The Most Useful German Audio Books for Learners and Where to Find Them
Are you looking for some fascinating German audio books?
We know exactly where to find the best audiobooks to learn German, and we have five specific audiobook recommendations that we think you’ll love.
Ready to find out how audiobook learning can improve your German?
- Our 5 Favorite Audio Books for German Learners
- Where to Find German Audiobooks
- How to Learn German with Audiobooks
- Why Learn German with Audiobooks?
Our 5 Favorite Audio Books for German Learners
Now that you know just how great German audiobooks are, it’s time to download some! Here are some German audiobooks that are really worth plugging into:
“Der Wald” (“The Forest”)
“Der Wald” is part of a series of books aimed at young native speakers of German learning to read their own language. Now it’s also available in an audiobook format. This is a great option for any beginner German learners.
As the book is aimed at very young children, you’ll find that it uses very simple vocabulary and sentence structures. Check for the audio version of “Der Wald” on Amazon and Thalia.
The “Harry Potter” Series
J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series was popular in Germany, too. That means you’ll have no problems when it comes to sourcing some Harry Potter audiobooks.
Amazon.de is a great place to look, as they may have deals on offer. Thalia and Audible may also house the Harry Potter audiobooks. As all the books in the series are YA, these are very useful for beginner and intermediate level learners. They’ll be challenging but not too difficult to listen to! It’s also worth watching the films to complement your audiobook listening.
“Die Verwandlung” (“The Metamorphosis”)
Franz Kafka’s short novel is one of the most famous in German literature. The book is often used in German and literature classes, so you’ll be able to find lots of resources to help you with it.
As the book is now over a hundred years old, the language used gives you a great glimpse into how language was used in the past, which should give you an idea of how the language has developed over the decades. By looking at this and understanding German’s development over time, you should get a better grasp of how modern German works.
This audiobook is more suitable for intermediate and advanced learners, as some of the vocabulary and grammar structures may be more difficult to understand at first. Along with the free YouTube version above, you can also check for the audiobook version at the likes of Amazon.de and Audible.
“Sturmhöhe” (“Wuthering Heights”)
Another really well-known novel, “Wuthering Heights” is by British author Emily Brontë, and there’s a good chance that you’ll have seen one of the recent movie or TV adaptations.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the plot of this book before you launch yourself into the translated audiobook version. It’s quite complex, and as the book is over 150 years old, you’ll find that the German used is more dated than that in “Die Verwandlung.”
Challenging yourself with old German is a great way to improve your language skills as it gives you a broader view of the German language and its history. Plus, you’ll find that there are still a few old German terms and sentence structures used in legal German. Making yourself familiar with them will really help your fluency if you ever need to deal with German in a legal situation.
This is a great audiobook choice for those with advanced level German.
“Der Sandmann” (“The Sandman”)
“The Sandman” is a short story written by E.T.A. Hoffmann, who’s considered to be one of the greats of German literature. This one is suitable for intermediate and advanced German learners. This is another German book that’s widely taught in schools and colleges (in its German and English versions), so you’ll be able to easily find resources to help you understand the story.
You’ll also find that older texts, such as “Der Sandmann,” and the other older books in this list, use the special subjunctive mood a lot more frequently than in modern German. You’ll find plenty of examples of this sentence mood throughout the book to help your understanding of it. Download the German audiobook on Amazon or by signing up for an Audible trial.
Where to Find German Audiobooks
For more German audiobooks, here are the best places to go.
The German version of Amazon features a wide range of audiobooks for all genres and tastes. Fans of CDs will be delighted, as that is the main medium in which they are sold here. However, downloads are also available, many of them for free.
If you are residing within Europe, ordering from Amazon Germany should not pose any problem. Those outside the European Union need to check if shipping to their country is available.
A purely German retailer, Buecher.de delivers free of charge within Germany—good news for those on vacation or living in Germany. Other European countries can also benefit from their services, but unfortunately no products get sent overseas. The same seems to be true for their audiobook download. Still worth a try though!
Hörbucher on YouTube
You already know that YouTube is a great source of German videos. But did you know that you can also find German audiobooks? It’s a great place to find old audiobooks that are no longer in circulation.
If you already have an audiobook in mind, just put the title into YouTube’s search bar. Or you can simply search for “German audiobook,” “hörbuch” (“audiobook”) or “hörbucher” (“audiobooks”) for video and playlist recommendations.
Audible books in German are a perfect opportunity for language learners. You can easily filter by language to find hundreds of German options.
MosaLingua is a program you can use to learn German that focuses on putting words and phrases into context.
With the web version, you get access to plenty of content selected specially for learners in their library, which includes German books and their audio versions.
