Nine books that sold more than 100 million copies and how they compare to my book

EZEKIEL BOONE was born in Canada but lives in Ithaca, New York, with his wife and children. ...

Recent Articles


According to Wikipedia, there are nine books that have sold more than 100 million copies. Actually, the Bible, the Qu’ran, and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book are all over a billion copies, but I can’t think of any way that including those three books is going to work out well for me, so we’re sticking with these.

Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

Considered by many scholars to be the first great novel, it hit the 500 million mark. Most people think of it as that book about the guy who tried to fight a windmill. Published in two parts. If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because there are a lot of people trying to fight windmills, except the windmills are actually flesh-eating spiders.  

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

I was not a very good student in high school, and even though it passed the 200 million copy mark, I didn’t read this book because I thought it was boring. Now I teach graduate students in English and just sort of nod vaguely whenever they talk about Dickens. If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because there are a bunch of cities in it. A lot of those cities get destroyed.

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

What the hell? Either the Wikipedia page for this book was written by a drunk person, or this book is insane. Either way, it sold more than 150 million copies and is one of only two books on this list published since I was born. The core message of the book is, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because the core message is, “when you want something, all the spiders in the universe are going to conspire to devour you.”

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It’s about a prince and a pilot and, well, it’s kind of nutso, but at one point the prince starts talking to a snake, and hey, it sold something like 140 million copies. If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because even though nobody talks to a snake, there is a lot of yelling and screaming because of spiders.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling kicks ass. If you don’t know what this book is about, I sincerely doubt that you are the target audience for The Hatching or Skitter, or for that matter, any book. If you liked Harry Potter, you should read Skitter because Aragog was actually pretty creepy, so imagine like a zillion spiders like Aragog, but smaller and not able to talk, and also trying to eat you alive.

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

Come on, let’s be honest. This book could have done with a little less singing and walking. And if they could just fly on a giant eagle away from Mount Doom, couldn’t they have flown on a giant eagle to get to Mount Doom? If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because it’s full of heroes and action but with a lot less singing.

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie

Good lord, the original title of this book was super racist, but that didn’t stop it from selling 100 million copies. I read this in ninth grade and remember thinking Agatha Christie was kind of messed up. Short version: a lot of people end up dead. If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because, short version, a lot of people end up dead.

Dream of the Red Chamber, Cao Xueqin

According to Wikipedia – love you, Wikipedia! – “redology” is the academic field devoted to studying this work. Which is great, because without Wikipedia, I would know nothing about this book. Starting to realize there are actually a bunch of very famous books I have not read and now I feel bad about myself. I didn’t read any further in the Wikipedia page than the information above, so I’m just going to assume that the “red chamber” is a room full of blood. If you liked this book, you should read Skitter because there’s a reasonable amount of people getting eaten by spiders, and hence, a lot of blood.

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Really? You want me to try to sum this one up? I don’t know. Go take some acid and then go shopping at Ikea with a class of kindergarten students. That’s probably a close approximation. For a book that is a beloved children’s classic, it’s absolutely bonkers. If you liked this book, you should read Skitter, because even though it’s not bonkers in the way that Alice in Wonderland is bonkers, it is bonkers in the hundreds of millions of meat-munching spiders kind of bonkers.

TL;DR (too long didn’t read)? Go buy The Hatching and Skitter.