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  • Most of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales are ironically more popular overseas than his own country, Denmark.
    • The Little Mermaid became more popular in Japan than his own country, Denmark, since Japanese storytellers actually love telling stories about Mermaids.
  • Harry Potter is extremely popular everywhere, with its popularity in the US and Japan rivaling its native UK's and theme parks for it being in both of the former countries.
  • The Land of Stories book series written by Glee’s Chris Colfer is very popular in North America but it seems to be more significantly popular in Japan.
  • The German fairy tale The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids by The Brothers Grimm is very popular in Japan, parts of Asia, Italy, France, Russia, and the Netherlands. While the story is unknown and obscure in other countries (mainly English speaking countries). In Japan, the story has gotten a total of 4 anime adaptations, made between the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s. There was even a children's book made by an unknown Japanese illustrator in the 80s that adapted the tale. In the Netherlands, the story was given its own attraction at the Dutch theme park Efteling. In Efteling's version, one of the goat kids is given a name. The goat kid that is hiding in the clock while the other goats get eaten by the wolf is named "Benjamin". Benjamin is also very popular with child guests that visit the park and shows up in various live shows as a puppet. In 1957, an animated feature film was made in Russia based on the tale, with a few creative liberties since it was made during the Soviet era.
  • The series of children's novels A Series of Unfortunate Events became popular in Canada long before they were in the U.S., and they were significantly more popular there.
  • A historical use would be the immense popularity of the Arabian Nights in Europe and America after they were first translated. While not hugely unpopular in the Middle East, the tales that came into Western knowledge were often not of massive importance and were actually looked down upon at several points in history. The popularity of translations, however, soared through the roof, having a huge influence on European and American writers and accumulating devoted fans and even fan societies.
  • France was the only place where Philip K. Dick achieved much fame as something more than a cult writer, until the last few years of his life. Possibly because the themes of his stories tended to dovetail with the ideas of then-current French postmodernist philosophy.
  • George Orwell is still moderately respected and read in his native Britain, but fittingly, his works have became very popular in Burma (where he served as a civil servant with the British Imperial Police) Eastern European nations and especially Spain (where he fought for the Republicans against the Nationalists during the country’s civil war). The latter got to a point where a street near the trenches he fought in was named after him not too long ago, with his adopted son present at the ceremony.
  • Stanisław Lem is hugely popular in German intellectualist circles and his works are even part of many philosophy lessons at universities.
  • Enid Blyton's "St Clares" series is hugely popular in Germany and has spawned TWENTY-ONE ghostwritten sequels which were published under the name Enid Blyton, as well as three movies. Mallory Towers is also extremely popular and has 12 ghostwritten sequels.
    • The Famous Five is also popular in both Germany and France. There are ghostwritten sequels exclusive to both languages as well as a number of German film adaptions of the books. The original TV series was also co-produced with a German company.
  • The Noddy series (another Enid Blyton creation) is huge in France, where it's known as Oui-Oui. The country got a lot of merchandise and the various incarnations of the show air multiple times a day. There was actually two musical live shows based on Noddy In Toyland exclusively shown in France with the first being "Oui-Oui et le cadeau Suprise" ("Noddy And The Surprise Gift") from 2009 (to celebrate the character's 60th Anniversary) complete with it's own album. The second was from 2013 called "Oui-Oui Et Le Grand Carnaval" ("Noddy And The Big Carnaval") which also gained an album in France. The most recent incarnation of the show, Noddy: Toyland Detective, was actually co-produced in France and aired there before other parts of the world due to Noddy's massive popularity there. Noddy is so big there that it has beaten home-grown productions like Babar and Asterix in polls with parent and toddler participants in France. The original books sell about 600,000 copies annually in that country.
  • Jennings, a series of humorous English children's books set in a boarding school, were fairly successful in their native country but were (and are) overshadowed by the more famous Just William stories by Richmal Crompton. They became hugely popular in Norway under the name Stompa. The Norwegian translations of the books spawned four feature films and a radio sitcom series in the fifties and sixties. Reruns of the radio episodes are still being broadcast regularly, by popular demand.
