Get Paid to Read Books
If you love reading, there are several opportunities for you to get paid to read books.
Some are best suited for for those looking for a low cost side hustle that will earn you some extra money. Others are potentially lucrative and could turn into full time employment in the book publishing industry or a business of your own.
Here are several ideas to help you get paid to read:
Here’s a good side hustle for people who like to read: proofreading.
Publishing houses, self published authors, and anyone who writes anything for public consumption need skilled proofreaders. That includes fiction and non-fiction.
Proofreading requires meticulous attention to detail. Proofreaders also need thorough knowledge of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
If you don’t have a lot of experience in the book publishing business or samples of your work, potential clients might ask you to take a test or proofread a sample document for them.
You can work from home or anywhere you have access to Wi-Fi and proofreading is a pretty good side hustle for introverts. There are no set hours for freelancers, but there are deadlines. Freelance proofreaders on gig economy platforms and freelance job boards like Upwork charge between $30 and $40 an hour.
Copyediting is a bit more specialized than proofreading. Besides fixing typos and correcting spelling, copyeditors make more substantial edits. Copyeditors interested in editing books can find freelance opportunities and full-time job opportunities with publishing companies and indie authors.
A good copyeditor will address style, formatting, clarity, and flow in addition to grammar. You might also do some fact checking or suggest changes that make the writing more readable.
Pay rates for freelance copyeditors vary based on the type of editing required and other factors related to each job. Clients might pay book editors per word, per page, per hour, or a flat rate. The Editorial Freelancers Association suggests the going rate in the freelance editing business is between $30 and $60 an hour. Freelance book editing jobs ends to pay toward the higher end of the range.
If you’re interested in a career as a copyeditor or want to start copyediting on a freelance basis, you might want to pursue a copyediting certificate. A certificate adds credibility and could help you get your foot in the door if you’re just starting out. You’ll also strengthen your existing skills and likely learn new ones.
Several colleges, universities, and professional organizations offer copywriting certificate programs. There are both online and in person courses available. Here are a few to look into:
The ability to communicate in multiple languages is a highly in-demand skill for freelancers and other job seekers. Translating written works from one language to another could be a good side gig for someone who loves to read and is bilingual.
Authors and publishers are always looking to reach a wider audience and break into new markets. As such, fiction and non-fiction books alike get translated into multiple languages.
To make money translating books and other written works, you’ll need a thorough understanding of at least two languages. Two semesters of high school Spanish will not cut it. If you grew up in a bilingual household and have spoken two languages your entire life, your skills could be in high demand.
Based on the type of material, you might also need some knowledge of idioms, slang, technical terms, and cultural differences to ensure that your translation reads well.
The pay varies widely and finding steady work can be a challenge as many translation jobs for books and other written materials are one-off gigs.
You can create a profile on Upwork and reply to anyone looking for a translator or post gigs on Fiverr to attract clients, but there are also translation agencies that connect translators with customers. In addition to books, many translation agencies handle online content like blog posts, sales pages, and email newsletters. These agencies take a cut, but you get access to translation jobs you wouldn’t be able to get on your own.
Agencies will generally require a fluency test before working with you. Certification from the American Translators Association might let you bypass any fluency tests or earn higher rates. Translators who pass an ATA examination are certified in a specific language pair and direction (from or into English).
Pay rates for translation jobs fall into a wide range. You may get paid per word, per page, hourly, or a flat rate. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median pay for translators at $49,930 per year or $24 per hour as of May 2018.
Get Paid to Narrate Audiobooks
If you can speak clearly and you have a compelling voice, you can make money narrating audiobooks. You’ll get paid to read books aloud cover to cover. It’s a good side hustle for book lovers, the pay is decent, and there aren’t a lot of startup costs or ongoing expenses.
Writers don’t want to miss out on more exposure and an extra stream of revenue. No matter how many copies of books they sell, the can make additional money with an audio version as the audiobook market is growing. They’ll often hire someone to narrate their books so they can be sold on popular audiobook marketplaces including Amazon, Audible and iTunes.
You don’t need formal vocal training, a background in acting, or a fancy home studio to find work as an audiobook narrator. Voice training and acting experience could certainly help, but they’re not a requirement. All you really need to get started is:
- A computer
- A good microphone, a mic stand, and a pop filter
- Audio recording software like Audacity, which is free and excellent
- A sample audio file of your voice
As with most freelance gigs, the payment rates for audiobook narration vary. An experienced narrator might make $25 for a short children’s book or you might make hundreds for a 6-10 hour business audiobook. Experienced narrators with good reviews command higher rates.
To score a higher paying gig, have a look at Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). This online platform connects audiobook narrators with authors. You can choose either an hourly rate or a percentage of the royalties from sales.
For more platforms, see How to Get Paid to Read Books Aloud.
Best-selling fiction writers are great at telling a riveting tale. Successful non-fiction authors are highly skilled at explaining things in an easy-to-understand way.
Where both fiction and non-fiction writers might come up a little short on talent is in getting their work ready for selling in ebook form.
