The 100 Bestselling Christian Books of 2010

The books in the table below represent the top 100 bestselling Christian books of 2010. It is based on unit sales for the twelve months ending December 31, 2010.

Bestsellers Sign in a Bookstores - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #14574585

Photo courtesy of ©

We created these lists from a proprietary database we have assembled at Thomas Nelson. It is based on various point-of-sale systems from multiple sales channels.

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This list is not perfect. It is missing sales, for example, from large mass accounts that don’t report to the major services. Nor does it include ministry or direct sales. Nor does it include e-books or sales outside the U.S. It primarily represents sales through traditional bookstores, both general market and Christian specialty stores.

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Questions: What observations do you have about this list? Any conclusions you can draw either about the state of Christian publishing or the evangelical market? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • leniparks

    Thanks for this – was waiting to see what was included… really a great list with a few surprises!

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  • Roy Wallen

    Thanks for sharing this list of the 100 best-selling Christian books. Congratulations on being in the number 1 spot and for having the highest percentage of books on this list (if I counted correstly). While some of these won’t fit my reading list, many will. So many books, so little time …

  • David Santistevan

    I think it’s a good list. Nice mixture of challenging Christian living and self help. It makes sense that no theology books are in the top 100 but it might be nice to see that.

  • Richard C

    The list seems very American. In what way is the compiling of the list representative of the Majority World or should it be retitled “Top 100 bestselling books in USA/North America” or something? Is Sarah Young the “World Champion” in that ridiculous US sports kind of way?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it is exclusively American. We only have point-of-sale data for U.S. stores. We don’t have any way to get POS data beyond the U.S. Thanks.

  • Meg

    I’m seeing lots of non-fiction. Economic themes, books about leadership, making a difference. I also see a lot of books with staying power, like Battlefield of the Mind, Captivating, Blue Like Jazz toward the bottom of the list. It seems like a lot of people are interested in reading about how to live a life more focused on Christ, and of course, that’s always a good thing. :-)

    This year I read Outlive Your Life and The Shack. I really enjoyed them both. Max Lucado is always a favorite, and The Shack was an amazing read for so many reasons. I’ve heard great things about Crazy Love. Have you read that?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have not read it, but those I know who have, love it.

    • Barrettsmith1

      Crazy Love is amazing! I’m reading it for the 2nd time! Francis Chan is FOCUSED!

    • Steven Cribbs

      I have Crazy Love on my short list to read – it has been making the rounds at my church and everyone seems really excited about.

      • Daniel Becerra

        It’s a great book, indeed! Francis Chan really seeks God above all things. He makes it so clear what it’s like to seek God above all things :)

  • Larry Shallenberger

    It makes me aware of how broadly and diversely Christians view the world.

  • AtomicPopcorn

    Crazy Love and Christian Atheist are HUGE books in my mind!

  • Brian Caravantes

    I don’t see anything overtly Catholic on the list. Where do Catholic authors like Dr. Scott Hahn or Raymond Arroyo rank?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I only had my guys pull the top 100, so I don’t know. The problem is that Catholic bookstores don’t report to any of the POS systems.

  • @PaulSteinbrueck

    Interesting list. Seems like a lot of “classics” continue to be best sellers year after year. And a lot of repeat authors.

  • Anne Lang Bundy

    With so many classic titles on the list, my first question is if this includes e-books—hinting at buyers purchasing multiple copies for electronic devices? Or a new generation acquainting themselves with classics? If these are print books only, then I’m inclined to wonder if these sales primarly exclude more youngish readers. I’m guessing most titles are non-fiction, which also makes me think of somewhat older buyer demographics.

    So as I consider the future of publishing, my mind rabbit-trails slightly. With several millenia of history behind them, I don’t believe print books can ever cease. But I do wonder about which books will survive in print, and how truly representative of our culture they will be once all the e-books are deleted or lost to oblivion.

    • Michael Hyatt

      This list does not include e-books. None of the e-tailers are reporting to the POS systems.

      Contrary to your intuition, all of the demographic information we have is that most e-book readers are older. I think this is because of the ability to enlarge the font size.

      • Brad Farris

        Wouldn’t another reason for older e-book readers be the upfront cost of the device itself?

        • Michael Hyatt

          That may well be part of it.

          • bondservant

            Not to mention older people supposedly read more. I guess we should determine what an “older person” is, shouldn’t we? :)

          • bondservant

            Not to mention older people supposedly read more. I guess we should determine what an “older person” is, shouldn’t we? :)

  • Brent Schebler

    #80 Bringing up Boys and #13 Bringing up Girls. Interesting to think that more people are worried about raising girls than Boys. I would have expected to see these a little closer together. Thanks for the list. I must say 10% of this list is on my reading list.

    • Michael Hyatt

      As the father of five daughters, I am not surprised that the book about girls sold better. ;-)

    • Amy

      Bringing up Girls is a much newer book. I would guess that is why it is higher on the list.

