In a survey to mark the tenth anniversary of World Book Day, classic literature dominated the list of books people cannot live without, with Pride and Prejudice beating Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy, Lord of the Rings, into second place.

Two of the Brontë sisters appear alongside Charles Dickens and George Orwell, showing that, despite the Richard & Judy factor, the nation’s readers still treasure their classics. "Pride and Prejudice" narrowly topped the survey ahead of "Lord of the Rings" trilogy with a fifth of all participants voting for it. The 10 books the UK can’t live without are:

1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 20%

2. Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien 17%

3. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 14%

4. Harry Potter books J.K. Rowling 12%

5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 9.5%

6. The Bible 9%

7. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 8.5%

8. Nineteen Eighty Four George Orwell 6%

9. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman 6%

10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens 5.5%

Sue Horner, Head of Curriculum Development at QCA (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority), which recently caused controversy by recommending that all Secondary School pupils read the classics, comments: “All these top ten have a timeless quality, whenever they were written. It is likely that many of these books are lasting favourites, first encountered at school.”

Over two thousand people voted online at, and, underlining the long tail phenomenon, 10,000 different books were selected.