(Investigator 79, 2001 July)

The following is a list of books with the highest printings. It excludes newspapers, booklets, brochures, pamphlets and magazines.

The list is based on information to hand and some of the figures are not the latest or final figures.

The list omits various separate translations of the Bible and the lower end of the list probably also omits other books.

The Bible (All versions) 1815-1999  3,880,000,000
Quotations from the Works of Mao Tse-tung 1966-197 800,000,000
Good News Bible 1976-1995 122,000,000
The Highway Code (United Kingdom) 1931-1996 117,000,000
The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life 1969/1981 108,000,000
New World Translation (In whole or part) 1950s-2000 100,000,000
American Spelling Book 1783 Noah Webster 100,000,000
Automobile Association Handbook 1908-1991 98,000,000
Guinness Book of Records 1955-1999 85,000,000
The McGuffey Reader 1853-1879 William H McGuffey 60,000,000
A Message to Garcia 1899 Elbert Hubbard 50,000,000
Knowledge that Leads to Everlasting Life 1995 46,000,000
The Living Bible 45,000,000
Deutsche Bundespost 1993 (Initial print)  42,000,000
You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth 1982/1989  42,000,000
World Almanac 1868-1980s 40,000,000
True Peace and Security 1986 37,000,000
Your Erroneous Zones 1876 Wayne W Dyer 34,000,000
In His Steps 1896 Rev. C M Sheldon 30,000,000
To Kill A Mockingbird 1960 Harper Lee 30,000,000
Gone With the Wind 1936 Margaret Mitchell  30,000,000
Valley of the Dolls 1966 Jacqueline Susann  29,000,000
The Diary of Anne Frank  25,000,000
The Commonsense Book of Baby and Child Care 1946
Benjamin Spock 
Let God be True 1946/1952 19,000,000
The Late Great Planet Earth 1970 H Lindsey 18,000,000
American Red Cross First Aid Book 16,000,000
Is the Bible Really the Word of God? 1969 15,000,000
Roots 1976 A Haley 12,500,000
From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 12,000,000
Sophie’s World 1996 J Gaardner & P Moller 12,000,000
Life – How Did It Get Here? 1985 11,000,000
The Bermuda Triangle 1975 Charles Berlitz 10,000,000
What’s the World Coming To? D E Stanton        10,000,000
Things In Which It Is Impossible For God To Lie 1965 10,000,000
Member’s Handbook, Auto. Assoc. 1990-91 (Initial print) 6,000,000
Worldwide Security Under the Prince of Peace 1986  6,000,000
Divine Plan of the Ages 1886 6,000,000

Notice how often the books of one sect, the Jehovah's Witnesses, appear in the list. These are indicated by being underlined.

In the JW sect everyone has to distribute publications of the Watch Tower Society door to door. To the JWs it's a necessary activity without which God won't give them salvation and eternal life.

Most JW books quickly go out of date because prophecies in them fail and many interpretations of Bible passages in them are discarded and revised. JWs refer to this as "new light", "new truth" and "the light gets brighter". Books previously distributed zealously in order to gain salvation are then kept from sight and reading of them discouraged.

Some JW books in the above list, for example, teach that people alive before World War I and old enough to understand what was then happening would live to see the end of the world or Armageddon. These people were referred to as "this generation" or "one generation" or the "last generation". However, the doctrine was changed in 1995 by giving the word "generation" a different meaning so that a "generation" can be indefinitely long.

The book Let God Be True (1946 & 1952) betrayed its title and actually let God be false. This is because it has calculations predicting that Armageddon followed by paradise on Earth would happen within the 20th century. You can work it out yourself from the chapter The Sabbath In Shadow and Reality. Tell JWs you wish to do this and see whether they'll loan you the book.

Great circulation figures for books are impressive but are no guarantee that the information inside is worthwhile or accurate.

Hundeds of truthful articles about Jehovah's Witnesses:

Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: