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The Bible is Consistently the Best-Selling Book of the Year

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The best-selling book in 2023 was the Bible, but you likely won’t find it on any best-seller lists.

The reasons for that vary, but according to The New Yorker, the Bible “is the best-selling book of the year, every year.”

“Calculating how many Bibles are sold in the United States is a virtually impossible task, but a conservative estimate is that in 2005 Americans purchased some twenty-five million Bibles — twice as many as the most recent Harry Potter book,” a 2006 story in The New Yorker said. “The amount spent annually on Bibles has been put at more than half a billion dollars.”

The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, according to Guinness World Records.

There are many reasons the Bible does not appear on best-seller lists. First, such lists typically only include new releases. (School textbooks, for example, don’t appear on such lists, either.) Second, the Bible has many publishers and many translations, and it is only by combining the data that it soars to the top. Finally, best-seller lists often are based on weekly data. Bible sales are consistently good throughout the year but lack the “rush to the store” numbers that new releases have.

Nevertheless, the Bible ranks No. 1 annually when combining all sales and when comparing it to combined sales of other books. Nearly nine out of 10 (88 percent) Americans own a Bible, and they own an average of 4.4 copies of it, according to Barna.

“The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible,” Guinness says on its website. “It is impossible to know exactly how many copies have been printed in the roughly 1500 years since its contents were standardized, but research conducted by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 2021 suggests that the total number probably lies between 5 and 7 billion copies.”

In the 21st century, Guinness said, Bibles “are printed at a rate of around 80 million per year.”

Photo Courtesy: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/AndreyPopov

Video Courtesy: Zondervan via YouTube


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

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