  • Given that there's been manga, anime and video game adaptations of the Australian fantasy book series Deltora Quest, it must be mighty popular in Japan.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • It became extremely popular in Sweden in the 1970s; so much that their national non-commercial TV made a film of the first half of Fellowship of the Ring (it was pretty bad, suffering from too much cheap blue-screen technology). Interestingly, the trilogy had already been translated in 1958 but spent the 1960s in relative obscurity — the infamously botched job Åke Ohlmarks did probably didn't help.
    • It became insanely popular in the late 90s in Russia, spurring a huge fan subculture and lots of fanfics, several of which were printed. Nick Perumov, for example, debuted with one of those. Although this subculture has mostly faded through the last decade, Tolkien-themed LARPs are still among those with the most participants.
    • Rather weirdly, the series (both Peter Jackson films and the books) enjoyed brief popularity in Romania during the early 2000s (while helped by a stroke of luck to arrive at the right moment when fantasy video games like Warcraft were just at the pinnacle of their popularity) and they were absolutely forgotten immediately after 2006. Eliminated from the public life for good. No fan works, no blog posts, no comments, no jokes, no puns, no quotations. Wiped out like they never existed in the first place.
  • The Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables is very popular in Japan. There's even an anime based on it. The touristy areas of the real province of Prince Edward Island tend to have signs written in Japanese underneath English ones, also.
  • The Irish novelist Daren O'Shaughnessy AKA Darren Shan's horror works are apparently popular amongst female Japanese teenagers. Go figure. His vampire series even had a manga adaptation.
  • How Steel Was Tempered, a classic example of Socialist Realism, was removed from school syllabi as soon as the USSR kicked the bucket and quickly became passe in Russia. In China, it is still popular enough to warrant a miniseries (!).
  • Jack London, for obvious reasons, was practically a hero in the Eastern Bloc and his popularity peaked during the Cold War. There is even a lake named after him since 1932 in the Russian Far East.
  • Frances Gordon (calling herself 'Bridget Wood') wrote a series of fantasy novels about psychic Celts and animal rape. It's mostly porn, gore and Gorn with a generous helping of bestiality. In the Netherlands, the (badly) translated books were marketed as YA and became one of the most popular fantasy series for teens for a while. Gordon even dedicated one of the books to her teenaged Dutch readers at one point.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Warriors seems to be much more popular in America than in its authors' home country of Britain, though that may be because the publisher is based in the US.
    • There have actually been more books released in foreign languages than there have in the British editions.
    • The books are quite popular in Taiwan, which translates the books rather quickly - the books come with trading cards there, and there's an official fanclub, which gives them exclusive merchandise such as mugs.
    • The series is also pretty popular in Germany, which has an official message board, is also translating the books at a rapid pace, has audiobooks, and is the only country outside the US (not counting a single day-long event in the UK) that has had the author tour there.
    • After Nowa Baśń began publishing the series there in 2015, Warriors has found a large audience in Poland. It's so popular there that the Polish editions of the books have specially-illustrated covers that are regarded as being better than the American ones.
  • Frank McCourt's autobiography Angela's Ashes was better received in America (where it won a Pulitzer) than in Ireland, undoubtedly due to its less than glowing depiction of Limerick. Ironically, much of its international popularity was likely thanks to the late 90s surge in Hibernophilia.
  • Austrian author Thomas Brezina is quite well known in his home country, but extremely popular in China (especially The Tiger Team), where he managed not only to get into the Top 10, but at some point was the Top Ten — yep, all of the ten most popular books were his ones.
  • Israeli humourist Ephraim Kishon, while relatively well known in his home country, was (and to some extent still is) a huge name in Germany.
  • Czech writer Milan Kundera is hugely popular in Mexican intellectual circles. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is rather common in some high school curricula over there. However, he is also hugely popular, widely discussed and part of high school curricula in the Czech Republic. A scandal revealing his collaboration with the communist regime's secret police before he emigrated somewhat destroyed his reputation, though.
  • British writer Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series is popular in the United States (in a similar manner to the James Bond books as Alex Rider is basically a teen Bond) despite its British context, and spawned many imitations by writers from America and other countries.
