How many of these bestselling SF/F authors have you read?

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Nov 23, 2002
I came across an old post from 5 years ago by @Werthead listing bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors by sales. I think he's updated the list since then - however, after a recent thread on literary works, I thought it might be interesting to see how many of the following authors people have read at least one novel by.

I'll repost the list here for reference:

1) J.K Rowling (c. 450 million)
2) Stephen King (c. 350 million)
3) JRR Tolkien (c. 300 million)
4) CS Lewis (120 million+)
5) Stephanie Meyer (116 million)
6) Anne Rice (100 million)
7) Robert Jordan (80 million+)
8) Sir Terry Pratchett (65 million+)
9) Richard Adams (50 million+)
10) Suzanne Collins (50 million+)
11) Christopher Paolini (33 million)
12) R.A. Salvatore (30 million+)
13) Kaoru Kurimoto (28 million)
14) George Orwell (25 million+)
15) Terry Goodkind (25 million)
16) Cassandra Clare (24 million)
17) Terry Brooks (21 million+)
18) Eoin Colfer (21 million)
19) George R.R. Martin (20 million+)
20) Isaac Asimov (20 million+)
21) Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman (c. 20 million)
22) Brian Jacquies (c. 20 million)
23) Kazumasa Hirai (c. 20 million)
24) Charlaine Harris (c. 20 million)
25) Frank Herbert (18 million)
26) Hideyuki Kikuchi (18 million)
27) Diana Gabaldon (17 million)
28) Douglas Adams (16 million)
29) Kevin J. Anderson (16 million)
30) Raymond E. Feist (15 million+)
31) Rick Riordan (15 million)
32) Philip Pullman (15 million)
33) Yoshiki Tanaka (15 million)
34) Stephen Donaldson (10 million)
35) Neil Gaiman (10 million + )
36) Alice Sebold (10 million+)
37) Madeline L'Engle (10 million+)
38) Timothy Zahn (8 million)
39) Laurell K. Hamilton (6 million+)
40) Frank L. Baum (5 million+)
41) Guy Gavriel Kay (3 million)
42) John Ringo (3 million)
43) Joe Abercrombie (3 million)
44) Harry Turtledove (2.5 million)
45) Peter F. Hamilton (2 million+)
46) Dan Abnett (1.2 million+)
47) Robin Hobb (1 million+)
48) David Gemmell (1 million+)
49) Steven Erikson (1 million+)
50) Trudi Canavant (1 million+)
51) Chris Wooding (450,000+)
52) R. Scott Bakker (125,000+)

I think I only got up to 25 that I finished reading, but I'm sure that score will be easily beaten here. :)


Apr 24, 2018
Not very many, but that really isn't a list of the 52 best selling SFF authors since so many are missing that definitely outsold Chris Wooding.

I'm personally unlikely to read fantasy, preferring mysteries or thrillers if I'm not reading SF.


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2006
I've read 14 authors on that list. Some of them are known for a series, so that may sway sales if each book is counted individually. On the other hand, that is a sign of a great story, when people keep purchasing books in a series instead of stopping after the first.


Non-human Protagonist
Apr 18, 2017
11. However, I own a few books by some of these folks that I’ve just not read yet.

Victoria Silverwolf

Vegetarian Werewolf
Dec 9, 2012
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Let me give a little more of a detailed answer.

Stephen King -- read a few of the early novels; Carrie, Salem's Lot, etc. Gave up on him pretty quickly when his work became bloated all out of proportion.

J. R. R. Tolkien -- The Lord of the Rings, of course. I can't say I'm a huge fan.

C. S. Lewis -- Quite a bit, actually, both fiction and nonfiction; which is saying something, given that I do not share his faith.

Richard Adams -- Watership Down, Shardik, The Plague Dogs, and The Girl in a Swing. Good stuff.

George Orwell -- Quite a bit, both his two great satires, some of the mainstream novels, and some nonfiction. Like C. S. Lewis, I admire his clarity of style.

George R. R. Martin -- A lot of his early stuff, from the science fiction stories than won him fame up to a couple of his horror novels, but I know nothing about his gigantic fantasy series that is so successful.

Isaac Asimov -- Quite a bit, from lots of nonfiction to the Foundation stuff to the robot stuff. Not great literature, but always very readable.

Frank Herbert -- The first three Dune books; I got tired of them after that. A couple of his other novels, of which Dragon in the Sea AKA Under Pressure may be the best. All his short stories, since I happened to have a collection of them. Overall, his stuff ranges from poor to pretty good.

Philip Pullman -- The His Dark Materials trilogy. Quite imaginative and original. I can understand why persons of faith who have problems with it.

Stephen Donaldson -- The first Thomas Covenant trilogy. It was OK, but there was something clumsy about the style.

Madeline L'Engle -- A Wrinkle in Time, so long ago that I recall nothing about it.

Frank L. Baum -- All the Oz books. Delightful stuff.

Harry Turtledove -- A handful of short stories, no novels. Not bad.

There are lots of people on the list I've never heard of, others who are very well known but whom I have never read. Of the latter, I can't say there are any that, from what little I know, I want to rush out and read.


This world is not my home
Oct 11, 2006
16 from that list, but as has been said up-thread, this is not a complete list. Orson Scott Card and David Weber leap immediately to mind, both of whom have book sales in multiple millions. I believe I read that OSC has 7 million copies of Ender's Game sold.


|-O-| (-O-) |-O-|
Nov 6, 2008
19, which surprises me as I fell my tastes have narrowed somewhat over the last few years.