Listening to audiobooks in Norwegian can be a great way to learn more about the Norwegian culture while also taking a deep dive into the Norwegian language. If your Norwegian is good enough to allow you to listen to audiobooks in Norwegian, then doing so is a great method to improve your skills in spoken Norwegian.
Most Norwegian audiobooks are read in a standard dialect from the Oslo-area, so it won’t be too difficult to listen to. However, there are some exceptions, and you can find audiobooks read by people with all kinds of different dialects.
But where do you go if you want to listen to audiobooks in Norwegian?
The Norwegian audiobook market is dominated by two big players: Storytel and Fabel. Both of these are streaming services akin to Audible, but has a primary focus on Norwegian audiobooks. So register at either of these to get access to listen to audiobooks in Norwegian for a monthly subscription fee.
Both of these two services has their own subscription service and their own app that you can download on your phone. This allows you to listen to any audiobook in the catalog, download it, and listen to it in your own pace. Fabel also allows you to buy single audiobooks without being subscribed, which can be a good option if you don’t listen that often.
How to register for Storytel or Fabel
You might need to use Google Translate to get the website in English if you don’t understand what is going on during the registration, but I suspect that most of you will be able to understand this basic Norwegian since you are about to embark on Norwegian audiobooks.
These services cost 139 NOK per month for Fabel or 189 NOK per month for Storytel, but you can try both services for free for a certain time before you will be charged. You will need a credit or debit card with VISA to register.
Both of the services has a big range of different audiobooks in Norwegian, including both Norwegian books by Norwegian authors, and books that have been translated to Norwegian. Most people seem to agree that Storytel is the better of the two, but if Fabel has the books you are after, then why pay the additional 50 NOK per month for Storytel?
Audible has some books in Norwegian as well
People have told me that Audible has some books available in Norwegian, so it’s worth checking out if you already subscribe to Audible. The selection is typically pretty small, and it seem to vary from country to country, but most countries seem to have at least 10 – 20 different books in Norwegian that you can listen to.
You can buy single audiobooks from Norwegian book stores
Most Norwegian book stores will have online stores that sell audiobooks that you can download and listen to without paying for a subscription. The price will range from 50 NOK for an older and cheap book, to 300 – 400 NOK for a brand new book.
If you’re already living in Norway, then most public libraries will also give you access to audibooks. Some are still very old in the sense that they still lend out CD’s, but most libraries have their own app that allows you to borrow and listen to audiobooks completely for free.
Contemporary Norwegian authors to listen to
Norway has lots of great authors who write about topics that will make you get a deeper understanding for Norwegian culture. I can’t write down all of the most influential Norwegian authors below, but some of the popular ones to consider listening to the audiobooks from are:
- Karl Ove Knausgård. Knausgård is probably one of the most well-known contemporary Norwegian authors, mostly known for his series called Min Kamp (My Struggle) which he writes his entire life-story.
- Jon Michelet. Jon Michelet was a popular Norwegian authors for many years before he passed away a few years ago, but his magnum opus series En Sjøens Helt is still widely popular in Norway. This is a series about a young Norwegian sailor who works on commercial ships during WW2.
- Roy Jacobsen. Roy Jacobsen has written some unique novels about different parts and time periods in Norway, and is regarded as one of the most popular Norwegian authors.
- Lars Saabye Christensen. Lars Saabye Christensen really loves Oslo, so if you want to get to feel what Oslo was like in the 70s and 80s, he is the right author for you. Some of his most known books are Beatles, Halvbroren, and Byens Spor (a series of books).
- Maja Lunde. Maja Lunde become a best-seller in both Norway and many other countries with her book Bienes Historie, a book about the importance of pollinators and the problems that the climate changes will bring. Most of her books are not that much centered around Norway, but if you read the book series in Norwegian, you will get to learn Norwegian either way. The books are pretty easy to follow along with even if your Norwegian is not that great.
- Jo Nesbø. Jo Nesbø is considered the most popular Norwegian author that writes Nordic crime noir, so if that sounds appealing, check out some of his books.