Best book podcasts 2017

Books are pretty much the best thing ever, right? Whether it’s a cosy winter’s night or a warm summery day, there’s not a lot better in life that sitting down with a good read and getting totally lost in your imagination.

But there are only so many books to read, and besides, with the best will in the world, we book worms can’t spend all day every day with our heads in a paperback. So what else can we book-lovers do to get our fix? Cue, literary podcasts.

There are so many excellent books-based podcasts available to download, featuring discussion groups, reviews and author interviews. Here, we choose eight of the best.

The Guardian Books Podcast

A weekly look at the world of books, poetry and great writing presented by Claire Armitstead, Richard Lea, and Sian Cain. With in-depth interviews with leading authors and investigations looking at writing trends, this is the perfect book worm’s companion.

The Times Literary Supplement Podcast

Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s question, “With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?”, the TLS brings listeners a wide-ranging weekly podcast on books and ideas, discussing everything from empathy to liberalism.

Literary Friction

Literary Friction is a lively monthly conversation about books and ideas, hosted by friends Carrie and Octavia. Each month the pair interview an author about their book and build the show around a related theme. There’s also book recommendations and a little music, too.

BBC Radio 4 Open Book

Mariella Frostrup hosts this podcast, which looks at new fiction and non-fiction books, talks to authors and publishers and unearths lost classics.

The New Yorker Fiction Podcast

A monthly reading and conversation with the New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman. Recent guests include Salman Rushdie and Lorrie Moore.

Literary Disco

Friends and self-proclaimed book nerd Julia, Tod and Rider read and discuss books, essays and stories in this podcast, which features everything from poetry and plays to children’s books.

BBC World Book Club

A monthly book club featuring discussion about classics and interviews with prize-winning authors. Recent guests include Sebastian Barry, Sophie Hannah and Jane Gardam.

London Review Bookshop Podcasts

Recordings of the author and reader discussions the happen twice-weekly and the London Review Bookshop. Expect lively debates and a mix of guests including Mary Beard, Ali Smith and Ruby Tandoh.

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12 Podcast Recommendations for Book Lovers

Full honesty here: When we’re not reading, we’re usually on our phones. Sorry! It’s true. In a world where blue screens follow us everywhere (wow, typing that sounds way too sci-fi for our liking), it seems like everyone’s trying to find a way to limit screentime. So, what can we do when we need a break from screens and the written page?

Podcasts, duh!

Not only are podcasts entertaining and addictive, there are also so many. Rather than mindlessly scrolling your fave social media app, just download a few podcast episodes before your commute to school, work, or the gym. And whether you’re a podcast fanatic already or looking to subscribe to your first-ever audio show, we have a list of book-themed podcasts for you that will fill the literary void in your heart (and ears!). Scroll down and check them all out.

12 Book Podcasts


1. Remember Reading Podcast

Do you remember reading Charlotte’s Web or Series of Unfortunate Events? What about Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? Featuring interviews with kids and authors as well as audiobook excerpts and archived clips from legendary writers, this nostalgic podcast is delivers all the feels.

Featured Review: “Quickly paced, very professional, and insightful.

  • Listen to Remember Reading on Apple podcasts

2. 88 Cups of Tea

This podcast uncovers the life of YA writers—from the writing process to the challenges of publishing a book. This show features authors like Tomi Ayedemi, Victoria Schwab, Leigh Bardugo and more!

Featured Review: “Yin is amazing and so is this podcast!”

  • Listen to 88 Cups of Tea on Apple podcasts

3. The B&N YA Podcast

Is Barnes & Noble your go-to store for finding YA books? This pod seeks to uncover the stories behind young adult books by interviewing authors like Elizabeth Acevedo, Julie Murphy, and Angie Thomas.

Featured Review: “Wonderful reviews with great writers!”

  • Listen to The B&N YA Podcast on Apple podcasts

4. Professional Book Nerds

This bookish podcast is hosted by staff librarians, or “professional book nerds”, who work at an eBook/Audiobook app called OverDrive.

Featured Review: “I have listened to every single episode of this sow.”