    • Brandon

      That’s because girls are much higher maintenence! haha…just kidding…well, maybe not…

  • Peter Horn

    This is very helpful, Michael. With so many, many choices, it’s great to narrow it down to what most people are affirming as highly valuable.
    PS: one typo “OutLIVE” vs. “OutLINE” Your Life ;-)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the heads-up on the typo. I have fixed it. Thanks.

  • Jonathon Burns

    I’m surprised that Ted Dekker’s Immanuel’s Veins isn’t on the list. Can you tell how that did in comparison to other Dekker books/this list?

    And I’m assuming Boneman’s Daughters is from Mass Market Paperback sales, which is quite impressive to be that high on the list.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know off-hand how it did. I’ll have to pull the numbers. I only had my team pull the top 100 books.

  • Doug Hibbard

    I think the persistence of a book like The Five Love Languages shows us a little about where we are as people. Here is a book that’s been around for quite a few years, yet it’s a top-five seller this year. This shows me that strengthening relationships, especially marriages and families, remains a large place for work, be it from books or churches.

    Also interesting: there are the new authors that spike at the top, yet then there are consistent authors: Max Lucado, Billy Graham, Oswald Chambers. 5 to 10 years ago, I’d guess those were on there, and will be in 5 to 10 more years. I wonder if some of the new names still will be.

    One other thing: there’s at least 2 books on there that seem to hold 2 spots: The Five Love Languages (from2 publishers) and The Love Dare (and it’s fancy leather-like twin). Apparently both were good content.

    But please don’t start making leather-like twins of every book. That would get old.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think you need to worry too much about an over-publication of leather-like tomes. They are expensive to produce and most publishers won’t publish them unless there is a market for them.

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  • Uma Maheswaran S

    The list reflects the growing trend and the genres that bring success in book market. And, in majority of the instances, it is the authors with some platform/background are able to make up to the list.

    My inference is that the crowd today is more interested in some sort of self-development advice. By going through the entire list, we can understand that biblical books with self development / self management ideas are doing well in the market.

    It seems that people are more interested in finding out a solution to their day to day problems rather than reading some knowledge/information stuff.

    My hunch is — the books that which give fresh perspective on practical guidance for solving life’s problem biblically are doing well in our evangelical market.

    All the above are my personal observations and conclusions.

    • Brent Schebler

      I would expect to see books that “give fresh perspectiveon practical guidance for solving life’s problems” are doing better in the Secular world too. (not sure about the actual data) Many people in the current US socio-economic climate are looking for ways to cope, simplify, better themselves, get a leg up on life. So self-development books are probably doing better across the board. (again no hard data just what I think the data may show)

      • Uma Maheswaran S

        I do understand that “many people in the current US socio-economic climate are looking for ways to cope, simplify, better themselves, get a leg up on life.” I can sense why people go behind self management ideas. Thanks for your reply and insight.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I agree. I think this is the case.

    • Elizabeth Lampi

      I do agree many are looking for a way to live life daily through a biblical solution.

      With the ability for information to be passed around world wide in a flash there is a need to learn how to deal with the world as it is portrayed.

      There is a strong need to make ‘the corner of our world’ better. Reading books that speak of relationships, making a difference, a focused life based on Christian living and self-improvement reach out and touch our hearts.

      History may be important; as I see it, the time we are living in calls for action both as individuals and as a nation, one world under God.

      So yes, times call for a fresh perspective on living life day by day.

      • Uma Maheswaran S

        Dear Elizabeth! I agree with you totally.

  • James Castellano

    Great info, There are quite a few authors on the list multiple times. Is this an indication publishers are more likely to take the risk on known names as opposed to newcomers?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think it reflects a conservatism all through the system. Consumers have had less discretionary money, so they are less likely to try new authors. They gravitate to the “tried and true.” Retailers, trying to meet these expectations, are less likely to try new authors, as are publishers.

    • Uma Maheswaran S

      Dear James! It is just like the movie industry. Normally, producers tend to go behind well established stars than a new face for a movie. They feel that a well known cine star generates guaranteed BO results than a new face. Same analogy applies to book publishing industry too. At the end of the day, risk is less with established writer than a newcomer. So why to take unnecessary risk? Ithink that would be the mentality of the typical publisher.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I think that is the mentality of, first, consumers, and second, retailers.

        • Steven Cribbs

          I would agree with that. My wife and I both just went through a period of buying a variety of books from children’s books, leadership books, ministry-related books and general reading. Our first choices in all genres were with authors that we were familiar with (i.e. trusted) and books that had a high number of positive reviews from trusted reviewers and consumers.

  • Dan

    The diversity here — philosophically, financially, politically and theologically — reminds us that “Christianity” is not a clear, concise belief system. It is a very broad term that allows writers to present their views, Biblical or not. Christian publishing has softened its distinctions – the pertinent question is — what will people buy?

