Our rankings of the greatest books are derived from a variety of credible lists, each given a weight based on its quality and influence.

We start with an ideal 'weight' of 150 for a perfect list. This weight can be reduced based on factors like the list's credibility and its alignment with other reputable lists. Weights can go as low as 1 for lists with minimal influence.

Books that appear on multiple lists gain more points due to their consensus value. However, we also give credit to books that make it to a single high-quality list, ensuring a balanced and fair ranking.

Below are the primary criteria for calculating the weight of a list.

  1. List: contains over 500 books(Quantity over Quality): -10
  2. List: Creator of the list, sells the books on the list: -40
  3. List: criteria is not just "best/favorite": -20
  4. List: is a follow up/honorable mention to a different list: -10
  5. List: only covers 100 years: -10
  6. List: only covers 10 years: -100
  7. List: only covers 1 specific city: -90
  8. List: only covers 1 specific continent: -50
  9. List: only covers 1 specific country: -60
  10. List: only covers 1 specific gender: -50
  11. List: only covers 1 specific genre: -80
  12. List: only covers 1 specific language: -20
  13. List: only covers 1 specific large geographical region (Asia, Latin America, etc): -40
  14. List: only covers 1 specific small geographical region (Southern United States, etc): -70
  15. List: only covers 1 specific state of a country: -80
  16. List: only covers 1 year (yearly book awards, best of the year, etc): -140
  17. List: only covers 25 years: -70
  18. List: only covers 50 years: -30
  19. List: only covers 5 years: -120
  20. List: only covers 75 years: -20
  21. List: only covers a few specific genres: -70
  22. List: only covers genre fiction(multiple genres): -20
  23. List: only covers mostly "Western Canon" books: -20
  24. List: only covers translated or foreign books than where voters are from: -20
  25. List: only covers very niche books: -90
  26. List: only partially covers 1 specific country: -30
  27. List: seems biased towards newer, more modern books but not specified: -30
  28. Voters: 1 person voted: -115
  29. Voters: 2 people voted: -85
  30. Voters: 3-5 people voted: -60
  31. Voters: 6-10 people voted: -30
  32. Voters: are mostly from a single country/location: -20
  33. Voters: diversity of voters is very low: -10
  34. Voters: half the voters are not critics, authors, or experts: -35
  35. Voters: not critics, authors, or experts: -90
  36. Voters: not critics, authors, or experts, but the books on the list were curated by critics/experts: -45
  37. Voters: no voter information: -115
  38. Voters: restricted to a distinct criteria(race, gender, etc): -20
  39. Voters: specific voter details are lacking: -40
  40. Voters: Voters seem to have an agenda/bias of some kind: -20

I am always looking for ways to improve the accuracy of the list as well as looking for new lists that I might have missed. Please do not hesitate to e-mail me your thoughts.

Archived Lists

If you would like to see older archived versions of our rankings that will not change, you can view them here.

Primary List

Our primary list of The Greatest Books of All Time, determined by aggregating 268 lists, can be found here.

Ranking Algorithm

I have opensourced my algorithm used to calculate the rank of books. I am always looking for ideas on how to improving the site and how I calculate the rankings. You can see the source code here: here