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Get Paid to Read Books: 12 Ways to Make Money as a Bibliophile

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I often juggle reading too many books at once. This doesn’t mean I actually finish reading all those books straight through. Nope.

Instead, this means I start a book one week then the next I start another book until I have too many books I am reading. Then I never finish until I get some solid time to wrap them up (and finally focus on one at a time and quit darting around like a book-obsessed chicken with its head cut off).

There is one thing that might motivate me to read each one all the way through with more focus – money. Or…more time in general to finish them all.

Either way, time and money go hand in hand. And with books, you can get paid for your time spent reading them.

Did you know you can actually get paid to read books (scam free)? Yea, for real.

There are plenty of ways to make money from being book-obsessed like me:

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

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

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Get paid up to $300 an hour to read books with a variety of different jobs and gigs reviewing books. The best thing about this money making venture is it can be done entirely from home or remotely as you travel. #getpaidtoreadbooks #bibliophile #sidehustle #readbooks #makemoney #sidegigs #freelance #reviewbooks
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Remote Jobs for Book Lovers

If you think about it, there are a lot of jobs that entail a lot of reading, especially books. Freelancing is the popular route for this one but there are also companies that hire for several skills around heaving reading, editing, narrating and more.

1. 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.

Let’s just say, it was an eventful week for me at work that week. I absolutely loved that book!

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

2. 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)

3. 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”.

Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation use to be 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

4. Copyediting

Copyediting in post image
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)

5. 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

Where to Find These Jobs

There are a variety of sites and job boards that list available work from home 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

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Get Paid to Review Books

In addition to being able to make an actual living from reading books, you can make pretty good money as a paid book reviewer. If you are already a bibliophile, why not get paid for it after you are finished reading your latest handheld addiction?

Even though the majority of these sites do not publish how much they pay per review job, it is still worth a shot to check them out.

Keep in mind that you can also become a freelance writer that specializes in book reviews and post your services up on sites like Fiverr and Upwork.

6. Online Book Club

A tablet and books
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

7. Women’s Review of Books

The Women’s Review of Books reviews books written by and about women. To be considered for review assignments, you have to first apply by sending in your resume, cover letter and any sample 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

8. 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

9. Any Subject Books

A woman looking at books.
A woman looking at books.

Any Subject Books works a little different than some of the other sites listed here that pay for honest reviews.

In order to write reviews for them you must:

  • Apply to be a book reviewer on their site
  • Once you’re accepted, they will send you offers to review books on a case-by-case basis

Once you accept an offer to review a book you will complete your write up on the form they supply you.

They do not publish how much they pay but it depends on the total word count of the book you are to read and review.

They are currently not accepting any more reviewers at this time. You can check back at this link to see when they open back up the application process.

Average Price: Depends on the word count of the book

10. 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: Not published on their site

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

11. BookBrowse

BookBrowse accepts applications for book reviewers that only have sample reviews to also 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

12. 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 [email protected].

Average Pay: Not published on their site

Related post: 35 Best Side Hustle Ideas

Tips for Writing The Perfect Book Review

Get paid to read books in post image
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.

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 make 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 before they hit the shelves in stores.
  • MySoapbox will pay you for your feedback on things you use, buy and do every day.

Related posts: Blogging as a Side Hustle: Mid Year Blog Checkin, Income, Redesign & More

March 2019 Side Hustle Income Report

Blogging For Beginners: 30+ Blogging Resources to Create and Maintain a Profitable Blog

Make Money Blogging: How I Made $1,174.86 In March 2018 Blogging

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.

Subscribe to get your free list of side hustles you can start this week!

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