Top 20 Facts – The Best Facts about Books

Top 20 Book Facts

Do you want to know the most interesting book facts?

I think it’s a safe fact to say that most people enjoy snuggling up with a good book in front of the fire on a grizzly day. It sounds like a perfect day to us and probably one for most of you readers.

Books give you a chance to drift off from the world and join another, so it’s no wonder that the average person will read around 4 books a year.

Since we share the love of books with many others we decided to look at books a little further, in particular, book facts and all things interesting about books and the many facts that go with them.

We have come up with a fantastic compilation of funny, unusual and exciting facts about books.

You’ll be surprised how many wonderful facts there are about books, we have learnt a lot.

Here we have decided to choose the top 20 most fascinating facts about books, which you can share and compare with your book-loving friends!

In no particular order, here are the most amazing facts about the books we found.

1. Did you know, the fear of running out of something to read is called Abibliophobia.

Word Nerd: Abibliophobia | Word nerd, Words, Unusual words

via Pinterest

You really don’t have to worry about this fact. With all the different reading material in the world, I doubt this is even possible.

2. The world’s smallest book is Teeny Ted from Turnip Town.

Book Facts - Smallest Book

This book is now the worlds smallest and it is verified by The Guiness Book of Records.  The book is in production and measures 100 micrometres by 70 micrometres. It has an ISBN number too – 978-1-894897-17-4.

3. There are four law books bound in human skin at the Harvard University Library.

Harvard Book Made of Human Skin Debunked

This is a very interesting fact. Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the term given to binding books in human skin. There are actually several books known to be bound in human skin. Interestingly it was mainly doctors who bound these books. There are also several books bound in animal skin.

4.  Fact has it that former American President Theodore Roosevelt read one book a day.

Theodore Roosevelt | Library of America

An interesting fact for sure, with todays distractions we would find it difficult to read this much. There are plenty of people that read a lot of books in a week but one day is an achievement. The fact is, reading every day can reduce your stress levels and help with depression.

5. People say the longest sentence to ever be printed in literature belongs to Victor Hugo. The claim is that in Les Misérables there is a sentence which is 823 words long.

Believe it or not….let's be skeptical…Les Misérables | Yankee Skeptic

This is the longest fact we have on our list. I don’t think a blog post would work very well with sentences this long. We actually managed to find a version of the sentence, the one we found is 805 words. You can read it here – Longest Sentence.

6. 1 in 5 adults around the world cannot read or write.

This fact is a little sad. In the western world, we take for granted our education system and sometimes forget about the people in the less privileged parts of the world.

This fact has lead us on to find out about School Aid. They are a charity providing sustainable literacy development for children and young people in Africa. If you have a spare few minutes give their website a read.

7. Up to 50 books can be made from 1 tree.

Books Tree Stock Illustrations – 3,373 Books Tree Stock Illustrations, Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

We love this fact. Being sustainable is a massive part of our day-to-day lives and being able to make up to 50 books from one tree is fantastic especially with printing companies using fully sustainable paper. Also a new movement on youtube is trying to plant 20 million trees.

8. Copies of pulped Mills and Boon novels were used to build part of the M6 toll road.

The Mills & Boon Motorway

The M6 toll road is in Birmingham, UK. It is 26 miles of a 6 lane motorway. 2.5 million copies of Mills and Boon novels were acquired and then pulped at a recycling firm in South Wales, UK. They were used in the top layer of the motorway.

9. The most expensive book in the world is Codex Leicester by Leonardo Da Vinci. It was purchased by Bill Gates for 30.8 million dollars.

In Leonardo da Vinci's Scientific Notebook, the Mind of a Genius at Work - The New York Times

This is the most expensive book fact in the world.

Bill Gates purchased the Codex Leicester in 1994 for $30.8 million. When you add inflation to that the book would cost $53.3 million. If Bill Gates were to sell this book today we reckon the book would sell for a lot more.

10. In America, the most banned books are Harry Potter. The apparent reasons are because they promote witchcraft, they set bad examples and are too dark.

Harry Potter Box Set: The Complete Collection | The Works

Harry Potter Series

Most of the books have been banned in catholic schools as they contain ‘real’ spells. It is also said that the Harry Potter series presents witchcraft and wizardry in a good light which is simply not true.

