate because many unrelated publishers have printed these books over several centuries. Many books such as Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Pinocchio, the individual Harry Potter books and many more generally cited as “best-selling books” do not have dependable sales figures.

Obviously, the mere volume of books sold have no relation to their content. Therefore, the Bible cannot be considered as the best-selling book of all time for several reasons:

Firstly, the Bible in its many versions have been in print for hundreds of years, and their number has not been reliably accounted for. Hence, over such a time, we can only estimate the number of bibles sold. Statistically, such an estimate without a measure of confidence with it is useless.

Secondly, not all copies of the Bible fetch money. In fact, many missionaries hand out enormous numbers of bibles free of charge. These cannot be counted in a bestseller list, not only because they have not been sold, but because the person receiving the book may not actually want it. Compare this to the Harry Potter series, where the numbers given away free dwindles into insignificance.

Thirdly, not all copies of the Bible are read, and almost no one reads them cover to cover. On the other hand, if you consider a modern novel, it would be ludicrous and unthinkable for a person to read only a few pages at random and ignore the rest. Do you know that most copies of the Bible placed in bedside drawers in some hotels across the world are never read, and in many cases rarely even seen by any living creäture?

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10 thoughts on “Is Bible the World’s Best-Selling or Most-Read or Most-distributed Book?

  1. Why is the majority of the above “article” directly plagiarizing the Wikipedia listing for “List of Best-Selling Books?” This portion, and I quote “The Bible, the Quran, and Quotation from Chairman Mao, often reported as the most-printed and most-distributed books worldwide, have hundreds of millions of copies to their credit. Exact print statistics for such books are, in fact, not available, or inaccurate because many unrelated publishers have printed these books over several centuries. Many books such as Don Quixote, The Three Musketeers, Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Pinocchio, the individual Harry Potter books and many more…”
    Hummm

    • Hell JR Spear,

      You are perfectly correct in pointing out that the article simulates Wikipedia’s “List of Best-Selling Books?”

      Please understand that Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that anyone can edit and use. The main purpose behind Wikipedia is to spread knowledge. To write my articles I first consult Wikipedia and then move on to others. In fact, I advise other writers to consult Wikipedia for all their writing.

  2. You criticize the estimates of all-time Bible sales — which run around 6 billion — because of the lack of hard figures. Yet there is not a single hard fact in your entire post. It’s all supposition.

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone sold about 70 million copies. All seven Harry Potter books sold a total of 450 million copies. The problem you have here is that the Bible retail *sales* just in the United States keep on chugging along at 25 million per year, not counting Gideon etc. Worldwide estimates run around 100 million per year, with another 60 million published and given away.

    I’d agree, the Bible is not read like a novel and a small percentage of them are read from cover to cover. But consider this: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is 320 pages long. So, give it ten hours for a slow reader. it’s an easy read, and I’m sure a considerable number of people have read it two or three times.

    But people study the Bible. It’s a different paradigm. Nobody is going to wade through Deuteronomy very often, but people will, in a single year, spend 50 hours studying one of the New Testament books.

    It’s difficult to quantify since as you say, a large percentage of Bibles are rarely if ever read. On the other hand, the point about it not being read cover to cover actually argues the other way, since people who do read it spend a whole lot more time doing so than anyone reading Harry Potter, hundreds of hours per year.

    At any rate, the complete lack of hard facts indicate that you are arguing to your bias. “Best selling” measures sales. An unquantified argument about how often different books are read has nothing to do with “best selling”; it is an argument about “most widely read” or something.

  3. some of your “claims’ are true(i thought) but,when i read ”almost no one read the bible cover to cover” that statement made sure that your research is not held effectively and i really dont think you are not bible believing christian any way, Whatever, you know that the world’s most leading firm says that the book has been printed from those first 1500 hundred in first time invented printing machine till now it’s been 6billion bibles that has been printed and my dad has must have read several times from cover to cover,, one more thing that the can not be understood when a person would read it, it has to a teacher or believer to interpret the book, and thats why many people fall flat and give up reading it, for instance God send Stephen to unique Enuch, and lord Jesus Christ barnbas to paul and there are many examples like Jesus Christ said He would send the Helper,the holy spirit for them so they will be guided, so why people give reading thats the reason,

  4. Pingback: What Do You Read in the Bible: Morality or Depravity? | Impressions

  5. hahahahahahah! Luiz, you are so ignorant and myopic. you need to expand your mind, and know what’s hapening in the world. Read the bible for yourself and see why it’s still number one and will NEVER LEAVE THAT POSITION! lol.

  6. They harry potter wins on the best seller, most read and most distributed. Suck it up bible.
    Also, it is notable, that most distributed books are about fairy tales, inclusive the bible.

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