There are many frustrating technical challenges that come with producing ebooks from book manuscripts. For example, the most popular ebook reader (Kindle) doesn’t support the most popular ebook format (EPUB).
Rather than fuss with creating a clickable table of contents or making sure images align properly, many authors would rather pay someone to handle the technical stuff for their digital books.
That’s where your opportunity lies.
You can offer your ebook conversion services. You get paid while authors get to focus on their writing.
You might receive a Word doc then then convert it to popular ebook formats like MOBI for Kindle and EPUB for other platforms, making sure margins, spacing, and images look good. HTML and image editing skills as well as familiarity with apps like Word, InDesign, and Calibre are good to have.
Pay rates for ebook conversion services vary based on the author’s requirements. I’ve seen fees for ebook conversion services ranging anywhere from $15 for a short, very basic document to $250 for complex technical manuals or image heavy works.
They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but standout covers generate interest and attract clicks on sites like Amazon. If you have solid graphic design skills, authors and publishers are also willing to pay for ebook covers. The prices book cover designers charge run the gamut, but typically fall somewhere between $25 and $100 for a one off cover on freelance websites.
Starting your own blog about books gives you the freedom to write about the kind of books you enjoy reading most in your own writing style. It also gives you the chance to earn via multiple revenue streams, including affiliate commissions through direct links to products you recommend, display ads, recurring subscriptions, or sponsored posts.
To make it as a book blogger, in addition to being a voracious book reader, you’ll need writing skills. You also need enough technical savvy to set up and maintain WordPress or another content management system. You might consider focusing on a specific niche like young adult fiction, graphic novels, mysteries, romance or whatever floats your boat to find your fans.
With book blogging, you won’t get results overnight. It can take a long time to develop an audience and build traffic to your blog. If you’re patient, consistent, and persistent, you could earn money for reading through blogging.
Examples of Successful Book Blogs
Here are some excellent book blogs for inspiration:
As with book blogging, starting a podcast about books gives you the freedom to read, review, and discuss any type of book you like, rather than being given an assignment. Also like blogging, podcasting requires technical skill, familiarity with tools like audio editing software, and the perseverance to keep going until you build a large enough audience to generate revenue.
You can monetize a podcast through paid sponsorships, joining an ad network, or using Patreon for monthly recurring revenue from paid subscribers.
Examples of Successful Book Podcasts
Here are a few popular book related podcasts:
Start a YouTube Channel
Book lovers are finding a home and building communities on YouTube. If you don’t mind being on camera, you can share your takes on your favorite books, review recently released titles, or do bookshelf tours. Whether you prefer the classics, sci-fi, YA fiction, or any genre, your audience is out there.
Content creators on YouTube can monetize through AdSense ads, affiliate links, sponsored videos, and donations or subscriptions.
Examples of Successful Booktubers
Here are some popular BookTubers finding success and thousands of subscribers on YouTube:
If the idea of becoming a YouTuber appeals to you as a way to make extra money, but you’re not ready to put yourself out there, here are some ideas for starting a YouTube channel without showing your face.
Make Money Writing Book Reviews
Another way to get paid to read books is to become a reviewer. Writing book reviews for money might be an OK side hustle for book readers willing to share their honest opinions. There are plenty of legit sites that offer book review opportunities.
You’ll provide book summaries, opinion, and your unique insights. You’ll also be supplying book review websites with content, helping authors gain publicity, helping your fellow readers, and you’ll get paid for your efforts.
Unfortunately, the pay for writing book reviews online isn’t great. Some online publications pay in free books rather than cash. You might make anywhere from $15 to $100 per review.
10 Sites that Pay You to Write Book Reviews
Book review websites, literary magazines, and other online publications often hire freelancers to write reviews. Each review site has its own style and requirements.
Some are looking for experienced book reviewers to write thorough criticism. Others are looking for honest reviews from passionate fans of a particular genre.
Most book review sites will want to know what types of books you enjoy reading and see at least 1 sample review of one of your favorite books as part of the application process. A couple ask for a resume, cover letter, professional references, writing samples, a summary of your credentials, or some combination.
Before contacting any of the sites below, read as many of their reviews as you can to get a sense of their style and standards. That will help you decide if you’re a good fit.
Online Book Club
Online Book Club is a popular book review website and community for book lovers that pays reviewers $5 to $60 per review. You won’t get paid for your first review, but you get a free book. You’re eligible for payments after they accept your first review.
The process for signing up as an Online Book Club book reviewer is straightforward. Create a username, choose the type of books you like to read, and provide your PayPal email address. Once you’re signed up, you can look through the list of books waiting for reviews.
Online Book Club looks for honest reviews with a summary of the book, your thoughts on it, and a star rating from 1 to 4. They’re looking for genuine reviews, so don’t feel like you have to write a positive review to get paid.
You’re also assigned a reviewer score based on factors including the quality of your work and how many views your reviews get. For every 30 reviews you provide, you get a $25 Amazon gift card.