    • Brandon

      Christian books don’t necessarily have to be on doctrine… they just have to contain Christian values, lessons, and testimonies. It doesn’t matter what type of book it is- if it is Christian, Christ will be in it…and it will help a Christian in his/her walk with God…

      • ocie

        Any book will always have some type of doctrinal foundation, but that doctrine may not always be Christian. Christian values, lessons and testimonies are based on doctrinal truths on God, Christ, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, the church, etc.. There are numerous, popular authors (some on this list) who publish “Christian” books through Christian publishing companies, but they have little to do with Christ.

        • uncle_pete

          Ocie, could you mention a few examples of authors you describe?

          • Mark H.

            Oh, like Joel Osteen, for instance.

  • Amy

    So, I looked at the list a little different. My first thought after reading your questions about observations was that most of the top books are easy readers, there were no theology books (are we getting something wrong here), and many books are repeats from previous years so either pop culture Christianity plus marketing works or there is value in some of the books that make it year after year. I would guess it is a little of both.

  • Michael

    I’ve read 19 of these books. I find it interesting that there is one “leadership” book, Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. There are many books which ultimately pertain to our daily living, which impact our spirit. That is most striking to me. We are all longing for something more, and often times, maybe too often we hope to find the answer in a book.

  • krish kandiah

    Thanks for posting this. Very helpful.
    Interestingly not many non US authors, are these global stats or US stats? Quite a few megachurch pastors. Mostly non-fiction. Mostly personal spirituality rather church / political transformational spirituality. Nice to see a good number of women.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, this is U.S. only. We don’t have access to point-of-sale is data outside the U.S.

  • John Richardson

    Interesting list, Michael. One thing that pops out is that most of the fiction books are written for women by women. Both Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury have multiple titles on the list. In the personal development area, Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer seem to be doing well with books aimed towards the female reader. It’s nice to see Donald Miller on the list twice along with Andy Andrews and his Noticer novel. With the current economic situation I’m surprised that there aren’t more “end times” books on the list. Overall, it’s nice to see some perennial favorites such as The Purpose Driven Life still doing well.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is probably because 70–80% of Christian book consumers are female.

      • Michael

        So, how do we get more men to purchase and read books?

        • Michael Hyatt

          If I knew that, I’d be doing it! Seriously, I am not sure. We talk about t a lot.

          • Sally

            I read a lot and am always trying to get my husband to read more. He is ok with audiobooks…our problem is that it basically means buying the same book twice. Which doesn’t happen very often. I don’t know how feasible it is, but it would be really nice to have an audiobook and paper book sold as a set, even it was a few bucks more…it would be cheaper than paying full price for audio and hard copy.

          • Michael Hyatt

            Yep, you’ll see more of this this year. Thanks.

  • Joy@EdgyInspirationalRomance

    Disheartened by how little Christian fiction made the list.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Let not your heart be troubled. Fiction is the fastest growing genre. I expect it to grow on this list in the future.

  • Chris MacKinnon

    Does the fact that I only have 14/100 matter? I think it’s important to note how many have been in print for a few years (or in some cases, 5-10+ years) compared to those new in market. It should encourage authors (and publishers, I think) that even though a message isn’t instantly received, if it is based in truth, it will continue to be timely.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think Christian book in particular endure longer than general market ones. This is a generalization, and I am sure there are exceptions. Bur, overall, I think it is true.

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  • Tiffanycox

    Congrats on having so many bestsellers on the list!

  • Loralee Scott-Conforti

    Great info. to have! Thanks for sharing this! Congrats on having the #1 bestseller! Some observations – Judging from the book titles and authors – is the Christian book market comprised of more female consumers – do you have any data that would confirm or dispute that? Clearly, the celebrity authors – those with already established platforms – are dominating the market – is that because Publishers are no longer “taking a chance” on new authors so they simply aren’t getting the promotional support they once did or is it reflective of consumer conservatism?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, about 70–80% of Christian book consumers are female. I think the reason celebrity authors dominate the list is because consumers, retailers, and publishers are more risk adverse. In turbulent times where everyone has less discretionary dollars, people gravitate to the “tried and true.”

      • Brandon

        Wow! I did not know that…pretty cool fact.

  • Steve Barkley

    What makes a book a christian book? If an author is a christian (ie John Maxwell) and writes a book about leadership is that different that a non-christian writing a leadership book? I am not trying to be difficult, I just find it interesting how we label music, books, movies etc. as christian. What does it take to qualify as a christian book? Thomas Nelson is a leading publisher of christian books. Do you ever decide to not publish a book because it is not christian enough? Also curious how the Bible ranks in Thomas Nelson sales. Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      These are books are that are designated Christian based on the way the coder codes it. At Thomas Nelson, this is how we decide what meets our definition of a Christian book.

