There has been a massive growth in the number of people listening to books in Scandinavia. Here’s what you need to know about the audiobook world in Norway.
Audiobooks are gaining popularity around the world right now. Norway is a relatively mature market with several listening options available.
Even better for foreign residents, there are plenty of audiobooks in English and other foreign languages available on the platforms.
What are audiobooks?
If you are not an audiobook listener, you can think of CD sets or even cassettes at your local library. This is how it worked years ago.
But digital technology and subscription models have transformed the availability of audiobooks, resulting in huge demand. Now virtually everyone has a powerful audiobook store and reader in their pocket!
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Listening to an audiobook in small pieces on the way to work or standing in line at the supermarket is the only way many busy people read.
Compared to other countries, Norway has not experienced massive growth in e-book reading. This despite the fact that Norwegians are “true readers,” according to author Brian M. Talgo on the Life in Norway Show.
But according to leading industry newspaper Bok365, the Norwegian audiobook subscription market was worth $ 50 million in 2020.
Other markets that have seen growth in eBook reading over the past decade are only now seeing similar growth in audio books. So why the difference in Scandinavia?
Why are audiobooks so popular in Scandinavia?
As in many other countries, restrictions linked to the pandemic have undoubtedly played a role. But the growth of audiobooks had started long before that.
Free audiobook trials: Nextory – Audible Plus
Scandinavia is well known for having adopted technology relatively early, particularly mobile computing. Take a look at the common use of mobile payments.
The Norwegian-language book industry has kept e-book prices high and the lack of a local Amazon store means there are fewer buying options. Norwegians buy English e-books from Amazon or Apple Books to read on phones and tablets, but the quantities are not huge.
It’s a different situation for audiobooks, where subscription companies have created a huge demand for content in a very short period of time. The output of an audiobook is now just as important as the hardback and the paperback.
So, if you are interested in audiobooks, here are the best options available to you in Norway.
Almost unknown in major book markets such as the US and UK, Storytel is a giant in the Nordic region. The five Nordic countries have a combined population of around 27 million. One million of them are Storytel subscribers!
If you live in Norway, it’s impossible not to have at least heard of Storytel. Their advertising is everywhere.
Storytel offers a subscription model, in which subscribers have unlimited access to books for NOK 189 per month. They are audiobooks and e-books on the same platform. Family packages are also available.
It’s expensive from a US and UK perspective, but heavy readers will find it great value given the relatively high price of books printed in Norway.
There are “thousands” of titles available in Norwegian, Swedish and English, according to the company. Of course, the selection in English will be limited and is not as extensive as a native English platform.
You can try Storytel with a 14 day free trial.
Nextory is “Storytel’s crown contender,” according to specialist website The New Publishing Standard. Recently launched in Norway, Nextory has grown rapidly.
They are similarly priced to Storytel at NOK 189 per month for unlimited reading and listening. But Nextory also offers a monthly plan limited to NOK 139, as well as more expensive family plans.
The best thing to do to see what the catalog looks like is to subscribe. They offer a 30 day free trial, which should give you plenty of time to decide if the service is right for you.
I can’t go any further without talking about the world leader in audiobooks. While there is no local Amazon store, the Amazon-owned Audible is absolutely available in Norway!
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If you’re a native English speaker or just prefer to listen to books in English, Audible is by far your best bet. The catalog of English titles is significantly larger, but there are very few Norwegian titles.
Unlike Storytel and Nextory, there are no eBook titles on Audible because it is an audio-only platform.
International customers should use the Audible.com store. Individual titles are often expensive, but their subscription model works with a confusing credit system.
“Audible Plus” is a catalog of songs that you can listen to unlimited for $ 7.95 per month. Big news and other premium titles are available for credits. The Audible Plus subscription, including one credit, costs $ 14.95 per month, and two, $ 22.95. Different offers are available to Prime subscribers.
Amazon offers a 30 day free trial of its Audible Plus membership program.
Other audiobook services in Norway
The above three services are the most popular audiobook platforms in Norway, but there are other options. There are many international stores such as Kobo that offer audiobooks in English for individual purchase rather than subscription.
In Norway, Fabel is perhaps the best-known alternative to large platforms. As with the other Scandinavian options, Fabel is subscription based. The plans range from NOK 139 to NOK 239 per month. A 4 week free trial is available.