  • In 1872, a British author named "Ouida" (Marie Louise de la Ramee) published a book called A Dog of Flanders. It's a sentimental Tear Jerker set in impoverished rural Flanders about a boy and his dog. It faded from memory rather fast and is now quite obscure in the Western world... but a Japanese diplomat loved it, brought it back to his home country, and now it's considered a classic of Western children's literature there. The novel even draws Japanese tourists to Belgium, and the city of Antwerp in particular, where they are moved to tears by the cathedral (it has to do with the notorious Downer Ending), leading Belgians to wonder what the heck is going on. Like Anne of Green Gables, the novels popularity among the Japanese has led to the production of not one, but THREE anime adaptations (one 52 episode anime, one 26 episode anime, and a movie)! This also fits under "Anime and Manga," since the anime adaptations are part of the reason the story is so popular. Heck, it's had fans since 1908.
  • France really loves Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos (and other similar authors, to a degree). A 3-Door Stopper omnibus of his entire collected writings is perrennially reprinted since the 80s at least, and at any one time several publishers have a number of short story collections in print; for at least a decade (before Lovecraft's renewed popularity and the advent of Project Gutenberg) it was easier to find his books in French bookstores than in American ones. There's even a publisher, Nouvelles editions Oswald (NeO for short), specializing in late 19th/early-to-mid 20th century pulp authors, which runs collections of the works of Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard (also Lord Dunsany and Edgar Rice Burroughs) that are long out of print (or rarely reprinted) in English. Strangely enough, this can be at least partly traced to the high popularity of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing in the hexagon (see the Tabletop Games section), which made French geeks curious about the rest of Anglo-Saxon pulp literature.
    • In Spain and Latin America The Myths of Cthulhu are still very popular, and lovecraft novels and comics in Spanish continue to appear. Not only Lovecraft, but also other writers like Robert Bloch or August Derleth are still read and occasionally reissued.
  • Edgar Allan Poe has traditionally also been very popular in France, where he was taken seriously as a writer much earlier than in America. What their love for American horror writers says about the French is a topic for another day. His poetry was translated by Charles Baudelaire, one of their most eminent poets at a time when he was forgotten in America. Of course, he eventually achieved widespread popularity in both countries (and elsewhere), but only after his death. Poe's international fame even reached Russia, where Fyodor Dostoevsky (who as a Great Russian hated the West, and that included America), admired his writing and praised him as a great talent.
  • Kate DiCamillo's children's novel The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane was elevated to bestseller status in South Korea. This elevation was helped by the K-drama My Love From Another Star, in which an ageless Human Alien identifies with the book's protagonist.
  • The Australian novel Tomorrow, When the War Began was selected by the Swedish government in 2000 as one of the books most likely to inspire a love of reading in young people, and financed its translation and distribution to every school-age child in Sweden. This trope was likewise inverted with the cold reception that the books received when they were released in America.
  • German philosopher Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West is popular among a small group of people (but consider that nowadays few people read Spengler in general) in Russia who like him because he predicted that in the future, a new culture might develop in Russia and bring the country (probably) to greatness.
  • Les Misérables was extremely popular among Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, due to their identifying with the book's doomed rebellion. Some even took to calling themselves "Lee's Miserables". It's unknown if Victor Hugo knew about it, but if he did he would likely be aghast since he was a vocal abolitionist, a supporter of the Union, and who had a written a letter to the American Government in support of John Brown's actions in Harper's Ferry.
  • Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is quite popular in most places that are not Brazil.
  • In America and Britain 'The Second Coming' is by far the most famous work by William Butler Yeats. In his native Ireland it is no more famous than any of his other poems (possibly less so in fact as poems like 'Easter 1916' are more likely to be studied in school due to their historical content.)
  • The Moomin series, written by Finnish author Tove Jansson, is highly popular in Japan, and has had several anime adaptations there. It is also a staple of children's reading in Russia.
  • The self-help book The Servant is hugely popular in Brazil. In the US, it sold 200.000, but in Brazil it sold 2.4 millions and it was in best-seller lists for at least two years.
