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Get Paid to Read Books: 14 Ways to Make Money Reading Books

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Last Updated on June 9, 2021 by Daniella

Did you know that you can get paid to read books?

No, seriously. The average American reads 12 books a year and they could be making extra money from their reading.  Book related jobs can also be your gateway to high income skills and earning more money.

If you love to read books and discussing what you read, you could find a book related job and work from wherever you want.

There are plenty of ways to make money from being book-obsessed such as:

  • Jobs that involve reading books, editing, narrating and reading aloud, etc
  • Getting paid from websites to review the books you read

If you are on the lookout for the perfect side hustle or just need some extra cash, all of these gigs can also be done on the side of a full-time job.

Let’s dive in and learn some ways you can start generating a side hustle income with books.

How to Get Paid to Read Books With These Online Jobs and Side Hustles

There are several jobs and many which are entirely online that you can do from home or anywhere in the world. From freelancing on the side to  full-time work from home jobs, these book related gigs will give you some ideas to start with.

Don’t forget to take the side hustle quiz and find out if something like getting paid to read books is the perfect side hustle for you.

Audiobook Narration

A woman recording a narration
A woman recording a narration.

I love listening to audiobooks when I am cleaning, working or working on the blog. The last audiobook I listened to was Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier.

With that specific audiobook, we all know that is Grant’s voice (if you’ve ever seen him somewhere like FinCon). But for several other audiobooks, people hire out the narration of their audiobook.

Especially with the rise of Audible, the demand for audiobook narrators is climbing.

To get started narrating, you will need some equipment like a mic, pop screen, headphones, recording and editing software, a quiet space and a computer.

Depending on the rates you charge, you could expect to make anywhere between $100 per hour to as much as $300 per hour. You can also join groups and unions for benefits and the protection of your pay. Those who belong to the entertainment union SAG-AFTRA make a minimum of $225 per hour.

Average Pay: $100 – $225 per hour

Freelance Read Manuscripts

Just like a freelance writer, you can also be a freelance reader and get paid to read anything from online articles to books and unpublished manuscripts.

Many literary management agencies receive such a large amount of manuscripts that they could never possibly get to all of them. So they hire a lot of the reading from the “slush pile” out to freelance readers.

Literary agents pay anywhere from $25 to $100 an hour to their freelance readers.

But what are the duties of this oddly cool job? These are actually pretty straightforward and similar to giving a book report. You read through the manuscript and compile a 2-3 page report about your opinion of it. Then you are to give a recommendation on whether the agency should represent it or pass on it.

You also will give a basic description of all the main characters, plot points and analysis of any hidden messages and symbolism.

Average Pay: $25 – $100 per hour

Related post: How to Calculate Your Freelance Rate (Taxes Included)

Editor

I think “Book Editor” and I think of some high-status job at a well-known publisher. But nope, there are all type of “Editors”. Many editors could also be considered virtual assistants (or VAs) and work on a freelance basis. 

Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation was once an ebook freelance editor for ebooks mostly on Kindle and Amazon. He actually got his first few clients through Fiverr.

I started my freelance editing business as a little side project experiment, and actually got my first customers through Fiverr. 

My original gig was $5 for 500 words, but since most books are much longer, it added up to some pretty healthy orders. My biggest was over $1000. 

It probably worked out to $25-35 an hour. 

I niched down from the very beginning, saying I only edited non-fiction, and within that category preferred business and self-help — categories I felt I could add the most value.

Eventually I got clients from word of mouth in a few self publishing Facebook groups and even as a preferred vendor with a popular self publishing course. 

– Nick Loper, Side Hustle Nation

Average Pay: $25 – $35 per hour

Copyediting

A person copyediting a book to get paid to read books
A person copyediting a book.

At first glance, copyediting may not seem that different than editing. Actually, they are very different.

Editors are usually subject matter experts and strive to improve the flow, structure, and logic of a piece. Copyeditors focus more on a sentence-by-sentence basis of the content (or copy of the book) rather than the content as a whole.

Some editing can involve also copyediting. It just depends on who your editor is and what their services entail. Copyediting mainly involves grammar, spelling and punctuation correction, ensuring proper sentence structure, removing wordiness and redundancy, and formatting.

Proofreaders are often copyeditors as well and can work entirely remote as part-time and full time. I recommend this 76-minute FREE online workshop that introduces how to create a profitable proofreading/copyediting online business.

Average Pay: $25 – $35 per hour

Related post: 11 Legit Online Jobs For College Students ($15/Hour or More)

Publisher

If you’ve done most of the above for the majority of your working life, you already know books inside and out. You know how to make them beautiful and most importantly, how to sell the crap out of them. Then the next logical step is publishing, am I right?

The sky is the limit on this one. You could either self publish your own work or start putting together some contacts and a small business plan to start your own publishing business.