      Bible sales are about 34% of our total publishing sales. This was a list of books, as distinct from Bibles, so I didn’t include any in this list. Thanks.

      • Steve Barkley

        Excellent! Thanks for sharing your decision making guidelines.

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  • Judy Nelson

    Is Tony Dungy the only African-American? That is bothersome.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Personally, I don’t think people buy race or gender; they buy relevance.

      • Nlrobinson2004

        Considering this case in particular, I am assuming that you are not suggesting that mentoring and leadership are not relevant topics. I’m not suggesting that race is the only issue, but there should definitely be an honest discussion about how it affects sales.

    • john Eckhardt

      John Eckhardt, Prayers That Rout Demons, is African American

  • Jeff Jones

    I see some books I want to get. Thanks for publishing the list.

    The theme that jumps out to me in several of these books is overcoming difficulties. Maybe it is because that has been the theme of my last for the past few years and I’m still working on walking through some of the storms I’ve been in.

  • Alex

    I think what was most notable to me were all the self-help books. Although there are some exceptions, the majority of these are self-help books.

    I guess the reason that was so shocking is I assumed the most popular Christian books would be the ones that bring us deeper into a relationship with God and His church and less into our own personal world. Some of these books are definitely in there, but titles like So Long Insecurity, Fearless, The Me I Want to Be, Your Best Life Begins Each Morning, Power Thoughts, Outlive your Life, etc seem to have less to do with God and more to do with me.

    As mentioned in another comment, this list is very American and the ideal American life is one that is completely independent of everyone (including God). Even so, I was a bit surprised by some of the titles that made it on the top 100.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I would not consider any of Max Lucado’s books to be self-help. You will rarely find another writer who writes so much about Jesus and our relationship to Him.

      • Alex

        I will give you that one

    • Alex

      As a follow up, it is interesting to note how many of these books are experiential. Most of them revolve around “Feeling” God instead of living with Him

  • davidbmc

    Interesting that NavPress has picked up Parenting With Love and Logic to distribute to the CHristian market. It is a parenting classic. Best book on parenting you will ever read. Nothing particularly Christian about it though. (That does not bother me btw.)

  • Jesse

    What stands out to me is how some more established authors, such as John Piper or Thomas Nelsons John MacArhtur sell most of their books outside traditional chanels. I heard that a typical MacArthur book distributes 30k at least through Grace To You and I imagine Piper does almost as well through Desiring God. Are those points not tracked because they are less profitable than traditional sales, or less influenced by marketing, or for some other reason?

  • Bret Mavrich

    I’m shocked at how many books in the top 25 where not published this year. Purpose Driven Life? Wasn’t that published back in 2003 or something?

    Glad to see Wild at Heart is coming in under the top 50. Perennial fav.

    21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership? A Christian book? I know John was a pastor, and I understand that Christians can benefit from leadership books, but shouldn’t we require a little more than that to call a book a “Christian” book? I’d be curious whether or not you’re rolling your eyes with me, Mike.

    • Michael Hyatt

      This comes back to the age-old question of what makes a book Christian. I think Maxwell’s books is thoroughly Christian, based on this criteria.

      • Bret Mavrich

        You’ve already blogged a response before I asked the question. I love it.

      • Bret Mavrich

        I read your criteria. I’m a convert. I liked the line about “writing from a Christian worldview.”

        Also, thanks for the copy of “Heaven is for Real.” I just received it yesterday and I’m more than halfway through it. An encouraging read.

  • Ashley Musick

    Interesting, I feel like Radical would have been higher on the list. Perhaps that would change with all the other info you talked about. Sounds like people are still catching up on some of the popular Christian books from the past couple of years. I’m surprised there are still people left who haven’t read The Shack. Ha. Thanks for the post.

  • Jeff Randleman

    There are a lot of books on here that I’ve read. And here are a few that surprised me as well. It woul be interesting to see ebook sales figures…

    • Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, we can’t get those for any titles other than our own (Thomas Nelson).

  • Jett

    All around good list. It would also be interesting at some point to find out the top Christian fiction as well. I was surprised Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” wasn’t on there, but maybe that was just a local trend where I came from. All in all good list, very insightful.

    • Michael Hyatt

      This Present Darkness is a pretty old book. I think it was first published in the 80s or early 90s.

  • Bryan Robison

    Thanks for the list Michael. I am putting together my reading list for 2011; if you were putting together your list for 2011, what 5 books would you include?

    • Michael Hyatt

      That would be difficult to answer without knowing you—kind of like a doctor prescribing for a patient he hasn’t met. I would ask your local bookstore or your pastor. Thanks.

  • Marni

    From the top 10 alone, it is actually pretty clear that people purchasing these books are looking for ways to find love and healing in their lives again – from love to finances. I am just actually shocked that Boundaries made it so far down on the list to only make it to the top 25 – but I can understand that for the most part people just want to find some “quick fixes” to life – rather than actually work on some major aspects of it. The truth is though, the 10 top are not “quick fixes” – and I hope people realize that (especially The Shack – it is not even amidst my top anything. I did not like it).