  • Gone with the Wind (the book version; the movie is banned) has found a huge, huge audience in North Korea. Apparently, it's because North Koreans can relate to the themes of struggling to survive in the face of war, hunger, and deprivation. It also became very popular in post-World War II Japan.
  • James Fenimore Cooper, not least due to Mark Twain repeatedly panning him, has somewhat gone out of fashion in his native United States, but in Europe he still is regarded as one of the more important American authors. In the former Eastern bloc, academic study of American Lit contained and contains an amount of analysis and teaching about Cooper that astonishes many Americans. During his lifetime, Cooper was lionized in France (where he e. g. wrote The Last of the Mohicans) and had a huge influence on European and specifically French writers, e. g. Balzac and Dumas Père.
  • David Gordon, a pretty unknown American writer, wrote a book called The Serialist in 2010. After a Japanese translation came out, he started winning Japanese literary awards. It became the #1 best-selling book there, titled "Niryuu Shousetsuka'', which means "Second-Rate Novelist". It got so big that they even made a movie adaptation. They invited him over for the screening and he was mobbed. He became so popular, that his Japanese publishers released the Japanese translation of his next book a month before its planned English release date. Supposedly, he became popular because of the book's perspective on women. The best part is, he was already an otaku!
  • The Percy Jackson-verse, especially with the Sequel Series The Heroes of Olympus, has proven to be extremely popular in Brazil.
  • Norman Spinrad's Little Heroes got a brief surge of popularity in the early 1990s in Romania among teenagers and youngsters. In the bleak atmosphere of poverty after the fall of Communism, the appearance of the computer, Internet and video games and their reject by the older generation, they found a version of the reality and near future they could relate to.
  • The works of Irish author James Joyce, weirdly enough, are quite popular in China. Notably a translation of Finnegans Wake, a book that for many native English speakers might as well have been written in Chinese anyway, wound up selling out in no time flat. Joyce in his lifetime was quite controversial in Ireland at least until the '30s or so, and he was far more respected in Continental Europe and America.
  • The Vampire Academy books have a huge fan base in Australia.
  • The Nordic Noir genre is huge in Britain and Germany.
  • American series A Song of Ice and Fire is very popular in Europe, especially Britain. This is largely due to being based in fantasy, which as a whole is more popular in Europe than the US. This may be one of the reasons why Europeans dominate the casting in its adaptation Game of Thrones, which is also an American-made franchise.
  • In contrast to publishers in the US and the UK, German publishers will often promote Australian books of various genres as Australian, relying on ‘brand Australia’ to create interest amongst German readers. This goes as far as the promotion of Australian literature as ‘quality literature’. Since the early 1980s, Australian romance authors writing about romance and love affairs in beautiful settings have been the most popular and economically successful of Australian authors translated into German. Catherine Gaskin, Colleen McCullough and Tamara McKinley are examples of this. (An article available on the National Library of Australia website thoroughly analyses this phenomenon.)
  • The Three Investigators proved to be so popular in Germany that it was continued by a team of German authors long after end of the original American series. As of 2020, the German Three Investigators series comprises more than 200 novels, some of which have even been translated to English.
  • The English comedic novel "Three Men in a Boat" was so popular in Russia that it became a standard part of the school curriculum even after the Soviets took over. It's popularity remained high enough that it was adapted for Soviet television - a rarity for a work by a western author.
  • As noted in the movie section, the Italian novel series Fantozzi (detailing the struggles and misadventures of an Italian salaryman, brought Up to Eleven for comedic purposed) and the movies adapted from it are wildly popular in the former Soviet Union since the Cold War. Rather notable both for the timing and for using The Battleship Potemkin for a massive Take That! to wannabe intellectuals.
  • Books by Astrid Lindgren, a Swedish children's writer, are a staple children's read in Russia. In fact, Russia (as noted by The Other Wiki) is the second largest producer of movies based off her works.
  • French weird fiction writer Serge Brussolo enjoyed great popularity in Romania during the 1990s and his books are in print there ever since.
  • While Harry Harrison is fairly well-known in certain sci-fi circles in the US, he is much more well-known (even today) in Russian-speaking countries. There are even unauthorized sequels to some of his series being published by Russian authors that are never translated into English.
  • Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter is not only well-known in the United Kingdom, but is also very beloved in the United States and Canada since a couple animated adaptations of the story were mostly made in the US over the past few decades while the UK made two animated adaptations. Even a musical adaptation was created in the US in 1991 as part of the HBO Family series HBO Storybook Musicals, which still airs on the channel to this day.
    • Peter Rabbit is also intensely popular in Japan, with around 15,000 Japanese tourists traveling each year to Potter's home all the way in England. In Japan, he's plastered all over baby goods and other products, but is still seen as acceptable for adults - illustrated in the fact that the Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking company has used him as a mascot for over 25 years, and has a 10 foot mural of the story in one of their buildings! However, he's very much perceived as a cute mascot character, with not many having actually read the story; some are "shocked" at reading how Peter's father was baked into a pie. Along those lines, not many of her other stories and characters are as well-known in Japan (or the U.S., for that matter).
  • While Maya the Bee is very well-known in Europe (it is very popular in Italy, Spain, Germany and Belgium), it is popular enough in Poland that a Polish singing group called "Akcent" made a song based around the Maya and her friends. The group would commonly play this song at popular teenage/adults clubs in Poland.
  • Shakespeare is and has almost always been a beloved poet and playwright in his native England, but German Shakespeare-craziness may be even more insane. None other than Goethe (pretty much the most well known German writer of all time) called Shakespeare the greatest genius in ever. Some say of the most famous translation of Shakespeare into German, that it actually improves upon the original. No theater in a major city can go without having Shakespeare on at least once every couple of years, and many replace a Shakespeare piece with a new Shakespeare piece when changing from season to season. The joke of Klingons considering their "Klingon original" better than the English version may or may not be an allusion to Shakespeare's popularity in Germany.
  • After Man: A Zoology of the Future was such a hit in Japan that it inspired a cartoon and a TV puppet show series.
  • Spanish people wishing to read about the Spanish Civil War often prefer to read books written by foreigners, who are seen as less likely to be biased. One particularly notable example is The Battle for Spain (2006) by Antony Beevor. The Spanish edition was longer than the English edition, and was published earlier.
  • Heidi:
    • Heidi has an equally classic status in Germany as in its native Switzerland. It is also well-loved in Japan, due to the exoticness of the setting to them and the representation of the innocence of childhood. It is similarly huge in Italy, it's the third-best selling book of all time there with over fifty million copies sold ("only the Bible and Quran could do better").
    • It (at least) was pretty popular in the United States, too; why else would many of its adaptations (including from 1937, 1969, 1995 and 2005) and its two sequel novels come from there?
  • The entire genre of Western has at the very least undergone significant Popularity Polynomial in its native US, but in Germany it gained popularity with the above-mentioned Fennymore Cooper, who influenced Karl May to a big degree who in turn continued to be so popular that both Nazi Germany and East Germany could not get rid of his books and the Easterners even felt compelled to make their own DEFA Westerns. A made for TV Karl May film hit the screens as late as Christmas 2016 and some stages doing nothing but Western shows are going into their sixtieth season in Germany.
  • Somewhat similarly, the Swedish Pettson and Findus is especially popular in Germany, even getting one of its adaptiations (the live-action-CGI "Fun Stuff") co-produced there, including writing and the first acting (Sweden and the rest of the countries that got the movie dubbed the voices over in their versions).
  • Mr. Men has quite a cult following in France. They are one of the only countries to get both of the animated adaptations, and even got exclusive books that were never released anywhere else (except Greece)!
  • The Little Prince is extremely popular in Argentina. Every newsstand and supermarket has copies of "El Principito" for sale- even though it was released many decades ago.
  • The Danish author Karl Gjellerup won the Nobel Prize in 1917, but was never much read in his home country and almost forgotten after his death. However, one of his books, The Pilgrim Kamanita, later became very popular in Thailand, and was part of school curriculum for many years.
  • Uncle Remus stories by Joel Harris are a beloved children’s classic in Russia, since the slavery controversy isn’t so well-known even to the older readers, let alone the younger ones (and the text implies slavery rather than tells of it straight, leading to many readers unfamiliar with the context to believe Uncle Remus simply a neighbor of Joel’s). “Br’er Fox, don’t throw me into the into this thorn-bush” is particularly a well-known meme.