  • Listen to Professional Book Nerds on Apple podcasts

5. The Librarian is In

Speaking of librarians…. This one’s produced by the New York Public Library. Frank & Gwen talk about what to read next as well as other literary discussions, from literary dogs to dog-eared pages.

Featured Review: “It’s like hanging with good friends”

  • Listen to The Librarian is In on Apple podcasts

6. What Should I Read Next?

This podcast comes from the studio that brought you Dirty John, so you know it’s gonna be good. Have you ever had a book hangover and didn’t know what to read next? On the show, Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy interviews readers and makes recommendations on what to read next.

Featured Review: “I cannot get enough of this podcast.”

  • Listen to What Should I Read Next? on Apple podcasts

7. All the Books!

If you’re looking for book recommendations, BookRiot’s All The Books will tell you about, well, all the books—new releases and backlist—on a weekly basis.

Featured Review: “One of my absolute favorite bookish podcasts.”

  • Listen to All the Books! on Apple podcasts

8. Just the Right Book

Hosted by independent bookseller, Roxanne Coady, this podcast is about books, authors, and everything lit-worthy.

Featured Review: “Thought-provoking, insightful interviews for book lovers.”

  • Listen to Just the Right Book on Apple podcasts

9. Literaticast

This podcast is all about books for children and young adults hosted by a literary agent (and her friends). If you’re interested in reading AND writing, this show will bring you behind the scenes of publishing and author life.

Featured Review: “Funny, informative, concise—everything I want in a podcast.”

  • Listen to Literaticast on Apple podcasts

10. Adventures in YA

This podcast is laidback discussion for YA fans featuring friendly, informative conversations about books and authors we love.

Featured Review: “This podcast has changed my reading life.”

  • Listen to Adventures in YA on Apple podcasts

11. First Draft

Sarah Enni is a master when it comes to interviewing YA authors of all types about how their lives influence their art (and vice versa), and their conversations come across as so casually brilliant that you feel like you’re hanging out in the room with them. Plus, Sarah’s a YA author herself, so she knows the topic from all sides!

Featured Review: “Fantastic interviews! So smart, uplifting, and inspiring! I never miss this podcast, and I’m slowly working my way through the backlist.”

  • Listen to First Draft on Apple podcasts

12. Harper Audio Presents

If we’re not listening to a podcast about books, there’s a good chance we’re just straight up listening to an audiobook. And Harper Audio Presents is a podcast series that comes directly from an audiobook team and offers a behind-the-scenes look at new releases, authors, and narrators! It’s perfect for all audiobook lovers.

Featured Review: “Love this podcast. Some of my favorite authors and the audiobook angle is fresh and interesting!”

  • Listen to Harper Audio Presents on Apple podcasts

What’s your fave bookish podcast? Let us know in the comments down below!

Listen to this post

Half of Americans have listened to an audiobook, and the same percentage have listened to a podcast according to a 2019 survey conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital. This was the first year that the audience for both podcasts and audiobooks reached 50% listenership. According to the Audio Publishers Association’s press release on the research, there is a clear crossover audience between the two: 55% of audiobook listeners had also listened to a podcast in the month surveyed.

This makes sense, as both podcasts and audiobooks are auditory ways of consuming information and stories. But beyond the numbers, I wanted to know: how else do the two industries intersect, feeding one into the other? In what ways do they amplify each other rather than simply competing for listeners? I’ve rounded up ten ways in which podcasts, audiobooks, and oral storytelling at large are interconnected, particularly now that more and more print books have an accompanying audio version published simultaneously. (Which is why, when available, I am linking directly to the audiobook version of any titles mentioned.)

1) Podcasts Promoting Authors and Books

I once heard a book publicist say that no one sells more books than Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air. While yes, this program is a radio show, it is also recorded and distributed across podcast platforms. As a growing area of media, podcasts serve as an important way to spread the word about a book its author—the story about the story, if you will. Interviews spots and mentions can be an important part of a book’s comprehensive promotional plan. Take author Roxane Gay, for example—she’s been interviewed about her life and work on podcasts such as Sooo Many White Guys, Bitch Sesh, Filthy Public Bathroom, Queery with Cameron Esposito, and Design Matters, which I got to see taped live at On Air Fest (here’s a recap of her interview!).