  • Jordyn Redwood

    It’s interesting that there are only a handful of fiction authors making the list.

  • Desertrose5173

    I find more non-fiction than fiction, seeing people interested in their spiritual growth–but I add that there is a lot of spiritual messages in many of today’s novels. I’m finding myself reading more non-fiction to learn about what’s going on in the world, growing spiritually, etc. So many good books out there! But I need a novel every now and then to read for fun.

  • Jeff Goins

    Interesting. A couple of initial conclusions: 1) Max Lucado ain’t doing bad. 2) It seems that, while the bestsellers are varied, that you either need to write a book that is very practical or a very good (yet, simple) story.


    On a sidenote, I was surprised to see that the Shack was still selling so well. Thought that was old news.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That’s probably a pretty good analysis.

      • Jeff Goins

        So, lesson is: Be Max Lucado, or you’re at a disadvantage?

  • Truthseeker

    With all of the hype of self-publishing and what “Westbow Press” can help for authors, do you project that a self-published title will ever make these lofty lists? Or is Westbow another “waving of the carrot” mechanism for authors used to generate revenue for Thomas Nelson so that they can fully promote their authors and titles of choice?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think one will, provided the content is great.

      • Jeff Goins

        The Shack was initially self-published, wasn’t it? I think that it became popular mostly due to grassroots marketing. A friend helped with some of the campaigning.

        • Michael Hyatt

          Yes, it was.

          • Jeff Goins

            Cool. Proof that it can be done, I guess.

  • Alisahopewagner

    Wow! I’ve read many of these books, but I can’t believe I haven’t read #1 Jesus Calling. I’m ordering from Amazon now!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think you’ll love it. I have given scores of them away.

    • Jeff Goins

      My pastor has been reading that and pretty much quoting it every other week for a couple of months now. It’s a bit older, isn’t it?

      • Michael Hyatt

        It was original published in October 2004.

        • Jeff Goins

          Wow. Older than I thought.

  • Tom Cooper

    I’m thrilled that you have a substantive list of criteria for definition of Christian books. What I find VERY troubling is the fact that many “Christian” books contain content that violates the “true” and “just” criteria.

    When I see Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and John Hagee on the list I cringe knowing that the core doctrines they define and defend are in conflict with Biblical truth!

    I’m a “debate but not divide” kind of guy and have no problem with diversity of belief on the non-essentials, but inclusion of “word faith” teachers who say:
    1. faith is a force
    2. Words are the containers of the force
    3. With the force of faith you can create your own reality

    Is a violation of your criteria. This saddens me greatly. How do you address this concern that some of your authors clearly teach things in conflict with the Biblical definition of sin, salvation, and the nature of God?

    Tom Cooper

    • Michael Hyatt

      We do not publish Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. We have not published John Hagee in several years. I think you would have to ask their current publishers.

  • Joe Sheehan

    Excellent list Michael. Was happy to see the 5 Love Languages near the top – it can be a very powerful tool to enhancing love of Christ through love of one another.

    Would be interested in hearing your recommendations – If someone only had time to read a few of these, which would you recommend?

  • Christopher Scott

    My observation is that some of these books have been published five or ten years ago. You would not guess they would still be on a best-seller list.

    However, when you look at the authors (Rick Warren, Ramsey, Chapman, etc.) they are still “out there” promoting their books. They have blogs, radio shows, do conferences, and many other ways to build their platform and tell people about their books.

    Just because your book has been published 5+ years ago, does not mean it can’t still be a best-seller.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yep, that’s right. Christian books are noted for their longevity.

  • David & Lisa

    Thanks for compiling and sharing this — much appreciated! As mid-list authors with 3 new titles arriving in 2011, we aspire to see one of our titles in a compilation of this type. :)

  • David & Lisa

    Thanks for compiling and sharing this — much appreciated! As mid-list authors with 3 new titles arriving in 2011, we aspire to see one of our titles in a compilation of this type. :)

  • David & Lisa

    Thanks for compiling and sharing this — much appreciated! As mid-list authors with 3 new titles arriving in 2011, we aspire to see one of our titles in a compilation of this type. :)

  • Peter P

    No real surprises in the top five… except that they have such staying power and can still be top sellers.

    What I’d like to see though is rankings based on average sales per day.

    Some of those books were available all year long whilst others were only released in the last quarter.

    Totaling the sales of each book and dividing by the number of days that book was available for purchase would better show which ones were truly the most popular.

    Of course… that doesn’t fully work because books obviously sell more in their first few weeks of availability… so I guess my average sales per day idea is useless.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, the data is not collected at that level of granularity. Thanks.

  • Joshua Hood

    Congratulations to you and Thomas Nelson on 28 of the top 100!
    Here’s to an even better 2011.

