Are you a bibliophile? Are you the sort of person who always has their head in a book?
Or perhaps you used to be a real bookworm when you were younger, but you dropped the habit as you got older and busier.
Well, here’s a way to get you reading regularly again – and making money from it!
Yes, it’s possible to get paid to read books at home!
From paid book reviewer jobs, to writing book summaries for money, to working for aspiring authors and helping to get new books published – you can spend your days curled up reading and get paid for it.
Here are 11 clever ways to make money reading books:
Become a paid book reviewer
If you ended up reading this article, you probably read a lot anyway just for fun. Perhaps you also write up reviews of the books you finish on Goodreads or a similar site, to help you keep track.
Imagine if you could get paid to review books? Well, you can!
There are plenty of sites that pay you to read books and post your reviews online.
Note: you should think of reviewing books for money as more of a fun side hustle than a full time job opportunity. Most of these sites don’t pay very well. Plus, the work can be inconsistent.
But, if you really love reading and discovering new authors, getting paid to review books can be a fantastic bonus for something you’d do anyway!
Plus, most of these sites will give you free books – which means big savings if you have an expensive reading habit!
Just be warned: paid book reviewer jobs can be kind of competitive.
Most of these jobs require writing samples. And it goes without saying that you should be a passionate and insightful reader.
If you are interested in how to become a book reviewer and get paid, but you don’t yet have any experience, I would strongly recommend you invest some time writing unpaid reviews to publish on Goodreads or your own blog (more on this below!).
This will help you build up writing samples and credibility that you can use to apply for paid work.
Anyway, here’s a list of sites where you can review books for money:
Kirkus is an established company that offers various services to self-published and indie writers, including book reviews, editing and marketing.
At the time of writing, they are accepting applications for freelance book reviewers for Kirkus Indie, which focused on indie authors and self-published books. They pay cash for book reviews in many different genres. Reviews should be around 350 words in length.
You can apply by sending your resume and writing samples to the email address on the Kirkus Media careers page. Keep an eye on this page for potential other publishing job opportunities, such as editing or marketing!
Online Book Club
Online Book Club is a well established website for book lovers. They send out free books to anyone interested in reviewing. Your first review will be unpaid, but after that you can earn between $5 and $60 per review.
Online Book Club demands honest reviews – unlike some sites where authors will pay for good reviews!
Sign up to become a reviewer here.
Bonus: you can also sign up to their mailing list for a free or heavily discounted book every day!
Publishers Weekly is a publishing industry magazine and website. At the time of writing, they are seeking experienced freelance book reviewers to cover various genres. In particular, they say they are looking for ‘members of diverse communities’ – so if that’s you, it’s well worth applying!
To apply, send a resume and sample review to the email address listed on their job page.
The US Review of Books
The U.S. Review of Books hires freelance writers to write book reviews. You’ll need a resume, writing sample and references to apply – see the full requirements here.
Once you’re accepted, you can apply to review specific books that interest you, and you’ll be assigned to write about the books that best fit your profile.
Book Browse is a review site for people who love to read. They offer ‘modest payment’ for approved book reviews. On average, you can expect to write one review per month.
You should have two sample reviews of at least 300 words each to apply. If you’re ready, apply here.
This site is currently requesting book review submissions in the genres of contemporary fiction, historical and literary fiction, and recent non-fiction.
Initial reviews will be unpaid, but if you become a ‘trusted reviewer’ you may be offered a fee of $10 to $50 per review. There is also a chance to earn a $100 Amazon gift voucher for submitting unpaid reviews.
Learn more here.
Booklist is a journal for librarians, to help them select new books for their shelves or to recommend to readers.
They have a limited amount of opportunities for freelance writers to submit book reviews and blog posts. Each review should be up to 175 words, and is paid up to $15.
To apply, send writing samples to the editor in charge of the section you wish to write for. You can read the full guidelines here.
Women’s Review of Books
Women’s Review of Books is published by Wellesley Centers for Women. It’s a feminist publication that focuses on writing by and about women. They are looking for experienced and thought-provoking reviewers.
To start the application process, send your resume, cover letter and samples of published reviews to the contact on this page. Their rate of pay is 14 cents per published word (or $100 to tenured faculty members).
This is a site to connect self-published authors with readers interested in getting their hands on new independent writing. If you’re accepted as a reviewer, you’ll get access to hundreds of books for free.
Reedsy doesn’t pay their reviewers, but other readers can send ‘tips’ of a few dollars if they enjoyed a review! I’m not sure how much money you would realistically make from tips, but it might be worth a try.
Learn more here.
