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Icelandic Ebooks and Audiobooks Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

Remember a previous post where I said I hadn’t found any Icelandic Ebooks? I’ve now found a lot (relatively) of things. So, this will be another “full of links post”.

Note: Unfortunately most of these are only available to someone living in Iceland or another Nordic country (or someone with nice contacts there). In Iceland you use your kennitala (Social Security Number) for everything – transferring money via the bank, getting a library card, booking appointments, getting help at the school help desk… So they took this practice into the internet, and often Icelandic sites also have you use your kennitala (one such that I think not-so-fondly of is Iceland’s most-used forum site, Hugi.is, which says my kennitala doesn’t exist so I can’t even make an account). Whether Iceland wants to be exclusive or doesn’t realize there are a lot of foreigners who would like to buy their music and books as well, I don’t know.

“Checking out” Ebooks and audiobooks at an online library. (Site is in Swedish). If you have a library card from a Nordic country, including an Icelandic Nordic House card, you can download/check out a certain number of things per card, per seven days. At one place it said you only get two items per card, but I was able to get five in total so I don’t know if that is just a mistake or not. If you click the “download” button for an ebook twice, it counts as two things. When you go to download something, it will often need to open in a specific eReader program (they have the names of some and how to download them on the site). Then, within the eReader, the book will only be available for something like twenty-eight days (the length of a regular book loan from a library). The audio portion of a book can’t be downloaded, instead it is streamed in their online player.

To access the audio some days after you originally checked it out, you go into your account by putting your library card number in, and then go to a place called something like “my audiobooks”, and you should be able to continue listening there. Audio is also available in this section for the same amount of time as regular books. Be careful that you always use the same site (there are technically different sites, like one for the Nordic House in Iceland and one for the Stockholm library) and your Nordic House card might not work on the Stockholm site, I think they have to match but I forgot if so. Not to mention your checked-out audio won’t be available from one site to the next.

How to use:
The link is for Iceland’s Nordic House’s site. If you have a different library card, go here and choose your area in the first drop-down section (Iceland, Finland, and Denmark are at the very bottom of the list).  Then click the button to the right. You will get a list of libraries, then you can choose one and you’ll be taken to their page. Alternatively, use the second drop-down section to choose your exact library name, and do the same thing. I click on “categories” and browse the books by category. I won’t bother translating the category names because there are a lot and the words are often similar to either English or Icelandic.

Swedish – Icelandic – English: (If you ever think it’s too difficult to learn Icelandic, you can always switch to Scandinavian which has much simpler grammar and more words similar to English!)
Bibliotek – bókasafn – library
e-böcker – e-bækur – e-books
Ljudböcker – hljóðbækur – audiobooks
Startsida – forsíða – start page
Avancerad sök – (advanced) leita – advanced search (I can’t remember ever seeing an “advanced search” option in Icelandic, only either an unmarked search or a regular “search”, so if anyone knows how they write “advanced search” let me know!)
Kategorier – flokkar – categories
Historiska verk digitalt – “historical works digitized”
Program för att – “programs to”
läsa – lesa – read
Lånekortsnummer – bókasafnskortsnúmer (númer á bókasafnskort) – library card number

Vanliga frågor om – common questions about
e-boken – the ebook
ljudboken – the audiobook
Mina ljudböcker – my audiobooks (this is where you can listen to audiobooks you’ve already checked out)
Om cookies – um cookies – about cookies

Under “advanced search”:
Titel eller ord i titel – title or word in title
Författare – rithöfundur, höfundur – author
Förlag – forlag – publishing company
Språk – tungumál, mál – language
Engelska – enska – English

xxx

Icelandic Ebooks site. You must have a kennitala and Icelandic phone number to buy these. This is on a subscription basis, you can choose either monthly or yearly..
Icelandic audio book site. The same thing as above, only for audio books. It actually might even be by the same people, because the site and way to join seems exactly the same.

Netfang (verður notað sem notandanafn) – Email (will be used as a username)
aftur – again
Lykilorð – password
Hafðu það að minnsta kosti 6 stafa langt – It must be at least 6 characters long
Hefðbundin mánaðaráskrift – traditional monthly subscription
kr 1,290 á mán. – 1,290 crowns (krónur) per month (mánuður)
Ársáskrift – yearly subscription
kr 12,900 í 12 mánuði – 12,900 crowns for 12 months

Icelandic children’s ebooks: These are audio readings, typically for “the youngest children”. The expensive ones, you actually buy a CD with multiple songs/stories on it. The cheaper ones are single stories. You must have an Icelandic bank account to buy these, currently they don’t accept credit cards. You might be able to work something out if you Email and ask her. She also has free stories that she updates every so often, but deletes the files to the old ones after a while. I think she speaks very clearly, you can at least listen to her free stories and try transcribing what she says for listening practice.

