Many of the most memorable settings, characters, and stories in literature aren't contained to a single novel. Titles that make up one part of a larger series are a common sight on bestseller lists. From epic fantasy sagas to picture books, these are the collections that garnered the most sales since their respective debuts.
Even if you only have a passing knowledge of the publishing world, the No.1 most popular book series on this list shouldn't come as a surprise. J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels have sold at least 500 million combined. When judged alone, the individual titles in the fantasy saga still rank among the best-selling books of all time.
With seven installments total, the Harry Potter series is actually one of the smallest series on this list. Other authors partially owe their impressive overall sales to the number of books they've released. R.L. Stine published 62 Goosebumps books between 1992 and 1997, and the children's horror novels have since sold 350 million copies worldwide.
Perry Mason is one of the few adult series in the ranking. With over 80 installments published between 1933 and 1973, Erle Stanley Gardner's mystery books have sold more than 300 million copies. The next two collections on the list boast even more installments: There are more than 300 books in the Berenstain Bears series, and 184 books have been published under the Choose Your Own Adventure banner by different authors.
You can view the full list of the best-selling book series of all time below. Interestingly, none of the writers behind these titles rank among the best-selling authors of all time. You can find that list here.
- Harry Potter // J.K. Rowling
- Goosebumps // R.L. Stine
- Perry Mason // Erle Stanley Gardner
- Berenstain Bears // Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Choose You Own Adventure // Multiple authors
- Sweet Valley High // Francine Pascal
- Robert Langdon // Dan Brown
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid // Jeff Kinney
- Noddy // Enid Blyton
- The Railway Series // Rev. W. Awdry and Christopher Awdry
- San-Antonio // Frédéric Dard
- Nancy Drew // Carolyn Keene
- The Baby-Sitters Club // Ann Martin
- Star Wars // Multiple authors
- Fifty Shades // E. L. James