    Joshua Hood

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Joshua.

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  • TNeal

    Interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction. Congratulations for Thomas Nelson’s putting out so many books that people want to read. I’ve read several and they deserved to be in the top 100 in 2010.

    I also noticed how many heaven (five if you include “The Shack”) and hell (one) made the top 100 list–something important to my future aspirations.

  • Jordan Monson

    I expected more fiction. In a way I’m proud of Christians for reading so much nonfiction, but in another way I’d like to see more fiction. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’d like to see more, too. The good news is that this is really the fastest growing genre.

  • TNeal

    Interesting mix of fiction and non-fiction. Congratulations for Thomas Nelson’s putting out so many books that people want to read. I’ve read several and they deserved to be in the top 100 in 2010.

    I also noticed how many heaven (five if you include “The Shack”) and hell (one) made the top 100 list–something important to my future aspirations.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I noticed that, too. I think it is an encouraging sign that people aren’t so focused on this life.

  • Daniel Becerra

    Thank you for posting this! Very helpful trends I have noticed.

  • Brandon

    I’m really surprised Guerilla Lovers isn’t on there… have you read that one? It is by far my favorite book!

  • K.C. Procter

    Wow! That’s quite an impressive list. Just added a bunch to my Amazon wishlist.

  • Roland

    Interesting list but would be more revealing if you gave the number of books sold?

  • Matt Beard

    I was very interested to see this list. I work for LifeWay so I see many of these come across the counter. I’d say your list is very accurate as far as our sales go. I think the diversity of subjects covered is very interesting. I’m also glad to see that your company took so many of the spots. I’d love to see a list like this for only Bible sales. Thanks for posting!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Matt. I am glad to see that this parallels your experience. I will consider a similar list for Bibles. I think that will be a challenge, given all the different bible bindings and SKUs.

      • Matt Beard

        I hadn’t thought about the difficulty with the bindings and SKUs. It may not be worth your time as I’m sure the interest for that list wouldn’t be as wide spread. It would definitely be interesting information for someone who sells Bibles on a daily basis though.

  • Susan

    Some of those same books have been on the list for years. That’s fine, in some cases. So does this mean that we Christians lack imagination? That we are consistent in our needs? Or that Christian authors/publishers are not coming up with much that is new and worthwhile?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think it means that the messages are enduring. Truth is truth, and it doesn’t have an expiration date.

  • Brooke

    At first glance, it appears to me that we are a needy bunch, but looking further it appears we’re all still searching. I’ve enjoyed reading several of the books listed.

  • womenlivingwell

    I have read 24 of the books on that list – to be honest that surprises me – I feel blessed to have so many good books in my life. I treasure them!!! There’s a few on there I need to get my hands on…but I was surprised there are NO John Piper books? Maybe because he was on sabbatical this year? Or maybe because he’s less popular than I thought lol!!!

    • awakenedaffections

      First comment on the WHOLE blog that mentioned Piper! I didn’t know where and/or when to comment but I feel it is necessary now. I resound with the few comments that mentioned the LACK of theological titles (wait lack would imply that there were some…there were NONE!) I am not surprised however in this list, it is a thermometer of the spiritual climate of America. If any of the Puritans, Reformers, disciples were to see this list they would vomit! We have a severely skewed vision of what “Christian” means if we are calling these titles “Christian”. I am so depressed as I visit different Christian bookstores, a few have been named on here, and see the decline of solid, biblical title focusing on the glory of God in all things and the growth of the self-help CRAP that dominates this list. I appreciate some of the work that Nelson has put out over the years but what does not surprise me is the absence of Crossway, Reformation Heritage, and the like. With the resurgence of Reformed theology and the popularity of pastors like John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Tim Keller, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and the list goes on and on; this list is sad. I did appreciate the fact that “Radical” made it on the list, and wonder how many people are actually inacting the principles in that book (warning: it is totally anti-self-help and megachurch and America). Michael I do not know the origin of Nelson Publishers but I pray that you all do some searching of God’s word and that you all would not “tickle ears” and fall prey to what so many publishers have in the past.

      • Michael Hyatt

        Indeed, this does reflect the spiritual climate of America.

        We are certainly not perfect at Thomas Nelson, but we are very explicit about our standards.

  • Switchtorealfood

    This might sound like a dumb question but what is a Christian Book? Does a Christian have to have written it? I’m not wanting to be disrespectful…it’s a serious question. Thanks.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Here’s how we define itat Thomas Nelson.

  • john_gallagher

    1) Max Lucado is a machine
    2) 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership still on the list after 12 years.
    3) Dungy with 2 out of 100…Great man of character

  • Nicole

    Looks like I have a new suggested reading list! :)

    Actually, I’ve read several of these already. Great stories, great advice. Probably my favorite at the moment is “Boundaries.”

