The Value of Words...

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The Value of Words

The Value of Words

We all know just how much time and effort goes into writing a book. Whether it’s a fantasy fiction that’s looking to become a pop-culture phenomenon or an educational book looking to have a huge impact on peoples’ lives, the time taken to write a book is of serious significance.

To class something as being successful, we often focus on revenue figures. How many copies has the book sold? Has it reached £1 million in revenue yet? And while these are important, are we overlooking something much deeper? The value of words?

We’ve compiled a list of the highest selling books and novels by living authors to find out just how much these books have made both per word and per page. As you can imagine, some of the figures are eye-watering. 

Check out our findings below!

The Top 20 Bestselling Books By Revenue Per Page...

The Highest Earning Books - Revenue Per Page
The Highest Earning Books - Revenue Per Page

Perhaps unsurprisingly, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone clinched our top spot, earning an astonishing £4.2 million per page. With a total revenue of £958 million, the 1997 debut novel is one of the most successful books ever written. In fact, all seven of Rowling’s Harry Potter books feature in the top 20 bestselling books by a living author.

Paulo Coelho’s novel The Alchemist features second on our list. The magical story of Santiago proved popular across the globe with over 65 million copies sold and approximately £649,350,000 in revenue - making Brazilian Coelho a mind-boggling £3.98million per page.

Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull rounds off our top three. Having sold 40 million copies, the 1970 novel about a seagull who is trying to learn about life and flight has racked up £359 million in revenue - that’s almost £2.5 million per page and £11,326 per word!

The Bestselling Books That Have Earned The Most Per Word...

The Highest Earning Books - Revenue Per Word
The Highest Earning Books - Revenue Per Word

While fantasy fiction dominates our top 20, mostly thanks to the formidable Harry Potter series, the renowned adventures of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon also make an appearance in our list. For Brown, it seems that sequels are almost as lucrative as the original story with both Angels & Demons and The Lost Symbol both appearing in our final tally, alongside The Da Vinci Code - each earning an eye-watering £2,182, £1,883 and £4,964 per word in revenue respectively.

Also making it into our top 20 is E.L. James’ Fifty Shades series, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World.

Stephenie Meyer’s ever-popular vampire-themed romance fantasy Twilight rounds off the top 20 best-selling books, generating approximately £269,700,000 in revenue from the 30 million copies sold - that’s a huge £696,899 per page, or £2,788 per word.

The Bestselling Book Series Of All Time...

To complete our study, we looked into the top selling book series of all time. To no surprise, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter ranked first, selling more than 400 million copies collectively. 

Two children’s series landed in our top five - R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps with 300 million copies sold, and Stan and Jan Berenstain’s Berenstain Bears selling 260 million.

Methodology & Sources:

In order to calculate the revenue per page, we took the number of books sold and multiplied the figure by the current price listed on Amazon. This gave a total gross revenue, to which we divided the figure by the number of pages to find the revenue per page. This step was then repeated for the revenue per word.