Thalia is a popular bookstore chain found in German towns and cities.
Their online shop also features a wide range of audiobooks.
Spotify is known as being one of the best music streaming services, but you can find a good selection of audiobooks on the platform, too.
Try it for yourself: Type Hörbuch into the search bar (copy and paste from the article if your keyboard comes without umlauts) and scroll through the abundance of results. From German fables, to Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” to young German literature, it’s all there. And the best part: a basic Spotify account is free!
If you have a book you’re interested in, you can try looking up its German title to make sure you find the German-language version.
This website collects audiobooks that have been produced by German radio stations and made available for sharing. You can download their entire content legally and for free.
Audiobooks are available in 13 different categories, among them adventure, drama, fantasy, horror and science fiction. Browse the latest uploads or look at what other users found most appealing. Most files come in mp3 format and are therefore playable on most devices.
First of all, the German verb vorlesen is a great one and should become part of your repertoire. It means “to read to someone.”
The website Vorleser.net started as a one-person project. Its founder decided to record himself reading some German fables by the brothers Grimm and put them online for free.
Over time, it became more popular. Today, it houses almost a thousand audiobooks that have been produced by volunteers and can be streamed online or downloaded at will.
This page might be most interesting for beginners, as it’s a home for audiobooks made for children. The website was founded by a bunch of well-known German voice actors to produce and offer free audiobooks for the little ones. That might also explain the wordplay in the website’s name (Orca – orca whale, Ohr – ear).
Stories include such classics as “Treasure Island,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and “The Jungle Book.”
All books on the website are available for download.
How to Learn German with Audiobooks
Now that you’ve seen some great suggestions, you should also know how to hunt down books that are suitable for your level of German.
Most online bookstores will give a little snippet of their audiobooks so that you can get a flavor of the text and story. If you listen to this and realize that you don’t understand a word, it’s necessary to move on to a different book. Ideally, you need to find an audiobook that’s challenging but still possible to listen along to.
Most schools and colleges will have audiobooks that they rent out to students. If yours does, it’s worth asking teachers for their recommendations, as they’ll have a good idea as to which books you’ll be able to handle at your current level.
So, as I’ve previously mentioned, you could simply sit back and hope that you absorb all of the German that you hear, but you really need a better strategy for focused learning to make the most of audiobooks.
Here are a couple of simple techniques for learning German with audiobooks:
- One neat idea is to keep a list of all the German words in an audiobook that you hear but don’t understand. Be sure to return to review this list of words and listen again until they start to stick.
- It’s also worth finding a printed copy of the book so that you can read along while you’re listening. (Just be aware that if you’re reading a book that’s been translated into German, the audiobook will differ if it’s not made using the same translation.)
This is especially useful for beginner and intermediate learners, as it can ensure that you’re able to follow the story. Plus, it’ll also give your reading skills a nice little boost!
If you find that listening to audiobooks doesn’t really seem to do any good at first, keep at it—listening practice takes time, and you’ll find that your listening comprehension improves slowly but surely.
To prepare yourself for audiobook learning, you might want to incorporate another type of media, such as video. That way, you can both hear and see the German you’re learning, which will help you better understand it.
One way to do this is with FluentU, a language learning program that teaches you German using authentic videos such as news clips, travel guides and interviews.
Since all the videos on FluentU are made by and for native speakers, you’ll get plenty of practice listening to natural German at a normal conversational pace. And the videos have interactive captions that let you look up the words and phrases you hear for a definition and usage examples.
Watching short-length German video content (especially with subtitles) can help you boost your listening skills and get you ready to maintain comprehension during longer form audio content.
And once you’re feeling ready to dive in and try some German audiobooks, the resources and examples in the list above should be a great place to start!
Why Learn German with Audiobooks?
For starters, you can be very flexible with audiobooks. You can listen to them while you’re busy with jobs around your home, such as cooking or cleaning. But at the same time, you don’t have to do this. You might want to listen to them in bed or in another more relaxed environment so that you can focus fully on them.
Secondly, listening to audiobooks is a great way to let the German language just wash over you. Even if you aren’t concentrating fully, you’ll still find that you pick up vocabulary and grammar structures. It’s worth bearing in mind that, at least occasionally, you should deliberately try to focus while listening to remember even more vocab and grammar points (more on this below).
The final reason why it’s such a good idea to try and learn German with audiobooks is that there’s a huge selection. No matter what types of books you prefer, you’ll always be able to find an audiobook that interests you.
As you can see, the range of German audiobooks on offer from all the usual sites and platforms is very wide and varied. And the more you try out, the more you’ll realize just how great audiobooks are for improving your German language skills.
What are you waiting for, then? Time to hit the play button right now!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.