    I also have the same question as Courtney – where are the John Piper books? Maybe too many reader struggle with the deep intellectualism? I don’t know!

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  • Grippedbygrace7

    Wow-lots of books on this list that I would consider junk. (Numbers 2, 16 and 39 among them.) Just shows you that Americans will buy anything.
    Me, I’m into the Puritan Christians…REAL theology.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Real theology? If you want that, go back to the early church fathers? Those new guys (the Puritans) don’t hold a candle to the ancients. ;-)

  • Greg

    No wonder surveys keep showing the rapid decline in Evangelicals’ understanding of the Bible.

  • Ron

    Looking at some of the postings already, I believe we look at the 100 books and “see” something different for each of us.

    But as I read the list I saw a lot of biblical, scriptural, inspirational, devotional, and personal faith journey books … but few on managing, leading, visioning and planning for the day to day administration of the congregation.

  • Steve

    That Ken Gire is not on the list means we are missing out. He has published with The W Publishing Group (subsidiary of yours) prior and I hope he’s ready to do another one with you. Other than that, the list is a great one.

  • Anonymous

    It seems like most of these authors have a fairly big “name” prior to their books hitting the shelves. It makes it difficult for us hoping to “break in” to the market when we are “unknown.” And then there’s the balance between building myself as a brand versus letting God bring the readers to me…

  • Georgiana

    Very informative ~ thanks for sharing. It’s interesting and profound that some well-loved classic works still rank up there right alongside some newly released bestsellers.

  • Michael

    Is this based on combined rankings? If so, are the results weighted evenly or by channel share? Just curious, as it might be hard to combine sales from different cross-pub sample sizes.

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, it is based on total units across all channels.

      • Michael


  • 100prayingwomen

    Are there any African American authors on the 100?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, at least two. Tony Dungy and John Eckhardt.

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  • Travis Mamone

    Typical. None of my favorite books from 2010 are on this list. Which is a shame, because I’ll take “Evolving in Monkey Town” over “The Five Love Languages” any day!

  • Paul Wilkinson

    I actually posted a similar chart today at my blog. Not having the NFL in Canada meant that I had to click the link for #15; and I work in the business! (Actually, I think when it comes to football, the Australians have the better game.)

    As a blogger, I read a lot of books last year, but the blogosphere tends to gravitate toward titles that are eclectic or esoteric. (Just like newspaper music reviewers never mention mainstream titles.) So while I was intimately aware of all these books, when I actually did the count, it was a meager 14. Of course, I could up that by one in about three minutes with the addition of #91.

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  • William McPherson

    Christians like to read things that are intensely practical. I hesitate to use the term “relevant” because I believe that our faith and the Scriptures is relevant whether we think so or not. Christians are interested in the day to day working of the faith, the ever present, “What do I do?” While I think this is somewhat encouraging, it also shows that Christians do not wish to think (Few complex works of theology or philosophy grace this list) and that could be the one of the big underlying reasons that we cannot “do Christianity” and must frantically search all of our practical “self-help” books. Still, it shows that Christians are interested in making a difference in the day-to-day workings of life; but it is “being” a Christian not “doing Christianity” that ultimately matters. Still no work of literature renews and transforms like the inspired words of God in the Scriptures.

  • Jon

    This list proves that the majority of “Christian Evangelicals” are still wallowing in unorthodoxy. Let us pray to see the day when the list includes Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Owen, Bunyan, Edwards, Warfield, Kuyper, Machen, Bavinck, Packer, Sproul, and VanTil.

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  • Chrisp

    Shows what a sad state we are in spiritually. Especially ranking number two!

  • dri

    mostly white men. mostly written for self help.

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  • Brian in Canada

    Doesn’t linking each book through to amazon simply encourage the decline of independent neighbourhood bookstores? Aren’t they your source [as a publisher] of your bread and butter, or is amazon the only game in town for you?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I am trying to make it easy for my readers. I can’t link to every independent store (obviously), so the only alternative is not to link at all. I don’t think that serves my audience.

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  • John Young

    With respect for the quality of the content in these titles, I’m disappointed that of the top 10
    only two were released on 2010. Beth Moore
    and Francis Chan’s followup. I’m thrilled to see stores give massive display to Sarah Young’s 2004 release but this makes me wonder why few new titles released in 2010 didn’t connect well.
    Are the acquisition guys reading the needs of the loyal customer well?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think that turbulent times, people gravitate to the tried and true. Everyone—publishers, retailers, and consumers—are more risk adverse. Thanks, John.

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  • Brian

    Great list. I just finished “The Total Money Makeover” and am surprised at how many others I have already read.

  • Human Ape

    It’s interesting that not one of “THE 100 BESTSELLING CHRISTIAN BOOKS OF 2010″ are books about science. Is Christianity an anti-science religion? I think it is.

    darwinkilledgod dot blogspot dot com

    • Matt Mikalatos

      It seems to me that if Christianity were an anti-science religion, then you would see some anti-science books on the list, no?