2) Podcasts About Books

While some podcasts promote books to a general audience, there are also entire podcasts dedicated to discussing and recommending books. Book Riot is home to 11 such bookish podcasts. Some dive into specific genres—For Real for nonfiction, Read or Dead for mysteries and thrillers, and the self-explanatory When in Romance, Hey YA, SFF Yeah! and Kidlit These Days—whereas others discuss book news and culture or offer custom recommendations to listeners. Ours are certainly not the only ones, though—here are 11 more book podcasts.

3) Book Club Podcasts

There’s also a delightful sub-genre of bookish podcasts that feature the hosts reading and discussing books together, often inviting listeners to read along with them. One of my favorites is Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, in which two Harvard Divinity School grads guide listeners chapter by chapter through the Harry Potter series, treating it as a religious text. In the Banging Book Club podcast (now concluded), three YouTubers read and discussed books about sex and gender. There’s also By the Book, in which the hosts read self-help books and try out the lifestyles they prescribe to find out what works.

4) Authors Starting Podcasts

Writers are storytellers, so it comes as no surprise that countless authors are starting their own podcasts. In 2018, U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith started her daily poetry podcast The Slowdown. Other poets are also working in the podcast space—Tommy Pico (author of IRL, Nature Poem, and Junk) co-hosts the roundtable podcast Food 4 Thot with several of his writing friends, and Franny Choi (Soft Science) and Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead) co-host the VS. poetry podcast. In April, writer Roxane Gay launched “the black feminist podcast of your dreams” called Hear to Slay for subscribers on Luminary. My personal favorite is YA novelist John Green’s The Anthropocene Reviewed, in which he “reviews facets of the human centered-planet on a five-star scale” in mini essays that braid together research and memoir. My roommate is a big fan of Writing Excuses, a 15-minute discussion of various writing topics hosted by sci-fi/fantasy authors Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and Mary Robinette Kowal, with occasional guests.

5) Podcasts That Are Kinda Like Audiobooks

Some podcasts are testing the boundaries between audiobook and radio drama. A prime example of this is S-Town, a 7 “chapter” true crime podcast from the creators of This American Life and Serial that won a 2017 Peabody Award. As stated on the award’s website, S-Town “breaks new ground for the medium by creating the first true audio novel, a nonfiction biography constructed in the style and form of a 7-chapter novel.” Fiction podcasts are also working in the space of the audio-original novel. Think of it this way: Charles Dickens first published his books in serial print form; creators of serial fiction podcasts like Tanis, Wolf 359, and The Walk are doing something similar.

6) Books Based on Podcasts…that Become Audiobooks

Sometimes, a popular podcast becomes the basis for a book. The McElroy brother’s Dungeons & Dragons role-playing podcast was adapted to a graphic novel, The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins. Though this was not adapted to an audiobook (given the reliance on illustrations), many other podcasts-turned-books are, such as Welcome to Nightvale and Alice Isn’t Dead. A nonfiction example is YouTuber Gaby Dunn’s Bad with Money*, which now exists as a podcast, book, and audiobook. Even when the book comes full circle back to the audio format, it still usually offers listeners a new experience. While Mike Rowe’s forthcoming book The Way I Heard It* started as a collection of podcast transcripts, he says on his website that it evolved to include elements of memoir and unrecorded stories told in the style of his podcast. The hosts of My Favorite Murder do something similar in their book Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered, building on elements of memoir and self-help.

(*Disclaimer: I work for the audio publisher of these two titles, but opinions are mine.)

7) Podcasts Based on a Book

Starting a podcast inspired by a book offers authors a new medium to continue exploring the same ideas. It also serves as a way to expand their brand and continue promoting the book. Gretchen Rubins, author of The Happiness Project, now co-hosts a podcast with Elizabeth Craft called Happier. The 2005 book Freakonomics also inspired a weekly podcast of the same name, which is now approaching its 400th episode. After publishing Doing It—a teen guide to sex and relationships—author and YouTuber Hannah Witton launched a podcast of the same name, in which she continues the conversation started on her channel and in her book.

