Lord of the Rings Stats

Top Lord of the Rings stats

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy has sold over 150 million books
  • The Lord of the Rings was voted book of the 20th century by Waterstones customers in the UK
  • It was also named the nation’s best-loved novel by the BBC in their “The Big Read” poll of the British public
  • “Tolkienian” and “Tolkienesque” are in the Oxford English Dictionary

Getting Lord of the Rings published

  • Tolkien planned to publish the three books as a single novel
  • ​​Because of paper shortages, it was split into 3 sections, each made up of two “books”
  • It was written between 1937 and 1949 with the majority written during World War II
  • Delays in producing the maps for the appendices led to publication being delayed
  • Tolkien didn’t receive an advance on LOTR but instead agreed to larger royalties on book sales after the book was in profit

Lord of the Rings book sales

The Lord of the Rings series is one of the best-selling book series of all time having sold approximately 150 million books around the world.

Although the Hobbit is technically separate, it is often put together with the Lord of the Rings as they were initially planned as a sequel to The Hobbit.

Initial small sales

  • The first book, The Fellowship of the Rings, was published on 29 July 1954
  • The publishers, Allen & Unwin, printed 3,000 copies
  • The Two Towers was published 11 November 1954 with 3,250 copies
  • Part 3, the Return of the King, was published 20th of October 1955 with 7,000 copies

US sales

  • Houghton Mifflin published 1,500 copies of the Fellowship of the Ring in October 1954
  • On April 21st 1955, they released 1,000 copies of The Two Towers
  • The Return of the King was released on January 5th 1956 with a run of 5,000 copies
  • In the 60s, the books became a culturally popular
  • Due to a perceived copyright loophole, 150,000 unauthorized copies of each book were released in 1965 by an American publisher
  • This led to the first revision of the series in 1965 as a way for Tolkein to renew the copyright over the work
  • An NYT review from 1938 lists the price of The Hobbit as $2.50

All-time sales

  • The LOTR trilogy has sold over 150,000,000 copies
  • The Hobbit has sold over 100,000,000 copies
  • In 2001, 1.6 million copies were sold in anticipation of the first movie being released with sales of up to $70m 
  • The entire Lord of the Rings franchise is thought to be worth  $10-15 billion 
  • Book sales alone are estimated to stand at $2.25 billion

LOTR movie sales and box office success

MovieBox office revenue ($USD)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring$871,530,000
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers$626,050,000
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King$1,120,929,521
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey$1,021,100,000
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug$958,370,000
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies$956,020,000
  • The Tolkien family initially didn’t make any cash directly from the movie deals with Houghton Mifflin having previously bought the rights to the movies 
  • LOTR and the Hobbit are the winningest film series in history, winning 475/800 nominations at awards ceremonies
  • The most Oscars for any film series: winning 17/37 Academy Awards  
  • The Return of the King won 11/11 of the Academy Awards it was nominated for
  • The highest-grossing movie trilogy of all time 
  • The Return of the King made over $1bn at the box office ($1,120,929,521)
  • The Return of the King broke opening-weekend records, and set new single-day records in 13 countries


Tolkien was a language expert and produced a guide to the names in LOTR to help translators do a better job.

The Lord of the Rings has officially been translated into 38 languages:

  • Basque
  • Breton
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese (Simple and Complex)
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Estonian
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Galician
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hebrew
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Marathi
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese (European and Brazilian)
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Thai
  • Turkish

Initial critical reception 

  • C.S. Lewis called the Hobbit “marvellous”
  • Anne T. Eatton of the New York Times said The Hobbit: “one of the most freshly original and delightfully imaginative books for children that have appeared in many a long day.”

LOTR characters and universe

  • Tolkien is known to have created at least 15 languages throughout his life
  • He created languages for Orcs, Dwarfs, Hobbits, Men, Ents and as many as 15 Elvish dialects
  • Two of these languages were developed – Qenya and Sindarin
  • Tolkien created 982 unique characters for LOTR, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion
  • 82% of the characters were male
  • Tolkien created at least 6 unique creatures without simply taking them from elsewhere (Elves, Ents, Giant Spiders, Giant Eagles, Hobbits and Orcs)
  • Tolkien’s world was based on Earth and named Arda. Middle Earth is just a part of Arda rather than Tolkiens whole world.

JRR Tolkien Stats

  • The Tolkien Estate is the legal entity that manages the business of all of JRR Tolkien’s books and everything that has come from them.
  • Christopher Tolkien, Tolkien’s son, was in charge of The Tolkien Estate until 2017
  • He died in 2020 at the age of 95
  • The Tolkien Estate sued New Line Cinema as they were not making any money from the movies, the two parties settled out of court
  • Tolkien died before he completed all his work and his son used his notes to finish and publish it