      Likewise, if I were to go to a list of “100 Best-Selling Science Books of 2010″ and notice that none of them were about Christianity, it would be flawed thinking to suggest that “Science is anti-Christian.”

      Seems like a poor conclusion for the data provided. I would expect better from a scientist, Mr. Human Ape. :)

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  • Sjohnston

    I was surprised to see how many of the books have been around for years. Guess it just proves out that modern classics continue to be in demand. Thanks for sharing the list. Gives me some good ideas for reading in the coming year.

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  • Enayena

    the only one I’d read is from Oswald Chambers. I’m amazed that some Christians have time to read so many books ahead of the Bible, God’s word to us.

  • Enayena

    the only one I’d read is from Oswald Chambers. I’m amazed that some Christians have time to read so many books ahead of the Bible, God’s word to us.

  • jeanelane

    What is great about this list is that so many older books are on it. This shows that they have staying power.

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  • Mandafarias

    I didn’t read the book The Case for Christ, but I saw the documentary, WONDERFUL!! Amazing and full of facts I did not know about the Bible and Jesus

  • Mary

    I’m glad I have this for a reading list, but I was disappointed that not all the books were from 2010. It would be nice to see a list of top new releases. Or maybe it would be nice to see new authors get a chance to get on the bookshelves so we could decide for ourselves?

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  • Elizabeth Lampi

    With the ability for information to be passed around world wide in a flash there is a need to learn how to deal with the world as it is portrayed, day by day.

    Hope is crucial and we find hope in the Word of God. There is a strong need to make ‘the corner of our world’ better. Reading books that speak of relationships, making a difference, a focused life based on Christian living, and self-improvement reach out and touch our hearts.

    History may be important; as I see it the time we are living in calls for action both as individuals and as a nation, one world under God. Seeing the top 100 include books that guide and challenges Christian living, challenging and lifting us up as individuals to a higher calling makes sense.

    One key phrase I have heard recently is “Living Intentionally” these books get us there.

    Relationships start at home, books like The Five Love Languages help improve our relationships with family and friends, it lends to understanding . I also have the book The Five Languages of Apology, (Chapman and Thomas) this book also lends to understanding one another.

    The need to reach out and make the world a better place is strong. There are books in this list calling us to action. Other books like The Shack are easy read. This book touches topics such as the God of Wrath -vs- the God of love; depression; objectification of other humans; trust and love; if God loves us why so much pain in the world; our will -vs- his purpose, to mention a few human conditions and FAQ (frequently asked questions). Put in an easy read format allows us to feel and does not require us to tax our interpretation abilities.

    I have 5 books on this list and see several that will go on my wish list: Crazy Love, The Christian Atheist, and Boundaries.

    Thanks for compositing this list, always interesting to see what is popular in respect to man’s current condition.

  • Philip Whitford

    Does this list take into account books that have multiple ISBNs? For example the Bible and the Book of Mormon did not make the list. I imagine the combined sales of those two individual writings far outsold Jesus Calling.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I did not include any Bibles in the list, period. The bible has a gzillion ISBNs—different translations, bindings, formats, etc.

      • Philip Whitford

        Then I guess you can say this is a biased list.

        • Michael Hyatt

          No, the Bible is considered a different product class altogether. (My company, Thomas Nelson, is one of the world’s largest Bible publishers.)

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  • Dr. Jenkins

    I have recently proof read a book that has since changed mylife profoundly. It wasn’t that its language was exceedingly complex or the style of its composition exceedingly elligant but none the less the understanding I received was simply profound. The author pronounces plainly that he feels he has received this understanding from what he calls, “the universal source of knowledge”. All I understand is that I cannot get the validity of its profound truth out of my mind. The book was titled, THE TRUTH “The Illumination of Conscience” it is by a first tiime published author Jeff Simoneaux. of New Orleans, Louisiana. He talks about this universal connection we all have to everyone else and everything else and how this connection made of pure energy is our actually real self and that the body we incorporate in the world we sense is actually only a disquise for this other world in which we actually live, a world we manifest along with everything and everyone else, a world that our very Creator is readily available to us, it is His world. I strongly recommend to anyone seeming to be missing out on what life is about and why we are here and why we are the way we are to read this book. I understand his website to be Give yourself a gift and go there.

  • Daylenej

    Why is Ted Dekker’s BoneMan’s Daughter on this list?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Because it sold well enough to make the list. Do mean, why did it sell that well? I can’t answer that. I haven’t read it.

  • Nikolyn

    who is the best publisher for biography

    • Michael Hyatt

      The one who agrees to publish your book. ;-)

      Seriously, there are probably more than 100 publishers in the U.S. who publish biographies. Look at the biographies you love the most and note who published them.

  • Kennydavies

    Very useful
    Any chance of getting the list for 2011?