The 9 Best Books to Learn German Effectively

Kelsey Wetherbee Last updated on January 18, 2023

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Guten tag! German is the closest language to English, but it still takes hard work and studying to master it. There are tons of resources available, and identifying the one that’s right for you can be difficult. If you’re reading this article, perhaps you’ve already decided that a book is a good choice for you (and you wouldn’t be wrong!). Below we list some of the best books to learn German. No matter what your level or language goals are, you’re sure to find something that’s a good fit for you.

Best Books to Learn German

There are more than 97 million speakers of German, making it the second most spoken language in Europe (after Russian). It’s an official language in 6 different countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the 4th largest in the world. Learning German can open job opportunities, especially in the automotive, manufacturing, and science fields.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn German?​

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Knowing English means you’re well on your way to learning German. German is the language most similar to English, and the two share many vocabulary words. If you’ve ever used words like kindergarten, doppelganger, or gesundheit you already speak some German! If you want to continue to learn more German vocabulary, this article has some of the best German books that will help you improve quickly.

What Are The Best Books To Learn German?

To find the best books to learn German, we searched the internet to find some of the most popular options. Then, we researched each book to see who could benefit from it and what the book teaches best. Next, we compiled our favorites into this list. Every book has been purchased many times on Amazon and has great reviews.

Here is our list of the best books to learn German. Scroll down to read more about each one.

Best Overall Book to Learn GermanGerman All-in-One for Dummies
Best for BeginnersThe Everything Learning German Book
Best for Self-StudyGerman Made Simple
Best for TravelersSpeak German in 90 Days
Best for German GrammarGerman Grammar for Beginners
Best German WorkbookComplete German All-in-One
Best for German VocabularyEasy German Phrasebook
Best for Learning Genders of NounsDer, Die, Das: The Secrets of German Gender
Best for Reading50 German Coffee Breaks

German All-in-One for Dummies

Best Overall Book to Learn German

German All-in-One for Dummies combines 5 books from the “For Dummies” series into this comprehensive resource. It’s designed for complete beginners through a low-intermediate level. The book is divided into different sections that teach you the basics and how to speak German, and then moves to more complicated grammar topics. It’s a good resource for skipping around and learning what you want.

This edition includes a companion CD that gives you the opportunity to practice listening and speaking German. Reviewers like the layout of the book and the bite-size chunks of each lesson. You can see if German All-in-One for Dummies is a good choice for you here.

Key Features

  • 5 books in 1
  • Teaches all language skills
  • Audio CD to practice pronunciation and listening

The Everything Learning German Book focuses on how to navigate everyday situations in German. It’s specifically for English speakers that want to learn German because it takes advantage of the similarities shared by the two languages and builds on them. The lessons are easy to understand and include practice activities to check your understanding.

The textbook comes with an audio CD, and the kindle version includes embedded audio so you can hear the correct pronunciation throughout the book. People who purchased the book liked the thoroughness of the explanations and the included vocabulary lists. See what other reviewers had to say here.

Key Features

  • Learn everyday German
  • Simple explanations
  • Audio to hear correct pronunciation

German Made Simple

Best for Self-Study

German Made Simple takes a direct, no-frills approach to teaching German. The explanations are concise and clear without adding extraneous details. In addition to the grammar rules and explanations, there are reading sections, writing exercises, as well as typical practice questions.

This book is very logical and is best for learners that like a no-nonsense approach to learning. One reviewer thought it was a great book to work through, and could be consulted afterward for any lingering questions. You can see what other people thought about the book here.

Key Features

  • Direct and clear explanations
  • Pronunciation guide and reading exercises
  • Review exercises with answer key

Speak German in 90 Days

Best for Travelers

Speak German in 90 Days not only teaches you what to study but also how to study German. The book consists of 90 lessons, one for each day. Each lesson explains a grammar topic and includes vocabulary from the 1,000 most common words list. It’s meant for absolute beginners with the intent to get you conversational in a short period of time.

The focus of the book is on speaking, not learning all of the little grammar rules. There’s an included pronunciation guide to help you learn words phonetically. One reviewer liked how the book explained important grammar topics without over-complicating them. Check out what other reviewers thought here.

Key Features

  • 90 daily lessons
  • Focus on conversation and speaking
  • Pronunciation guide

German Grammar for Beginners

Best for German Grammar

German Grammar for Beginners is a straight-to-the-point guide to learning the basics of German grammar. There are 30 lessons that clearly explain the rules of the language, with minimal focus on the exceptions. There are over 300+ practice exercises embedded in the book so you can check your understanding of the material.

The idea is that you spend 30 minutes a day for 30 days to complete the book and develop an effective study habit. There’s also audio included so you can hear how Germans speak. Many people who purchased this book were using it as a refresher course. You can see what they had to say and read more reviews here.

