chinese-audiobooks

7 Easily Accessible Chinese Audiobook Resources for the Avid Chinese Learner

Had enough of the radio?

Done with being stuck in rush hour traffic with the same top 40 hits?

Do you take daily walks or work out regularly, finding yourself growing bored with the high-energy electronic music?

Or maybe you just want to relax and do absolutely nothing, but you’re not in the mood to waste hours scrolling through Twitter or other social media.

There’s a way to take advantage of this time, especially if you’re trying to learn Mandarin Chinese! Listening to Chinese audiobooks is a great way to naturally integrate learning and make the most use of your time.

And not just audiobooks of novels that have been collecting dust on your bookcase. There are a ton of great audiobooks out there in Mandarin Chinese that can help you become fluent while you’re living your very busy life.

Are audiobooks really worth looking into? Shouldn’t we save “learning time” for when we actually have the time?

Why Should I Use Chinese Audiobooks to Learn Mandarin?

Audiobooks aren’t just great for catching up on books on the go. They’re also great for improving language fluency.

If you’re a beginner, keep an eye out for audiobooks that also feature side-by-side English translations. If you’re an intermediate or advanced learner, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with a more difficult Chinese audiobook.

  • Some are free. While many cost money, you may be surprised by the availability of free Chinese audiobooks. What’s better than free stuff, especially when it comes to resources that help people learn a language? Not much!
  • Reading for leisure is a great way to fit in Mandarin practice. At the gym, in the car, while lounging about—you can enjoy the fact that you are actively improving your Chinese without doing much more than pressing “play.”

Chinese Audiobook Resources and Recommendations to Improve Your Mandarin

Whatever level you’re at, Chinese audiobooks will help you reach the next one. However, using a program like FluentU will get you there faster. FluentU is an online immersion platform that takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

But that’s not all. FluentU also has a unique “learn mode,” where it takes videos and turns them into language learning lessons. “Learn mode” asks questions based on what you know, which sets you up for success.

FluentU is an amazing way to see all that new Chinese vocabulary you’re learning in context. With entertaining, real-life videos, this resource is a great complement to your use of audiobooks.

Now let’s get to those resources!

Audible

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of this massive online audiobook resource site. They collaborate with just about everybody on YouTube, and advertisements for this resource can be found everywhere.

However, the hype is definitely not without merit. Audible has a massive amount of audiobooks and a pretty sizable section of Mandarin Chinese instruction audiobooks, as well as a few Mandarin-language leisure books. The user interface is very simple to use, too. All you need to do is download the app, browse for a book and either buy or rent it. Your audiobook will be ready to listen to immediately.

The app itself costs $14.95, but you can get a free month trial by signing up through Amazon.

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Audiobook recommendations from Audible:

Perapera

Perapera is a language tool resource for Chinese, Korean and Japanese. In addition to this they have quite an expansive list available of audiobooks. And a majority of them are free. (Score!)

Most of these audiobooks come with a transcript in 拼音 (pīn yīn)Chinese romanization, 汉字 (hàn zì)Chinese characters and English. A transcript can make learning Chinese with audiobooks much easier for a beginner. Most of the books they have available are Mandarin version of famous novels from around the world.

Simply click the link to any book that catches your eye. You’ll then be taken to a download page where you can directly save audio files to your smartphone or tablet.

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Audiobook recommendations from Perapera:

  • “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy — This Tolstoy classic is the tragic yet somewhat satirical story of Countess Karenina and a wealthy landowner named Konstantin in two parallel stories that tackle gender, religion, social norms and politics.

ysts8.com

Ysts8.com, which is short for 有声听书吧 (yŏu shēng tīng shū ba) — audiobooks is a Chinese-language audiobook resource site popular in China.

This website is ideal for intermediate to advanced Mandarin learners as their entire website is in hanzi. There are literally thousands of audiobooks on this site, and it appears that a majority of them are free to download. Everything from romance novels to thrillers to comedies can be found here.

To download audiobooks from this website, simply search for the book’s title in hanzi. After that, all you have to do is download the file to your smartphone or tablet and you’re good to go. Keep in mind that you may not find exactly what you’re looking for, but there are definitely many books to browse through before downloading.

Audiobook recommendations from Audiobooks:

Ximalaya

Ximalaya is similar to ysts8.com in that it’s entirely in hanzi and probably not the best audiobook resource for Mandarin newbies.

For intermediate and advanced readers, you can enjoy an equally ample supply of audiobooks that are mostly free of charge. Ximalaya also boasts streaming features for some of its audiobooks, so you don’t even have to download anything! Enjoy audiobook novels, biographies, podcasts, news and much more.

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Audiobook recommendations from Ximalaya:

Innovative Language

Innovative Language also has a handful of useful audio textbooks. If you’re looking for more of a textbook for leisurely learning rather than a novel in the Mandarin language, this resource could prove to be pretty useful.

Downloading these audiobooks is also a simple process. Simply click “More Info” for the textbook of your choice, then “Try It,” then “Buy for 0.00” to download the textbook. They have textbooks for all levels of learning as well.

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Audiobook recommendations from Innovative Language:

tingbook.com

This Chinese-language audiobook resource offers everything from free audiobooks in Mandarin to podcasts. As with some of the sites we’ve mentioned thus far, this website is entirely in Chinese, so it would be much easier to navigate for the intermediate or advanced student.

To download a book from tingbook.com, select the title of your interest. Select 全本下载 (quán běn xià zài) — download, then select the orange 本地下载 (běn dì xià zài) — local download button to download the audiobook.

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Audiobook recommendations from TingBook:

VeryCD

If you’re looking for a website that offers audiobooks for free in addition to dramas, films and 动漫 (dòng màn)anime, then VeryCD is an excellent selection. Keep in mind that the website is only in Chinese.

The one downside to VeryCD is that you must create an account in order to download anything. Once you get past that, downloading audiobooks from here is a breeze. Since VeryCD is such an active site, there are a lot of user comments on just about every audiobook VeryCD provides, so you can check out what others thought of a particular book before downloading.

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Audiobook recommendations from VeryCD:

 

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of these great audiobook resources? Bookmark your favorites, download a few audiobooks to start, press play, lay back and relax.

While learning at the same time, of course.


Emily Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. She writes about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.

And One More Thing…

Since you’ve made it this far, you’re obviously serious about learning Chinese.

FluentU can help.

FluentU lets you learn real Chinese from dramas, TV shows, commercials, music videos and more. It naturally eases you into learning Chinese language, and you’ll learn Chinese as it’s spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos, as you can see here:

FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how they’re used. Tap to add words you’d like to review to a vocab list.

From the description page, you can access interactive transcripts under the Dialogue tab, or review words and phrases under Vocab.

FluentU’s Quiz Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It suggests content and examples based on the words you’re learning. You have a 100% personalized experience.

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.

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