17 Best Books to Learn Spanish for All Levels [2021]

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Learning to speak Spanish is indeed a delightful experience. Yet finding the best resources to make progress can be tricky, especially when it comes to books: there are just too many 4+rated options — and not all of them can be that good, or can they? 

Well, take a look at our list of the 15 best books to learn Spanish (plus sequels and workbooks) and get the shortcut you didn’t know you needed!

Note that I structured this article around all the different kinds of Spanish learning books for an easy understanding of how to create a complete self-teaching path.

Because beginners are the ones facing the biggest challenges, most options I’ve included here are aimed at them, but intermediate to advanced learners will find great-value audiobooks and grammar guides to choose from as well.

Editor’s note: To reach fluency faster, combine these books with apps such as Babble, work with an affordable tutor on italki, and build conversational skills with Pimsleur. More in this epic list of 40+ Spanish learning resources!

Best Spanish books for beginners

While students who know more than just a word or two in Spanish might have an easier time finding reliable material online, absolute first-timers usually feel like a fish out of water.

So I’m confident the three books to learn Spanish that I’ve listed below will come in handy and make you conquer Spanish 101.

1. Easy Spanish Step-by-Step

Easy Spanish Step-By-Step‘s focus on grammar will give you a solid framework to start mastering Spanish. I really like how it introduces the most important issues first and then moves on to less frequent topics.

By the end of it, you’ll have learned over 300 verbs and keywords through its 15 units and 150 superb exercises. 

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Beginners of all ages
  • People who’d rather concentrate on grammar before developing their conversation skills
  • Those who need tons of exercises to feel confident about the stuff they’ve just gone through

2. Getting Started with Spanish

“Getting Started with Spanish” is a great option for folks approaching a second language for the first time, in that it takes it slow so you won’t panic.

You’ll get to learn about the gender of nouns and the most important verb tenses pretty gradually. You’ll also benefit from pronunciation recordings and the authors’ commentary on each lesson, which you can download from the book’s exclusive website.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Total newcomers who don’t want to go too fast
  • People coming from languages with radically different sentence structures (e.g. Asian languages)
  • Self-teaching students, for this book might not enable the pace teachers normally set for their classes

3. Conversational Spanish Dialogues

With more than 100 dialogues to learn from, this is the perfect book for beginners in need of a quick understanding of Spanish communication structures.

It’s true that this shouldn’t be your only learning tool, but it will work wonders for your fluency if you’re still grappling with your first sentences. Each conversation in Spanish is followed by an English translation for your convenience. 

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Beginners who plan to travel to a Spanish-speaking country
  • People who once spoke some Spanish and would benefit from a refresher
  • Those already equipped with other grammar-oriented resources

4. Lonely Planet Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary

You’ve probably already heard of Lonely Planet travel guides. But did you know that Lonely Planet publishes phrasebooks and language guide books as well?

This book contains the Spanish phrases and vocabulary you will need during your trip to a Spanish-speaking country. It covers phrases related to food, transport, accommodation, and many more scenarios.

It’s small and lightweight, making it the perfect travel companion. It also comes in a Latin American version.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Travelers heading to a Spanish-speaking country
  • Learning the most essential Spanish vocabulary
  • Carrying around with you wherever you go

Best textbooks to learn Spanish

Textbooks are crucial when learning the Spanish language — or any foreign language — and more so if you’re teaching yourself.

And since I’m here to make your process easier and safer, I made sure to add to our list the best Spanish textbooks I could find on the web.

Don’t mind the order, though, and pick the one that best fits your needs.

5. Spanish Is Fun: Book 1 Lively Lessons

Over 500 pages long, Spanish is fun is more comprehensive than your average Spanish textbook.

It will have you practice your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills so as to be able to engage in simple conversations after you’re done — which is when you’ll want to move to volume 2.

Also, don’t forget to grab the workbook in the meantime.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Folks who love that traditional textbook feel
  • Beginners looking to advance in all aspects of language
  • Students taking their time to learn Spanish (otherwise check out no. 5)

6. No Nonsense Spanish Workbook

Well, this is as straightforward as it gets.