Key Features

  • 30 extensive grammar lessons
  • Embedded practice exercises
  • Additional audio to practice pronunciation

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete German All-in-One is a compilation of 6 different workbooks from the Practice Makes Perfect series. This book can help you learn necessary grammar and vocabulary topics that help with speaking. The largest focus of the book is on grammar and sentence structure.

It’s a good book for self-study because there are lots of practice exercises with an answer key. Many people who purchased this book were using it for a course they were taking, or in conjunction with other learning methods to help them understand grammar better. See if this book is a good choice for you here.

Key Features

  • 6 books in 1
  • Focus on grammar and vocabulary
  • Practice questions with answer key

Easy German Phrasebook

Best for German Vocabulary

Easy German Phrasebook focuses on teaching the 1,500 most common phrases for everyday use and travel. The book is divided into common vocabulary topics such as colors, business, and the weather. It includes a pronunciation guide so you know how to say the words you are learning.

This book is best for beginners or people looking to learn some necessary vocabulary before a trip to Germany. Many reviewers liked the phonetic guide included in the book and thought that it was a good choice for learning the most important words and phrases in German. You can learn more about it here.

Key Features

  • Covers the 1,500 most used words
  • Vocabulary divided into easy-to-learn topics
  • Inexpensive

Der, Die, Das: The Secrets of German Gender

Best for Learning Genders of Nouns

One of the most complicated topics for English speakers when they learn German is the 3 different genders of nouns. Der, Die, Das: The Secrets of German Gender is an excellent resource that attempts to clarify this difficult topic. The idea of the book is to enable English speakers to identify the genders of specific nouns to increase fluency.

The book is broken down into chapters that explain, and give examples, of the three different genders of nouns (feminine, masculine, and neutral). There is also a chapter on nouns with more than one gender and nouns with no gender. Reviewers liked the rules about how to identify the gender of the noun without relying on memorization. You can read more about what they thought here.

Key Features

  • Specific focus on the gender of nouns in German
  • Learn how to identify the gender of specific nouns
  • Proficiency test

50 German Coffee Breaks

Best for Reading

50 German Coffee Breaks has the goal of helping you master a language learning routine. The idea is that by completing the simple 5, 10, and 15-minute lessons, you can learn German in the time it takes you to drink a cup of coffee. Each lesson has different types of practice exercises to test your comprehension.

This book is based on the popular Coffee Break German series of podcasts (which you should also check out!). They make it feel like you are learning German with a friend. People who purchased the book gave it rave reviews and also recommend that you follow their podcast series. See what you think about the book here.

Key Features

  • 50 different activities
  • Quick and easy lessons
  • Reading, vocabulary, and grammar exercises

Why You Should Use Books To Learn German

Using books is one of the most effective ways to learn German. There’s such a wide variety that you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. For beginners, there are books that start from zero and offer an all-around approach to learning. If you are more advanced, there are books focus on specific skills so you can really take your German to the next level.

How To Use Books To Learn German

If you want to use a book to learn German, it’s important to dedicate time each day, or a few times each week, to learn this language. Consistent study will help you see continual improvement in your language learning skills.

It’s also important to use a variety of resources. While books are good for explaining tricky grammar concepts, a podcast or German language app might be more effective to practice listening and speaking. You can also take an oline course with private or group classes. Using any of these methods in conjunction with a book will ensure you’re improving all necessary language skills.

Best Books To Learn German: Final Thoughts

I hope this article has helped you identify a book or two that can help you on your German language learning journey. All the books on this list are popular amongst language learners. With dedication and time, you can start learning German quickly and effectively.

Best Books To Learn German: FAQ

Which book is best for learning the German language?

German All-in-One for Dummies is the best book for learning German. It combines 5 different books into this one comprehensive resource that teaches all of the important language topics. It also includes practice exercises and a companion CD that helps you practice listening and understanding.

How can I learn German by myself?

There are many ways to learn German by yourself, but one of the most effective ways is to use a textbook. There are many comprehensive books that can teach you the basics of German grammar and vocabulary. In addition to a book, you can also take online classes with a German tutor or use a language app on your smartphone.

Can I learn German by reading books?

You can definitely learn German by reading books! If you are a beginner, it’s recommended that you use a textbook, like The Everything Learning German Book to learn the basics of German grammar and vocabulary. Once you reach an intermediate level, you can start reading short stories in German, and when you have an advanced level you can read fiction and non-fiction in German.

How long does it take to learn German?

According to the US Department of State, it takes 36 weeks (or 900 class hours) to learn German to a proficient level. But this number varies on other factors, such as your natural ability to acquire languages and if you know another language that is similar to German.

To see how long it will take you to learn German, check out this fluency calculator.

Kelsey Wetherbee

Kelsey is a language lover that wants to help others on their linguistic journeys. As a former ESL teacher and foreign language learner herself, she hopes her experiences can benefit others and help them learn more effectively. She loves to travel and enjoys meeting people from all over the world. Connect with Kelsey on LinkedIn.

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