The potential success of publishing companies depends on a variety of factors.

According to BizFluent, publishers make around $130,000 a year but not every publisher makes the same amount of money. It all depends on your specific business model, how many books you are publishing and the success of those books and authors.

I personally love this guide for starting your own publishing business by Kindlepreneur.

Average Pay: $130,000 per year

Related post: 19 Passive Income Ideas to Stop Trading Time for Money

Get Paid to Read and Write Book Reviews: Sites That Pay You to Write Book Reviews

Just like getting paid to read books for a work from home job or online side hustle, you can also make money by writing reviews on the books you read.

Browse these top sites that pay people to write book reviews for them.

Online Book Club

A tablet and books on a desk with bookshelf in background.
A tablet and books on a desk.

Online Book Club is a free online community for book lovers that has been around for over 10 years. They also pay cash for book reviews.

I spoke to someone who regularly reviews books for Online Book Club and this is what she has to say about her experience:

At the start, you may only get $5 or so per book. As you build up your reputation with them and meet certain metrics, you get access to higher-paying books. I currently get between $15-$30 per book I review. I am not at the highest tier. I believe those who have been with the site longer may get paid more.

Most of the books are Kindle or some electronic format, though occasionally you by the physical book and submit a receipt for reimbursement.

All genres are available. I tend to read fantasy, poetry, memoir, etc. I don’t read romance, historical fiction, crime dramas (for the most part), but all of those are available. I link to all the books I’ve reviewed for them on my blog.

One of the big rules is that the reviews must be original and cannot be republished elsewhere, only linked to.

– Erin Shanendoah, erinshanendoah.com

Average Pay: $5 – $30 per book review

Related post: 15 Side Hustle Apps to Make Extra Money

Women’s Review of Books

The Women’s Review of Books reviews books written by and about women. To be considered for reviewing assignments, you have to first apply by sending in your resume, cover letter and any samples of published reviews you’ve done in the past.

If you don’t have any past published reviews to include, I suggest including write-ups of any reviews of books you’ve recently read. You can also include any writing samples you might have online.

They are looking for reviewers who:

  • Write lively and thought-provoking pieces
  • Your writing should appeal to a broad range of audiences
  • Can meet a deadline

Average Pay: $0.14 per word

Writerful Books

Writerful Books is always on the lookout for book reviewers.

They are an author services company that provides services like beta reading and book reviewing. The best thing about this gig though is you can review any book you want for them.

To apply, you’ll have to be able to provide previous book review samples. If you don’t have these I encourage you to draft any of the recent books you’ve read both for practice and submission.

Refer to this job listing for more information.

Average pay: $10 to $50 per review

The U.S. Review of Books

The U.S. Review of Books hires freelance writers to write book reviews for them.

In order to apply you must:

They also accept guest bloggers for their online publication (these are the types of articles they normally publish). If you are interested in this as well, email their editor your article of 300 – 500 words using the same email link above.

Average Pay: Not published on their site

getAbstract

A woman looking at books in a bookstore
A woman looking at books in a store

getAbstract summarizes nonfiction books into 10-minute bites so if you’re a nonfiction book lover, this is the perfect site to start with.

Currently, they are hiring science and technology writers to summarize magazine articles and books.

In order to write reviews for them you must:

  • Go to their careers page to apply
  • If selected, you are paid on a freelance basis

Average Price: Freelance basis

Booklist Online

Booklist is “the American Library Association’s prepublication review journal for public and school librarians”. They publish approximately a whopping 8,000 book reviews per year to help librarians with selection, collection, development, categorization, and reader’s advisory.

They follow a “recommend only” policy which means everything that they review is to be recommended for purchase by libraries.

Guidelines of a Booklist review include:

Freelance opportunities are limited as most feature articles are assigned by editors.

Average Pay: Up to $15 per review

Related post: Teach English Online: 10 Companies That Will Pay You to Teach and Work From Anywhere

Reedsy Discovery

On Reedsy Discovery, you don’t get paid by the site or a freelance basis but via tips from the readers reading your reviews.

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up as a reviewer on Reedsy to get exclusive access to read self-published books before anyone else
  • Build up a brand as a reviewer on Reedsy to liaise with authors who contact you directly for a review
  • Go through the application process
  • Once accepted you can start reading and reviewing 
  • Readers will usually send $1, $3, or $5 as a token of appreciation

Average pay: Tips

BookBrowse

BookBrowse accepts applications for book reviewers that only have sample reviews to submit with their application. However, they do not specify if these samples have to be published or not.

BookBrowse reviews both fiction and non-fiction books, they pay monthly and are U.S. Based.

A good review for them includes:

  • Good quality
  • 300 words

Read more about BookBrowse here.

Average Pay: Not published on their site

Kirkus Media

Kirkus Media Reviews is currently hiring for book reviewers on a freelance/project basis. You can work from anywhere and must be an experienced book reviewer of English and/or Spanish-language titles.