Meant for self-teaching Spanish language students, this 300-page Spanish textbook is actually pretty dense, which means absolute beginners might want to skip it.

Besides the many regular grammar and vocab exercises, it offers over 20 writing activities as well, which is unusual in a great way.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Lower to upper-intermediate level students
  • Spanish learners who are not classroom enthusiasts 
  • Those who are in a hurry to speak fluently

7. The Ultimate Spanish 101

What’s best about this book is that it was designed to be midway between faster courses and bulkier textbooks. It boasts an accompanying app that will lead you all the way to the lower intermediate level, focusing on authentic communication and vocab expansion.

It’s overall an exceptional book to learn Spanish.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Self-teaching students and teachers alike
  • Absolute newcomers
  • Those who don’t remember much from high school Spanish classes

Best Spanish grammar books

A lot of students flourish by focusing on more culture-oriented material (e.g. Spanish podcasts) and not worrying too much about grammar. Yet if you’re like me and need a more consistent basis to start off from, you’ll love these Spanish grammar books.

More seasoned learners should nonetheless have one of these in their collection of books to learn Spanish, if only for reference purposes.

8. Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Spanish Grammar

Among the Spanish learning books on our list, this is hands-down the most thorough.

Practice Makes Perfect’s 400+ pages of grammar can be used as a textbook or simply as a reference guide to your studies.

Offering 350 exercises across 26 units and featuring an app with exclusive audio content too, this is the best company for your beginner through advanced Spanish learning path.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Students to whom grammar is particularly challenging
  • Spanish speakers all the way through advanced, for reference purposes
  • Group classes

9. 501 Spanish Verbs

This book’s title is misleading: though indeed meant to help you conjugate over 2,300 verbs based on the 501 models provided, it might be more accurately described as a Spanish vocabulary book, thanks to its comprehensive list of synonyms, opposites, and expression following each conjugation.

With its brief grammar review on top of that, “501 Spanish Verbs” makes, among all books to learn Spanish, a one-of-a-kind study guide.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • All kinds of Spanish students and even native speakers, to be honest
  • Learners in trouble with verbs, especially those approaching a Romance language for the first time
  • People longing to be complimented on their conjugation game (you’ll love the feeling) 

10. Spanish Grammar (Quick Study)

Think a six-page chart won’t cover every basic aspect of Spanish grammar? You’re in for a surprise.

Fine, this is technically not a book, but it has the same purpose as one and is more practical than most; why not include it here, then?

Totaling impressive 20 topics, from syllable stressing, to pronouns, to verb conjugation, this is a fantastic tool for Spanish learners of all levels.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Attending classes and not carrying a cumbersome book around
  • Beginners seeking to take in new grammar rules
  • Intermediate to advanced learners feeling a bit rusty

Best audiobooks to learn Spanish

You already know that learning a language involves working on many skills. Since you don’t want to neglect listening either, I made sure to include some audiobooks on this list.

They’re particularly useful if you don’t have much time to study at home and would rather practice Spanish on the go.

11. Pimsleur Spanish Course

You may have already heard of the world-famous Pimsleur language courses. It’s based on the Pimsleur Method that’s designed to get you speaking, understanding, and reading quickly.

It’s essentially a comprehensive Spanish audio course that’s easy for beginners to follow. It’s accessible via smartphone, tablet, or desktop. At the end of the audio lesson, you can review the Spanish vocabulary you’ve just learned through flashcards and quizzes.

Pimsleur is a game-changer for many Spanish learners, so hop on their 7-day free trial and give it a go.

Click to: Try Pimsleur Spanish absolutely FREE today

This book is best for:

  • Both Castillan and Latin American Spanish
  • Those who want to focus on conversational skills
  • Learning on the go, in just 30 minutes a day

12. Learn Beginner Spanish Bundle

Whether you have a hard time with textbooks or are eager to turn that boring commute into an occasion to learn Spanish, this book is the perfect fit for you.