8) Audiobooks with Podcast Elements

Some authors are starting to use podcast transcripts as a narrative form. An example of this is the YA thriller Sadie by Courtney Summers. Half of the story is told in the style of a true crime podcast about the unsolved murder of a dead girl and her missing older sister, and the other half is narrated in the first person by the missing girl herself. In the audiobook version, the podcast elements were recorded to sound as real as possible, using a full cast of narrators and sound effects to set the scenes.

9) Podcasters Getting Book Deals

Editors and literary agents have long been scouting out potential book projects from interesting people with something to say and a platform to promote it—and podcasters are no exception. The resulting book is not always directly tied to the podcast, however. Vanessa Zoltan, co-founder and co-host of Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, recently shared news of landing a book deal to write about Jane Eyre as a sacred text. This was the topic of Zoltan’s thesis at Harvard Divinity School, and also the inspiration for her Harry Potter podcast. Podcast hosts are natural storytellers, so it makes sense that they would have unique ideas worth exploring in written form (and I, for one, can’t wait for the audio adaptation of this text!).

Did I get a book deal at Penguin writing about treating Jane Eyre as sacred? @penguinpress @TarcherPerigee

— Vanessa Zoltan (@vanessamzoltan) May 2, 2019

10) Oral History Projects

Not everyone gets to publish a book and have their story produced by a professional audio publisher. But everyone has a story to tell, and that is what oral historians aim to preserve. Earlier this year, I attended the audio culture festival On Air Fest, which highlighted two oral history podcasts working to share those stories with a broader audience: Our Streets, Our Stories (produced by the Brooklyn Public Library) and Flatbush + Main (produced by the Brooklyn Historical Society). Whether streamed to 10 listeners or 10,000, these podcasts amplify the stories—and the voices—that often go overlooked by traditional media.

Even oral histories can come full circle though, as is the case with the book Listening Is an Act of Love, a compilation of oral histories compiled by the StoryCorps organization—and available as audiobook.

Be sure to check out some of our other articles on podcasts and audiobooks:

  • 50 Must-Read Books by Podcasters
  • 15 of the Absolute Best Podcasts for Children’s Books
  • 5 Inspiring StoryCorps Videos about Books and Reading
  • Bookish Podcasts That Will Help You Pick Your Next Read
  • 7 Fiction Podcasts for Superhero Fans

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15 Page-Turning Podcasts for Readers

If there’s one thing we know here at TCK Publishing, it’s the value of a good book.

Reading’s one of the all-time great hobbies: it’s fun, it’s relaxing, and it’s good for your mind and body. Not only can books teach us about ourselves and about the world, but they can boost your memory, make you more empathetic, and even decrease your chances of developing degenerative brain disorders.

But here’s the sad truth: you can’t read all the time.

Believe me, I’ve tried. Here’s a hot tip: when the electric company shuts your lights off, it’s time to put the book down and get off your tuchas.

But for those tragic times you absolutely cannot have a book in your hand—your morning commute, while you’re cooking dinner, or even while you’re writing your own stories—podcasts can keep you connected to the world of literature and immerse you in the reading community like nothing else can.

15 Podcasts for Book Lovers

In the past, we’ve given our recommendations for meditation podcasts and podcasts for writers. Now it’s time to count off some of our all-time favorite podcasts dedicated specifically to the bookworms of the world.

So whether you’re looking to hear fellow book lovers discuss your favorite novels and authors, find a new book to scratch that reading itch, or just wind down after a long day to a soothing live reading of a great story, this list has something you’ll love.

Let’s dig in!

1. Book Club for Masochists

You can’t beat this for a premise: in order to get better at their jobs, four librarians purposefully read books they hate, then discuss them on this highly entertaining podcast.

On the first and third Tuesday of every month, the hosts pick a few randomly selected books to talk about from a list of genres they usually avoid, from family sagas to YA dystopias to experimental fiction—all in the name of forcibly expanding their personal tastes to become better librarians.