The Icelandic Blind Library (audio books and Ebooks): This has, by far, the largest selection. However you must either be over eighty years old, or prove that you are blind/visually impaired/dyslexic/mentally disabled to be able to check books out. To prove these things, you need to go to a doctor in Iceland (I’m not sure if another Nordic country would work) and get a check-up, and ask them to give proof of your problems to this library. The good news is that they mail you physical books for free if they’re not downloadable, even if you don’t live in Iceland. So if you once had a kennitala, moved to Sweden, and have some kind of disability, they might still let you register here. Writing in English to them is no problem.

Skjarin.is is another movie/tv site, you have to pay and you need an Icelandic kennitala and phone number.
Tonlist.is’ audiobooks: I didn’t notice before that these guys sell audiobooks too. You should be able to buy these with any regular credit card, I don’t think you have to be in Iceland or have a kennitala. They also have an English site but I’m not sure they sell audiobooks there, and last time I bought something from them their checkout was broken (I can’t remember if that was on their English or Icelandic site though).

The last, and most obvious one, is that if you go to any regular library in Iceland (not the Nordic house), they will have audiobooks in Icelandic. Most are cassettes (especially the non-Icelandic ones) and the rest are CDs, but sometimes they have two versions of the same audiobook and one is a CD version.

EDIT: Here you can buy a few from the iTunes bookstore for iPads, which should only require that you have iTunes installed. I don’t know anything about iTunes ebooks so I can’t tell you if there’s any programs to view them on a regular computer or not.

I think if we band together and tell some of these people that we want to be able to buy audiobooks and movies as foreigners, they might change their websites so it becomes possible. They want money, after all, and it can’t be so hard as to not be worth it for them. I think a lot of people don’t realize that foreigners would also be interested, so they don’t even think about it.

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About the Author:sequoia

I try to write about two-thirds of the blog topics on cultural aspects and one-third on the language, because there's much more out there already on the language compared to daily life information. I try to stay away from touristy things because there's more of that out there than anything else on Iceland, and I feel like talking about that stuff gives you the wrong impression of Iceland.


Comments:

  1. Linda:

    I’m so sorry to hear that your computer broke! 🙁 Thanks for the long, informative post!

    • sequoia:

      @Linda Yeah, I’ve just had terrible computer/internet luck this past year. The computer battery broke, some keys on the keyboard broke, and also our two chargers broke (we once had two computers but one broke last year). My dad is mailing me another charger and we can pick it up on Monday at the post office. When I move to Sweden in a few months we might look into getting a really cheap computer in case this one completely dies.

      Glad you like it! If you ever want me to write about something or have any ideas for me, just let me know! I don’t know what people want and I don’t even know if most people reading this are beginners or advanced learners.

  2. christian:

    Well

    I agree, there are not many sides that offer icelandic ebooks or even better audios, but I’ve been successfull with this address:
    http://www.hljodbok.is/vorur/
    A credit card is enough, You do nit have to be resident of Iceland (beeing one of Switzerland, I’m the living proof). I purchased, audio as well as ebooks.

    Regards

    Christian K.

  3. Sequoia:

    Hi, unfortunately I’ve quit writing for this blog so I can’t update any of the posts or add in new links, including this one of yours, but thanks! (It seems to still give me Email alerts though, how nice!) Hopefully everyone reading will look in the comments and see this. I think eventually more and more sites will pop up that make it easier for us learners, now that so much tourism is going on and Icelanders are realizing that what they are selling could be sold to not just themselves, and of course more people being interested in Iceland means more learners who could potentially make sites alongside Icelanders to help others too. Already there are a lot of tools (ex. Firefox add-ons) out there than just a year ago to help with language learning, hopefully more come out for specifically Icelandic too.

    I have to say, now I have been learning Swedish and the huge amount of things (including tons of flashgames and cartoon dubs!) in it is really mindblowing compared to how nothing exists for Icelandic. If only there were more of those, everyone would learn a lot faster! If you have Icelandic friends, convince them to become translators and translate games to Icelandic…