Is there any online source where I can find major German books listed according to some reading ease index (Lesbarkeitsindex)?

I know this question has been already asked some years ago, but it got no replies. For the sake of clarity: I am not looking for a list of basic/interesting German books, although suggestions are welcome, but an instrument to measure how classical works (from Goethe onwards, say) score in terms of reading ease.

  • You mean where you can just type in the name of the book and get an index telling you how easy or difficult it is to read, right? Unfortunately I haven't found an index and have never heard of one. But if I find such a side, I will inform you! If you're looking for a really easy-to-read book-series, I recommend the "Learn German by Stories"-Series. (about level A2) amazon.de/Learn-German-Stories-Berlin-Beginners/dp/1492399493/…
    – asparagus
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 7:33
  • Flesch-Kincaid's index seems to be quite language-dependent (it's not clear to me how it's even bounded bellow, as claimed, by 0; applying it to Thomas Mann would give you perhaps a negative number).
    – c.p.
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 10:20
  • If you know yourself, that a question is a duplicate, upvote the original. If you have collected more reputation, award a bounty on the question. Since answering old questions, especially such without answers, will give you extra badges, and a search function for unanswered questions exists, they are noticed and don't get forgotten. Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 1:22

2 Answers 2


I am rather suspicious of any such index, but let's say they do measure something like readability/reading ease. As far as I can see all the indices are based on word/sentence length and related factors (number of syllables, etc). While these do matter, there are many other factors which play a role, particularly if you think of old literature:

  • usage of old-fashioned words,
  • outdated style/grammar
  • prose vs poetry or mix thereof
  • whether I am interested in the topic
  • ...

So, unless your interest is purely scientific, IMO there is very little practical value in any such index.


As native German I never heard of such an index. Of course there might be some scientists who try to create some rules by complexity of sentence structure and choice of words and so on. However it is not common to rule books like this in the public. Also writers would deny to be categorized like this.

The only thing I can think of there are German school books for different levels for specific ages.

So finally all this is very opinion based and really hard to answer. It always depends how to judge and which rules you want to apply for categorization. So this is why you can hardly find such a list.

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