If you like mocking so-bad-they’re-good movies—or just enjoy the misery of others—this podcast might be right up your alley.

The Hosts: Anna Ferri, Meghan Whyte, Matthew Murray, and one guest

Listen on their website, iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.

2. Book Fight!

If you’re looking for something with a slightly more irreverent edge, Book Fight! has your fix. Both of the podcast’s hosts are writing professors, and each episode offers an approximation of the conversations writers have in bars—arguments, tangents, swearing, and general silliness included.

The podcast won an award for Best Streaming Media at the Philly Geek Awards in 2015, and its showrunners are also very conscientious about guiding newcomers around their site, offering several different jumping-off points for those who don’t want to start at the first episode.

The Hosts: Mike Ingram and Todd McAllister

Listen on their website, iTunes, or Stitcher.

3. Books on the Nightstand

Although this podcast has regrettably shut down production, Books on the Nightstand is still one of the best book review podcasts out there. The two hosts bring great book reviews and recommendations to the table every episode, as well as unique behind-the-scenes dirt on the world of books, bookstores, and publishing. If you don’t mind listening to back episodes of a podcast, Books on the Nightstand makes for a cozy evening of book talk.

The Hosts: Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman

Listen on their website, iTunes, or Stitcher.

4. Read to Lead

Former radio personality Jeff Brown leads this more career-minded podcast. With an eye towards advancing leadership skills and personal growth through consistent, intentional reading, Brown chats with a new business book author each week; his guests have included John Maxwell, Liz Wiseman, Dan Miller, and Daniel Pink.

The Read to Lead Podcast has been ranked a Top 10 Business podcast and a Top 3 Career podcast on iTunes, and has twice been nominated for Best Business Podcast on the platform.

The Host: Jeff Brown

Listen on his website, iTunes, or Stitcher.

5. Literary Disco

Three celebrity best friends who happen to be ginormous bookworms chat cross-country about the stories they love. What’s not to enjoy?

The three hosts read just about everything—from YA to essays to articles to plays—and talk about them every episode. Sometimes they interview authors. Sometimes the authors interview them. Sometimes rants and silly games break out.

The Hosts: Julia Pistell, Tod Goldberg, and Rider Strong

Listen on their website, iTunes, or Stitcher.

6. Between the Covers

Hosted by David Niamon, this podcast has some serious star power. Featuring interviews and live readings from both established figures and up-and-comers in the literary world, the podcast covers fiction, nonfiction, and narrative poetry. Past guests include Ursula K. Le Guin, Maggie Nelson, and Roxanne Gay.

The podcast comes from the literary radio show of the same name broadcast in Portland, Oregon.

The Host: David Niamon

Listen on his website, iTunes, or Stitcher.

7. Fully Booked

For real “insider dirt” on the book industry, go to the experts: on the Fully Booked podcast, the editors at Kirkus Reviews give you the inside scoop on new books, interview your favorite authors, give you behind-the-scenes insights on the publishing world, and tell you whether the books on bestseller lists are actually worth your time.

The podcast has hosted personalities like Joe Hill, Matthew Weiner, and Gabrielle Zevin.

The Hosts: Clay Smith and Megan Labrise

Listen on or iTunes.

8. Lore

Looking for something on the more terrifying end of the totem? This award-winning, critically acclaimed podcast explores horror fiction—and the terrifying true stories that inform today’s scariest books. Lore delves deep into the shadowy side of history, dredging up the “creatures, people, and places of our wildest nightmares.”

Oh, and it’s also now an Amazon exclusive TV series.

The podcast is also extraordinarily well-produced, with excellent mood music by Chad Lawson.

The Host: Aaron Mahnke

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Spotify.

9. Levar Burton Reads

Remember how great Reading Rainbow was? Of course you do. And wouldn’t it be great if host Levar Burton had a show like that, but for adults? Of course it would be.

Well, ask and ye shall receive, because Levar Burton Reads is the best new read-aloud podcast in the past few years.