I have yet to be able to use a spell successfully, perhaps it’s my technique?


11. To write a novel, it takes around 475 hours.



This fact about novel-length is argued quite a lot over the internet. Writing the actual novel probably can be completed within 475 hours. The average novel is 90,000 words which mean writing 189 words an hour. Most people can achieve this.

However, writing a novel is not just about putting words on some paper. There is much more to a novel than 189 words an hour. All the research that goes into a novel could easily add another 475 hours to this time.

12. The Holy Bible, Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung and Harry Potter are the 3 most read books in the world.

Who, What, Why: What is the Little Red Book? - BBC News

It is not surprising to see the holy bible and quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung top this list but Harry Potter? Well, the total number of Harry Potter books sold worldwide is close to 400 million. That is almost 1 Harry Potter book for every 17.5 people on earth.

13. A study found that you are 2 ½ times less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in later life if you read regularly.


Keep Reading to Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay

It’s impossible to argue the many benefits of reading. This fact is quite amazing and one that many people should think about.

“Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as these across a person’s lifetime, from childhood through old age, is important for brain health in old age,” – Robert S. Wilson, at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago

14. Mark Twain’s, Adventure of Tom Sawyer is said to be the first novel written on a typewriter.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Complete

Mark Twain Wrote the First Book Ever

Mark Twain wrote ‘The Adventure’s of Tom Sawyer’ in 1875 and it was published the following year, 1876. Mark Twain was not a fan of the typewriter when he first used it though.

In fact, he gave away the typewriter when he was writing ‘The Adventure’s of Tom Sawyer’ twice. Both times it returned to him.

15. There is an actual word for loving the smell of old books, it’s Bibliosmia.

On the Science of Bibliosmia: That Enticing Book Smell – Interesting Literature



This interesting fact is for the reading addicts. Has there been a time when someone has asked you if you prefer paperback or hardback books over eBooks? Maybe there were several times when you were asked this question and you responded about how you disliked eBooks? Quite often people say they prefer paperback and hardback books but are not able to give an exact reason. Could this be that reason?

16. The author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie gave the rights of this book to Great Ormond Street Hospital


Peter Pan (Harper Design Classics)

Great Ormond Street Hospital

J.M Barrie, gave one of the greatest gifts to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for which the hospital is still receiving royalties to this day. Giving the rights to this hospital helped fund it and provides an ongoing income to benefit the many lives that the hospital saves.

17. On estimate, there are over 900,000 new books published each year.

Number of books published per year per capita by country in Europe

This fact is quite hard to get an exact number. In all honesty, this number is probably closer to well over 1,000,000 books published a year as some of the figures are slightly out of date. China leads this fact with over 440,000, the USA in second place at over 300,000 and the UK in third with over 184,000.

We would like to see the statistics amazon has on this fact.

18. The earliest known written existence of the word ‘book’ is in a book by Alfred the Great.

Alfred the Great (871-899) – Great Books Guy

Books were not called books until a long time after they were actually books! Confused? Well if you want to delve deeper into this story then have a look at our blog post on the History of Books.

19. Lord of the Ring author, J.R.R Tolkien typed the whole trilogy with just two fingers!

Lord of the Rings" J.R.R. Tolkien typewriter quote on 5 x 7 cardstock from Etsy | Typewriter quotes, Words, Book quotes


The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings Boxed Set

LOTR was Typed with just two fingers

J.R.R Tolkien said writing the trilogy was ‘Exhausting’. That is no surprise. The Lord of The Rings trilogy is over 1200 pages. Tolkien said the only way he learned to type was with just two fingers.

20. In Sydney, 2012 a record was made for the most people to balance books on their head

Balance book on head Stock Photos - Page 1 : Masterfile

998 people balance books on their heads

In November of 2012, 998 people set a world record for balancing books on their head. The event was organised by Danielle Di-Masi.

We hope you have enjoyed our list of the Top 20 Book Facts. We certainly had fun researching and writing for this post. If you have any interesting facts about books that we have missed be sure to let us know so we can update these facts.

About Jamie Rand

I'm the Business Development Manager at Imprint Digital, a leading book printing company. This blog is where I share insights and strategies from my journey, offering advice for everyone in the publishing and printing industry.