How Many Copies of The God Delusion Have Been Sold? February 3, 2010

How Many Copies of The God Delusion Have Been Sold?

A whole bunch, says Richard Dawkins:

As it happens, I have just been sent some recent figures for sales of The God Delusion in English:-

North America 907,161
Rest of World 1,179,241
Total English language 2,086,402


That’s impressive even for bestsellers.

Though, to keep things in perspective, Rick Warren‘s awful The Purpose Driven Life has sold 25 million copies. Or 30 million copies. Or 52 million copies. Whatever it is, it’s a hell of a lot more than Dawkins.

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  • QrazyQat

    Rick Warren’s awful The Purpose Driven Life has sold 25 million copies. Or 30 million copies. Or 52 million copies.

    That would be about 5 for every African Warren has killed with his promotion of his version of AIDS policies. Add in the potential Ungandan gays deaths and he’ll have an even more impressive total. Meanwhile Dawkins has killed how many? Not even close.

  • littlejohn

    Flipper, on the other hand, has had little success with “The Porpoise Driven Life.”

  • Revyloution

    Littlejohn, that was terrible. I loved it.

    Richard Dawkins has one advantage over Rick Warren. All of his books were purchased by people who can read. And actually read books.

  • Delphine

    Considering Sarah Palin was just found to use money donated to her to buy her own books, I wonder how many of “The Purpose Driven Life” was bought by Rick Warren’s church.

  • littlejohn, I was going to rift off of you, but I can’t – you really sealed that joke.

  • Valdyr

    The Purpose-Driven Life has more mass-market appeal by not asking its reader to do anything uncomfortable like think or examine their beliefs critically. It’s also been out for four years longer than The God Delusion and was probably more heavily advertised.

  • James

    Now lets see the stats on how many of each has actually been read.

  • Derek

    haha, I had to buy two copies… I let my friend borrow my first one and he left it at his ex-girlfriend’s house

  • fritzy

    Fuck Rick Warren.

    Ahhh, that felt good! Just felt like saying it and it does seem (slightly) germain to the topic.

    Congrats to Dawkins!

  • littlejohn

    Thank you. I’ll be here all week.
    Tip your veal; enjoy your waitress.

  • Philbert

    Another advantage Warren has is that many churches bulk buy his book.

  • We Are The 801

    “Recapitulate the history of ideas, acts, attitudes and you will find that the future was always on the side of the rabble.” ~ E.M. Cioran

  • Bud

    I’m waiting for Purpose Driven Life to become public domain. I have a wonderful 50 page introduction for it.

  • Twin-Skies


    To give you an idea of where those books went:

    A member of the parent’s council in my sister’s school gave my mom several copies of Warren’s book, with my mom getting around three copies. She has one, and gave one to my dad, and the other to me. I stopped reading after the first chapter, and now I use the book as a support for my wobbly PC table.

    My dad never touched his copy either, and my friends apparently received their own copies of the book, which they haven’t touched as well.

    25 million sounds big…until you realize that one reason is that some misguided schmuck buys them in bulk, distributes them to their local community, and the recipients aren’t even interested in reading it.

  • I think that Twin-Skies hit on the reason for the disparity in sales numbers between the books in question. Over the years I have accumulated numerous tomes of religious idiocy or self-help psychobabble. Not a one of them were purchased by me, but were gifts from well-meaning relatives or friends. None of them were read. All of them were given to me when I was religious.

  • Alpha Bitch

    The churches are buying up lame books to pass out for free? In this economy, with so many people out of work, do they really think this is the best way to “do god’s work?” If they wanted to be good they should have used that money to feed people, or maybe to help pay someone’s rent or mortgage for the month. Purpose driven life my ass. Pimp-us driven life, maybe.

  • I bought and read (and enjoyed) The Reason Driven Life by Robert M. Price who in his book goes through each chapter of Warren’s book and discusses the illogic and phony theology. By buying Price’s book, you can learn what is in Warren’s book without giving any money to Warren (or his causes).

  • Revyloution

    I would love to see a program were copies of the God Delusion were made in bulk and distributed to hotel rooms.

  • Whenever I travel, I leave all my science-themed magazines in the nightstand as a replacement for the Gideon’s bible usually found there. Don’t ask about what I do with the bible, and I won’t tell. 🙂

  • BoomerChick

    I think The Purpose Driven Life had the advantage of the ‘Oprah Effect’.

  • muggle

    So the question isn’t so much how many were sold so much as how many were read?

    I like Revy’s idea but I already donated my copy.

  • JimboB

    Quality (Dawkins) vs Quantity (Warren)

    Dawkins, while lacking in the philosophy department, has lots of scientific substance and gives some wonderful analogies in his book. Warren, on the other hand, offers a vacuous regiment of devotion, prayer, and little else.

  • Well kudos to Dawkins. He finally suckered me in. I bought a paperback copy a few weeks back.

    I’ve only been reading during my morning commute, so I haven’t gotten that far, but I was really disappointed at his definitions of deism and pantheism, and then his choice to not address them (or attempt to discredit them).

  • Tizzle

    I checked out this book on tape at the library, and had to return the first copy, but found later that both copies were scratched. I take that as people are listening to it. Also, there was a short waiting list.

    *Perspective from the poor/broke side of the room

  • Sunioc

    Modern Girl, he probably didn’t bother with Deism or Pantheism because there’s really no point. Deism describes a god who has no effect on the universe, and therefore is irrelevant. Pantheism describes god as the universe as a whole, which just means you’re renaming the universe.

  • It’s true. Sheep do buy more books than freethinkers.

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