We live in a society that loves categorizing and measuring things, even when it comes down to popular culture — the media we read, watch, listen to, and otherwise consume. You may enjoy listening to an obscure jazz artist whose heyday was in the 1960s, while the rest of the music industry continues to focus on which tracks had the most downloads on streaming services this week. Similarly, you may enjoy a particular author, but if they achieve a spot on The New York Times Bestsellers List, it’s a pretty good bet the author’s life is about to change dramatically.
When it comes to the best-selling book of this year, or the year before that, or any other year since we’ve been keeping track, it’s actually a rather difficult thing to nail down for certain. However, we have a pretty good guess, all things considered, and the No. 1 book in the world comes not from the “Harry Potter” series or a similar popular franchise. It’s a 2,000-year-old book originally written in three other languages.
Nothing else comes close
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the best-selling book this year and next year and every year before or after it will almost certainly be the Bible. The sacred text of billions of people of faith around the world (per Pew Research Center) flies off the shelves every year; by some estimates, some 5 billion copies of the Bible were sold between 1815 and 1975 alone.
Perhaps one of the reasons for the Bible’s popularity is the fact that it’s been translated into 349 languages. Further, each language may have several different translations available to the user in their preferred vernacular. Strictly by way of example, there are around 450 translations of the Bible (or portions of the Bible) in English alone, as Christianity.com notes. Further, some translations of the Bible (though not all) are in the public domain, meaning that any publisher can knock out a rights-free translation of the text, and offer it up for sale, with minimal fuss and cost.
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