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Five Billion Sold

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Five Billion Sold

The Amazing Facts Behind the Fiction

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You take them to bed, to the beach and even on vacation—but how well do you really know your favourite authors?

The 30 bestselling authors whose stories are told in this book have sold, by any reasonable estimate, around five billion copies of their books. None has sold fewer than 50 million, and one has sold 40 times that number. Five billion… it is a phenomenal number.

From the golden age of the typewriter through to the digital era of the computer, Five Billion Sold recounts the dramatic ups and downs in the lives of Ian Fleming, Grace Metalious, Wilbur Smith, Danielle Steel, Robert Ludlum and J.K. Rowling, to name a few – while the interwoven essays delve into the publishing world’s most intriguing questions, from the story of how the paperback transformed the industry to the question of what defines a bestseller.

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Did You Know?
  • The young Agatha Christie was a keen surfer, and she once almost drowned off the Hawaiian coast.
  • J.R.R Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings—more than 500,000 words—in longhand; it took him 12 years.
  • Anne Rice was named Howard Allen O’Brien, after her father—but to her mother’s surprise, she changed it herself on her first day of school
About the author

About David Glynn

David Glynn is the author of The Salt Book and Great, Grand & Famous Chefs and their Signature Dishes. An avid reader, he has a lifelong love of books and an ongoing fascination with the lives of writers; Five Billion Sold is a result of that passion.

Book Details


352 pages


231 mm x 169 mm


Colour throughout


Softcover, with flaps



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