Bibliophiles love books about books, and listening to an audiobook that takes place in a library or bookstore can be an especially enchanting experience. Much like You’ve Got Mail is a hit movie with book lovers, the following audiobooks will give you the atmospheric boost you get from hearing about people who love words and stories as much as you do.
Books that take place in bookish places are diverse, ranging from cozy to fantasy and everything in between. Every listener can find something to enjoy, and these listens are highly recommendable, so you can pass the joy along.
The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods
Narrated by Avena Mansergh-Wallace, Olivia Mace, and Nick Biadon
A tale that travels through time and introduces listeners to unforgettable characters, Evie Woods reminds us that our stories can be just as lively as those that take place within books. Opaline, Henry, and Martha want to be the main characters in their own lives, but it takes a vanishing bookshop to help them find their way.
Told from multiple points of view, this story comes together perfectly and is heart-wrenching and hopeful in equal parts. Listen to this one to keep up with the rhythm as the author jumps from one character’s narrative to another.
Listening Length: 12 hours
The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt
Narrated by Jim Meskimen
Bob Comet is a retired librarian who lives a quiet life among his books. He encounters a confused older woman on one of his morning walks, and he returns her to the senior home where she lives. In the process, he ends up becoming a volunteer, and we are given the treat of learning about Bob’s past and how he ended up in his mint-colored house in Portland.
Book lovers and those who simply love finding the joy in an otherwise ordinary life will love this listen. Full of compassion, humor, and heartfelt joy, Bob Comet is a character who will stay with you long after you finish this listen.
Listening Length: 10 hours and 2 minutes
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
Narrated by Kitty Hendrix
Meeting Roger Mifflin is a treat for those who have the pleasure of encountering him in early 20th-century New England. He travels with his book wagon, which is named Parnassus, and he spreads the love of books, knowledge, and words to all he meets. This story contains adventure, love, and relevant messages about how books and those who love and share them help save the world from ignorance.
This is a short listen, and it will brighten your day. This is the first of a series, so you have more listening ahead if you enjoy it.
Listening Length: 3 hours and 29 minutes
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Narrated by Jonathan Davis
Daniel can’t remember his mother’s face when he wakes up on his 11th birthday. His father introduces him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. His father has access to this special library because he is a book dealer, and Daniel is able to pick out a book that has been forgotten but that means something to him.
His book of choice is The Shadow of the Wind, but when he tries to find other books by the author, he dives into a mystery that can put his life in danger.
With 1940s Barcelona as the backdrop for this tale of magic and mystery, you will become entranced by the beauty and history of this daring tale.
Listening Length: 18 hours and 5 minutes
Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine
Narrated by Julian Elfer
In a world where the Library of Alexandria survived, would we have access to even more information than we could imagine? What if it meant you could not own personal books and only had to take in the information the Great Library provided?
This is the premise for the first book in Caine’s series, and it’s full of adventure, political intrigue, and personal risk. Listeners learn about Jess, whose family deals books in the black market. He becomes a spy for his family, but he discovers that those running the Great Library value many things over human life.
Listening Length: 10 hours and 26 minutes
What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama
Narrated by Hanako Footman, Susan Momoko Hingley, Kenichiro Thomson, Winson Ting, and Shiro Kawai
As someone who works in a library, I would love to have Sayuri Komachi’s particular skill as the protagonist of Aoyama’s story. She knows what book her patrons need placed in their hands, and she can provide it.
This listen reminds us that libraries are magical places and books are portals to worlds where we can find what we need to live our fullest lives. This is a great listen for book lovers and dreamers alike.
Listening Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes
The Door to Door Bookstore by Carsten Henn
Narrated by Raphael Corkhill
Carl Kollhoff is a bookseller who takes books to some of his customers after he closes his shop at night. He connects these people to the world of books and the world itself by taking the time to be a part of their lives.
Suddenly unemployed, Carl is unmoored. He turns to his faithful books and the friendship of a young child to try to rebuild his faith and connection with others again.
This feel-good listen highlights the power of stories and our connections to other people.
Listening Length: 6 hours and 3 minutes
The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick
Narrated by Katy Sobey
Liv Green is a maid who would love to be a writer. Taking care of her two kids is her primary concern though, so she sticks to the practical work of cleaning for other people. When she’s hired by reclusive, best-selling author Essie Starling, she thinks it’s a dream come true.
When Essie dies, she has a request for Liv: finish her final novel. In order to do this, Liv has to learn more about Essie, and the revelations she uncovers will change the trajectory of her own story forever.
Listening Length: 9 hours and 51 minutes
At the Coffee Shop of Curiosities by Heather Webber
Narrated by Hallie Ricardo and Stephanie Willis
Coffee and books go well together, yes? This was enough of a reason to include Webber’s tale of two women wrestling with regret while trying to move on with their current lives.
Ava drops everything and moves to Alabama to become a caretaker for an elderly man in the hopes of healing her broken heart. Her ex-boyfriend is dead, and she needs a respite from the shock. Maggie is running a coffee shop hoping that keeping busy will also help her outrun grief and worry. She and Ava connect and realize they are fighting the same demons in this tale of redemption, regret, and second chances.
Listening Length: 12 hours and 10 minutes
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Narrated by Carey Mulligan
I’ve been a Haig fan for years, so I was thrilled when The Midnight Library took off and everyone finally knew his name.
Imagine a library that contains a multiverse of possibilities for each life. Each book is a life you could have lived if you had made a different decision. Nora, depressed and at a very bad place in her current life, finds herself in the midnight library. She peruses the lives she could have led in an effort to figure out what makes us happy and what makes us alive.
Listening Length: 8 hours and 50 minutes
The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis
Narrated by Vanessa Johansson, Steve West, and Sarah Zimmerman
What if you could hold a book in your hands and feel the previous owner’s spirit? That’s the gift Ashlyn Greer carries as a rare book dealer. When she comes across two never-published volumes of a love story gone wrong, she becomes obsessed with figuring out where the stories came from and whose account of the story is true.
This beautiful mystery helps Greer deal with unfinished mysteries and emotions in her own life, and it’s a delightful listen.
Listening Length: 13 hours and 8 minutes
The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley
Narrated by Rosalyn Landor
Kearsley offers a historical fiction tale that combines the present with the past and leaves the protagonist wondering how she is accessing memories she should not have.
Carrie McClelland writes historical fiction and sets her sights on the Jacobite uprising in Scotland for her next book. Set up on the coast of Scotland, McClelland begins writing, and then we are given the treat of two different perspectives: McClelland as she writes and the actual novel that is coming together.
This creative approach lets listeners see how writers create their work while also diving into the idea of ancestral memories within us that can arise. It’s intriguing and addictive.
Listening Length: 15 hours and 49 minutes