Levar Burton, of Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow fame, is a huge bookworm—as one might expect—and each week, he picks a new piece of short fiction to read and discuss on this podcast. Burton is a skilled narrator, and the unique voices and cadences he gives to the characters in each story makes Levar Burton Reads a wonderful listening experience.

The Host: Levar Burton

Listen on his website, iTunes, or Stitcher.

10. Two Book Minimum

The icon for this left-of-silly podcast sets the mood: a cartoon face with two huge tomes crammed in its mouth.

Dan Wilbur, creator of Better Book Titles, hosts this extraordinarily goofy podcast with two guests each episode. The guests are always one comedian and one author, and while their conversations about literature and publishing start serious, they quickly devolve into primo wacky hijinks.

The Host: Dan Wilbur

Listen on SoundCloud, iTunes, or Stitcher.

11. The Rabbit Room

For Christian book lovers and readers interested in theology, The Rabbit Room podcast acts as an extension of The Rabbit Room website, focusing primarily on Christian writers, artists, and musicians. The name comes from the name of the back room of the pub where the Oxford Inklings (C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams, among other Christian writers) would meet to discuss their stories.

The podcast itself, hosted by author/singer-songwriter Andrew Peterson, features music, reviews, interviews, and live readings.

The Host: Andrew Peterson

Listen on the website.

12. Lexicon Valley

Maybe this Slate Magazine-produced podcast isn’t about books, but it’s sure to get your inner word nerd stoked to read. Each episode, the hosts tackle a different sticky linguistic concept, including funky pronunciations, unusual spellings, and a frank discussion of the f-word.

If you’re a writer looking to expand your vocabulary or just get a better grasp of the English language and how it works, this is the podcast for you.

The Host: John McWhorter

Listen at, iTunes, or Stitcher.

13. Dear Book Nerd

This bi-weekly podcast features librarian Rita Meade talking to guests and friends from the world of books, be they authors, booksellers, publishers, or even fellow librarians. The host and her guests work together to answer readers’ burning book-related questions, challenges, and dilemmas; these discussions include advice over handling “reader’s guilt,” reading strong female characters, and decorating your house when you’ve got too many books.

The Host: Rita Meade

Listen at or Stitcher.

14. The Poetry Gods

The Poetry Gods are three poets/verse lovers on a mission to “show you how not to be wack in 2016 and beyond.” This project was created as a response to self-serious, over-academic poetry analysis on other podcasts—the podcast focuses on the joyful and often absurd world of poetry, and never takes itself too seriously.

Each episode includes an interview with an up-and-coming poet, riffing on current events, and a brief poetry reading.

The Hosts: Aziza Barnes, Jon Sands, and José Olivarez

Listen on their website, SoundCloud, iTunes, or Stitcher.

15. What Should I Read Next?

This podcast gives you exactly what it says on the label: if you’re looking to expand your to-be-read pile to cosmic proportions, this is the programming you’ve been waiting for.

Each week, popular book blogger Anne Bogel invites her guest to bring in three books they love, one they loathe, and one they’ve been reading that week. Then, based on that information, she makes her personal recommendation to the guest and her listeners.

The Host: Anne Bogel

Listen on her website, Modern Mrs. Darcy, iTunes, or Stitcher.

Do you have a favorite bookworm-centric podcast? Give us your recommendations in the comments below.

And if you’re looking for more reading recommendations or tips, you’re not far away:

  • 7 Dynamite Tips for Encouraging Your Kids to Read: Share the Magic of Books with Your Kids Today
  • Sustainable Reading and Publishing: How You Can Do Your Part to Help the Environment
  • Speed Reading Hacks: How to Triple Your Reading Speed While Improving Your Comprehension


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  • Bio
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As a Senior Editor at TCK Publishing, Jacob Mohr relishes the opportunity to work closely with the authors of tomorrow, creating new stories and exciting possibilities—and making the world a little more awesome, one book at a time. When he’s not editing someone else’s writing, Jacob can usually be found reading Stephen King, riding rollercoasters, or crafting his own stories.

Latest posts by Jacob Mohr (see all)

  • Dystopian Science Fiction Action Novel – May 27, 2019
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