Some further requirements include:

  • Reviews are 350 words
  • Reviews are due 2 weeks after the book is assigned

To apply, submit your resume, writing samples, and a list of genres you specialize in, to Kirkus Indie Editor David Rapp at Drapp@kirkus.com.

Average Pay: Not published on their site

Tips for Writing The Perfect Book Review

Get paid to read books in post image. Woman hidden in the back of books.
A pile of books on a desk.

Anyone can write a summary about the book they just read. I mean, didn’t we all week after week in grade school with book reports?

Please, that’s child’s play. We are talking about full-fledged reviews here.

Important tips to keep in mind when writing a book review:

  • Describe the plot, your readers want to know what the book is about.
  • Find your voice and voice your opinion.
  • Your review must be well written and entertaining (meaning someone would actually enjoy reading it).
  • Pick out the most important aspects of the book.
  • Keep it short. The absolute maximum number of words out of all the sites listed is 500 words (Women’s Review and U.S. Review) so they should be straight to the point.
  • You must meet the deadlines.
  • Keep it professional – you are getting paid for your work after all.

Where to Find Work From Home Jobs & Side Hustles to Get Paid to Read Books

There are a variety of sites and job boards that list available work from home jobs and remote jobs. You have your normal ones like Indeed, Glassdoor, Linkedin, and even Craigslist.

Then there are ones that are specifically perfect for book-loving gigs:

  • FlexJobs – FlexJobs specialty is remote-jobs, hence the “Flex” part of the name. And with remote jobs, a lot of them can include editing, proofreading, narration, etc.
  • BookJobs – A centralized place for job seekers to find and research available positions throughout the publishing industry.
  • Publishers Weekly – Their job zone includes a range of jobs from copyediting, design, editorial, marketing, publicity, operations and more.
  • Fiverr – A platform for freelancers to market their skills for freelance reading, editing, copyediting, and more.
  • Upwork – Similar to Fiverr where you can create a freelancer profile and market your skills to those looking to hire.

Related post: 15 Remote Jobs That Pay More Than $15 Hourly

More Ways to Get Paid to Read:

If you are so much of a book worm, maybe consider creating a blog where you publish all of your favorite book reviews in one place. You can earn money from affiliate links, advertising, sponsorships and more.

It’s worth a thought, for sure. I love blogging. Even though it can take a lot of time and work to be constantly creating content and maintaining a site, it has become a passion of mine.

Much like reading, writing can be that way. It hooks us in so much and expands our minds beyond ways we never unlocked before.

Quick Cash Opportunities for Reading and Reviews:

  • BookScouter is where you can buy and sell textbooks for the best possible price online.
  • InboxDollars will pay you to read emails and you’ll get a $5 signup bonus. Sign up for the Android app here and the IOS app here.
  • Nielsen will pay you for using your internet as you normally would every day (including what you read using the internet).
  • Pinecone will pay you to review products (by taking surveys) before they hit the shelves in stores. They pay $3 per survey.
  • Toluna is another great website that pays you for your opinion.
  • MySoapbox will pay you for your feedback on things you use, buy and do every day.
  • Swagbucks will pay you for sharing your opinion via online surveys and other tasks (like playing games) that can be done from your phone (and make money from home).

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make money reading books?

You can make money by getting a job that entails a lot of reading, sign up to be a book reviewer, or start a blog about books where you write articles about the books you’ve read, including reviews and other blog content.

Are there jobs that pay you to read books?

Yes there are several jobs that pay you to read books like:

  • Book editor or copyeditor
  • Publisher
  • Audiobook narrator
  • Translator
  • Blogger

How much do book readers get paid?

Book readers can get paid anywhere from $10 per book review to as much as over $200 an hour for a book related job like an audiobook narrator.

Can I get paid to read books outloud?

You can absolutely get paid to read books outloud. Some jobs that pay for this service are:

  • Audiobook narrator
  • Podcast host
  • Reading to students online (like an online teacher with VIPKID)

Wrapping It Up + Actionable Steps

If you want to start getting paid for your reading, first identify what sort of jobs you want to do. Is it reading with feedback, narrating, editing, copyediting, etc that interest you? Or do you want to be involved on a larger scale like with publishing?

Or do you want to take a less formal approach and only review the books that you love reading? Maybe want to try your hand at freelancing?

After you identify how you want to monetize your reading hobby, start researching as much as possible about how you can start getting gigs and getting paid. Then it’s all about taking action from there.

Without any action, you will be just another bibliophile like the rest of us.

Which isn’t a bad thing.

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9 thoughts on “Get Paid to Read Books: 14 Ways to Make Money Reading Books”

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  5. Awesome post! Thanks for all of the resources you provided. I love reading books and will have to check these out! Much appreciated.

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