  • The character Arsène Lupin is an incredibly popular figure in Japan, so much so that a ton of modern Japanese media references him, not the least being a whole manga about his grandson.
  • The Australian children's chapter book series, The Bad Guys, is extremely popular in the United States. The series quickly landed on the New York Time's best seller list, and is prepped for a movie adaptation by DreamWorks Animation.
  • Mayne Reid’s novels (especially The Headless Horseman and The Quadroon) have always been extremely popular in Russia (Vladimir Nabokov, for instance, admitted to being a fan). Reid is one of the few authors that have remained well-liked in the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and afterwards as well.
  • The Thousand and One Nights were mostly dismissed by Middle Eastern scholars. In the early 18th century they were translated into French by Antoine Galland, then later various other European languages, which opened the floodgates for multiple generations of Europeans to become obsessed with the setting in a way that, in hindsight, strongly resembles the Otaku of today.
  • Literally a Big in Japan example, Don Quixote is very popular and loved in Japan, having their own anime adaptation (Zukkoke Knight - Don De La Mancha in 1980), being considered the Ur-Example for Japanese syndrome Chuunibyou and even having a discount chain store (the biggest of Japan with some stores in Asia and Hawaii) named after him.
  • Olivia (1949) became a hit in Britain and many other countries, but had a more lukewarm reception in France.
  • While Winnie-the-Pooh is a British children's storybook staple, it became huge in the United States after Disney made a series of featurettes, and later a movie, out of the franchise. Notably, Winnie The Pooh one of Disney's major Cash Cow Franchises.
  • Gulliver's Travels, written by Irish author Jonathan Swift, is published all over the world, but while everyone's heard of Lilliput, the only country where Laputa has earned similar fame is Japan, mostly because of Castle in the Sky. There was even a Japanese rock band named after the flying island.
  • While remaining as a recognized children's writer in his native Italy, Gianni Rodari had a strong following in the Soviet Union - it helped that Rodari visited the Soviet country numerous times and was a member of the Italian Communist Party. Some of his poems introduced to the school curricula while his fairy tale Le avventure di Cipollino had several Soviet live-action and cartoon adaptations, in one of which Rodari played the storyteller.
  • A disproportionately high number of Redwall fan artists and/or fanfic writers are from the United States or Russia. Case in point: Brian Jacques made quite a few visits to the States during book tours, and Russia was one of the few countries that got a dub of the Nelvana cartoon.
  • You Xian Ku, a short Chinese history written in the eighth century, is usually considered the first romance fiction in China. However, its is far more popular in Japan. During the author's lifetime, it's been reported Japanese envoys have been trying to buy every copy of the book they can get their hands on, and is highly inflential in the development of Japanese literature. At home it fell into obsurity owing of the increasingly puritanian taste of Chinese readers; they saw it as Purple Prose erotica. It's at a point that it needs to be re-introduced into China in the twentieth century.
  • Dougal Dixon's After Man: A Zoology of the Future is extremely popular in Japan due to their unusual fascination with Speculative Biology. They even made an Animated Adaptation of it! Its Spiritual Successor The Future Is Wild has had similar success in Japan (minus the cartoon adaptation).

     In-Universe Examples 
  • Briefly discussed in the first Billy Chaka book, Tokyo Suckerpunch, when Billy catches part of the latest single from an American band (so he assures the reader) called "Boring Toaster" on the radio.
  • In a novel in the men's adventure series The Destroyer, the French love Jerry Lewis as much as they hate America. And they hate America.
  • In-universe, Rowling notes that Harry Potter wizards from all over the world love Scottish rugby. This was thanks to the autobiography of a Squib, who joined the Scottish rugby team, which was translated into many different languages and sold around the world, as well as it being much more brutal and fun to watch than sports like cricket. It's apparently become an in-joke among wizards to talk about Scottish rugby to identify one another, and wizards, regardless of nationality, root for Scotland in any international tournaments.
  • In Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries series, the character Lilly's TV series has a huge following in South Korea, even though it's broadcast on community stations where she lives.


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