Concentrating on the Latin American dialect, this course consists of over 20 hours of content spread across 30 lessons (+10 bonus lessons).

And you can’t just stop here! The whole package will get you all the way through intermediate and advanced Spanish.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Students looking for a consistent learning path all the way to fluency
  • Latin American Spanish enthusiasts
  • Folks who enjoy following along with audio transcripts

13. Learn Spanish with Paul Noble for Beginners

Paul Noble is a language-teaching expert who, with the aid of both European and Latin American speakers to help you score the perfect pronunciation, will have you learn basic Spanish grammar and over 6,000 words in no time (or 13 hours and 21 minutes worth of content to be precise).

And the best thing is you’ll be able to follow up with his next steps.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • People wishing to learn how both sides of the Atlantic speak
  • Learners seeking in-depth explanations about grammar rules
  • Those who know very little to no Spanish at all

14. Yo No Soy Tu Perfecta Hija Mexicana

Not all of our picks are aimed at newcomers!

In fact, upper-intermediate to advanced learners are the ones who’ll make the most of this New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist by Mexican-American author Erika Sánchez.

Dense and provocative, this young adult novel was originally written in English, but the Spanish translation and the audiobook recording are truly first-class. 

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Advanced students or upper-intermediate ones in search of a challenge
  • Folks interested in stories about family issues
  • Learners who want to hone their listening skills

Spanish story books for beginners

Finding good books to read in Spanish online can be tough when you lack any recommendations, but you shouldn’t forget to take a break from grammar from time to time and learn through some lighter material.

So check out these short story collections to fall in love with Spanish even more intensely:

15. Short Stories in Spanish for Beginners

This is an amazing book to learn Spanish in that its eight stories spanning many genres (e.g. science fiction, history, and thriller) feature really natural-sounding dialogues.

What’s more: the grammar won’t make you panic, and it boasts an English-Spanish word list in a glossary for especially complicated words. Yet absolute beginners might want to skip this one and look into no. 14 instead.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Beginners to lower-intermediate level students
  • People who need to take their mind off the harder stuff
  • Learners with a penchant for European Spanish

16. First Spanish Reader

What I love about this book is how it introduces you to the best classics of Spanish literature through the most eclectic selection of authors: there’s medieval Don Juan Manuel besides magic realist Juan José Arreola and contemporary Juan José Millás.

Don’t fret over the grammar, though; these are all adaptations with complete English translations on the facing pages, and they’re all meant specifically for beginners.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • First-timers to students who know more than a couple sentences in Spanish
  • Beginners looking up to peek into Spanish-speaking literature
  • Learners who learn grammar from other sources

17. Spanish Short Stories for Beginners

The longest in our choice of storybooks, this nearly 300-page short story collection will help you learn Latin American in a fun and engaging way.

All ten stories featured here are followed by a set of exercises and provide English translations after each paragraph. And the best news is that if you enjoy this book as much as I did, you can buy volume 2.

Click to: Buy on Amazon / Buy on Book Depository

This book is best for:

  • Students who would rather learn Latin American Spanish
  • Readers battling with present tense conjugation, the cornerstone of most tales on here
  • People considering making a habit out of reading short stories in Spanish

Best way to teach yourself Spanish

While the books to learn Spanish that we covered here will hopefully be useful to all sorts of students, no learning path is truly complete when you stick to a single source. You should definitely mix in tools other than books to maximize your listening and speaking skills too.

If audio lessons and other listening-oriented material are the way to go, check out these awesome Spanish podcasts, apps, and courses for that language immersion you were looking for! Also, here’s a comprehensive list of the 40+ best Spanish resources such as websites, courses, YouTube channels, and even movies!

Conclusion

If you’re still debating whether Spanish is the language you should start learning right now, I promise all your doubts will cease after you get hooked on the many charms of Barcelona or on Colombia’s fascinating culture.

Just “hola, quĂ© tal?” won’t do to mingle with the locals in the coolest way. Get started with these lessons, then, with some of the books to learn Spanish I’ve recommended!

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