The U.S. Review of Books
The U.S. Review of Books hires freelancers to write book reviews for their website. They’ve published reviews for thousands of books across every genre. Their tagline is “Professional Reviews for the People” so that should give you an idea of the quality they’re aiming for.
The U.S. Review of Books does not randomly assign reviews to any freelance writer available. They post a list of book titles up for review. Reviewers can submit their preferences.
Assignments are handed out in order of request and based on whether you’re a good fit based on your experience, interests, and background.
A standard review runs 250-300 words and copy conforms to the Chicago Manual of Style. You’ll have 2 to 3 weeks to complete your review.
Reviewers get payments monthly by check for all reviews completed during the previous month. Check out some of their book reviews. If you’d like to pursue the opportunity, apply to write reviews for the US Review of Books.
BookBrowse is an online magazine for book lovers that seeks and recommends the best in fiction and nonfiction titles. They only feature books they consider enjoyable to read.
They pay $50 for an honest review of about 600 words. You’ll also write a “Beyond the Book” article that dives deeper into one interesting aspect of the book as a companion to your review.
To write book reviews for BookBrowse, you’ll need 2 sample book reviews of at least 300 words. You’ll also have to fill out a short form with some basic information about you.
Visit this page to apply: Becoming a Reviewer for BookBrowse. It might take a while to hear back as they get swamped with book reviewer applications.
Kirkus Reviews is a well known and highly respected source of book reviews and services for authors. If you’ve spent any time browsing popular titles on Amazon, you’ve probably seen snippets from a Kirkus review in some book descriptions.
They’re looking for freelance book reviewers to write reviews of English and Spanish language titles covering all kinds of books in almost every genre. You are expected to complete your 350 word review within two weeks.
To apply, check the careers page on KirkusReviews.com for instructions on how to review books for Kirkus Media.
The American Library Association publishes Booklist, a book review magazine that aims to help librarians and readers select books. Booklist reviews fiction, nonfiction, and young adult titles, as well as audiobooks and DVDs.
Booklist publishes approximately 8,000 book reviews per year. In order to maintain that kind of publishing volume, they do accept freelance book reviews on a book-by-book basis.
Standard reviews can be up to 175 words. If the book is outstanding, reviews can be up to 225 words with an editor’s approval. That’s obviously not a lengthy review, which is why Booklist bills its reviews as “the haiku of book reviewing.”
Booklist Publications pays $15 per review and they pay $5 for a rejected review. If you’d like to become a freelance book reviewer for Booklist, familiarize yourself with the guidelines then contact the appropriate editor with samples of your writing. Get started here: Writing for Booklist
Women’s Review of Books
The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College publishes the Women’s Review of Books, which provides in-depth reviews of books by and about women. The types of books WRB reviews include scholarly works, fiction, poetry, and memoirs by women.
Academics, journalists, and experienced reviewers contribute most of the reviews. The compensation is $100 per review.
If you would like to write book reviews for the publication, contact Women’s Review of Books.
Writerful Books is an author services company providing a number of services for indie book authors. They also publish book reviews on their website. They look for passionate readers to write insightful reviews of books in their favorite genre.
Writerful Books pays $10 to $50 per review depending on how comprehensive the review is. The reviewer who publishes the most quality reviews also gets a $100 Amazon gift card.
If you want to write reviews for Writerful Books and get paid to read, check out the guidelines and apply through this link: Paid Book Reviewers Wanted
Publishers Weekly is a weekly news magazine that bills itself as “the bible of the book business.” They publish industry news, interviews, and book reviews across a wide range of genres.
Book reviews appear in advance of a book’s publication and average around 200 words. They have a database of reviews available to subscribers going back to 1987 so your work will potentially get a lot of exposure.
To write reviews for Publishers Weekly, you’ll need a resume, examples of your past work, and a sample review of a recently published book. They’re not currently looking for book reviewers, but keep an eye on their jobs page.
Bethany House is a publisher of Christian Books. They look for fans of Christian non-fiction and fiction books to help promote their book launches and Christian authors through reviews. They’re looking for reviewers with an established audience through YouTube, social media, or a book blog.
There’s no mention of payment in cash for book reviews, but you do get free books in exchange for your review. If you love Christian fiction and nonfiction, getting paid in free books and writing reviews you can use in your portfolio might be worth it. They get many applications for book reviewers so you might not hear back from them for up to three months.
Moody Press is another Christian book publisher with a blogger review program. They require you to post your honest review on your blog and on another site like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
If you participate in the program, you won’t get paid, but you will get free copies of the Christian titles you review. The details of the program are here: Moody Publishers Blogger Review Program.
Making Money Reading Books
You can get paid to follow your passion for reading. An avid reader looking for extra cash or a new job can find plenty of opportunities to read and earn money doing it inside and outside of the book industry.
You might consider a career in proofreading or editing for book publishing companies. You could start a side hustle book reviewing or reading books aloud for Amazon authors. If you love to read, you might just end up following your passion and reading books for money.