If you’re an avid reader who loves writing book reviews and discussing books, another option is to become a book blogger.
Unlike the sites listed above, you won’t get paid per review if you publish on your own blog. It will take longer to see an income.
But, you’ll be building up your own brand and business, and this can be much more profitable in the long run.
Running a book blog is also just a great way to develop your writing style and just build up some samples of your work to show when you apply for book reviewer jobs on a freelance basis.
So how will you actually make money with your book blog?
Well, there are a few different ways:
When you recommend a book to your audience, it’s only natural to provide a link where they can buy it online.
If somebody buys through your link, some retailers will pay you a commission!
That’s called affiliate marketing, and it’s a fantastic way to monetise a book blog while providing a useful service to your readers.
Amazon has its own affiliate program, which is very useful for book bloggers. Many other publishers and retailers have their own affiliate programs too.
You can place adverts on your blog, and earn money each time a reader views or clicks on the ad.
The most common ad network for beginners is Google Adsense. Once you start getting more traffic, there are other ad companies that pay higher rates.
For example, once you have over 10,000 pageviews per month you can join Monumetric, and at 50,000 sessions a month you can join Mediavine. I use both of these ad networks on different blogs I run and I’m very happy with them 🙂
Sponsored posts and reviews
Once you have a large enough following, some publishers and authors may pay you to feature their books. You will almost certainly get offered lots of free books, too!
How to start a book blog?
Want to get started? I have a full, step by step tutorial on setting up your own blog here.
I’ve even included screenshots so you can see exactly how it all works!
You don’t have to be technical to start a blog. You can be all up and running within an hour if you follow my instructions. Then it’s as simple as logging on and writing 🙂
If running a website isn’t for you, you could also consider starting a book review account on TikTok, YouTube or Instagram – or even a podcast.
Book-related content on these platforms is known as BookTok, Bookstagram and BookTube respectively.
As with blogging, it can take a while to build a following. But once you have a big enough following as a book influencer, you can start making money from sponsorship, affiliate sales and more.
And there is serious money in sponsored content. According to a Vox article from March 2023, some BookTokers earn around $2,000 per video.
Where to get free books to review for bloggers and influencers
Here are some sites where book bloggers and influencers can get free books to review:
Also, many publishers will send out free review copies directly to bloggers and influencers in exchange for a review. If there is a particular book you want to review, you can always identify the publisher and contact them directly.
Search on the publisher’s website for information on how to request review copies or ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies). Most publishers have a page on their website dedicated to this information. I haven’t listed them here, because there are just so many!
If you can’t find this information on the publisher’s website, try emailing their publicity department.
If you enjoy reading, it’s likely that you also have a high command of the English language.
Do you often pick out mistakes in the books that you read?
Are you the sort of person who always notices typos and grammatical errors?
You should consider becoming a freelance proofreader!
These days, it’s easier than ever for aspiring writers to self-publish their books. And any good writer will hire a proofreader to check over their manuscript for errors before they publish.
This means there is plenty of demand for freelance proofreaders to proofread book manuscripts.
How much can you earn proofreading books?
According to pro proofreader Caitlin Pyle, the founder of the Proofread Anywhere training courses, you can earn anywhere from $100 to $500 for proofreading a standard non fiction novel.
But of course, that’s just a rough guide. Your earnings will depend on your experience, the book length, and the subject matter.
If you’re an expert in a particular field, for example, you can command much higher fees for proofreading non fiction technical books.
Audiobooks are getting more and more popular.
Many people don’t have time to sit down with a book – but they do have time to listen to audiobooks while they’re at the gym or on their commute.
Plus, subscriptions such as Audible make it so easy!
This all means there is work for people who can record audio books.
You’ll obviously need a pleasant and clear speaking voice. It can also be an advantage if you can perform various other voices and accents.
This is not the cheapest side hustle to get into, because you will need some specialist recording (and possibly editing) equipment if you want to work from home.
You’ll also need to make sure you have a quiet room with good acoustics – perhaps not such a good work from home job for parents!
But if you fit all these criteria, you could get paid to read books aloud.
And if you can establish yourself as a narrator, you can earn upwards of $100 per finished audio hour.
Just keep in mind that each finished hour can take several hours of recording, re-recording and editing!
You can find independent audiobook narration work on the usual freelance platforms. It’s also worth signing up to ACX, which is Amazon/Audible’s own audiobook platform.
There are various other audiobook publishers and voice acting agencies which may advertise work or auditions from time to time.
Yes, this is a thing that exists!
Publishing houses and literary agents receive a huge amount of submissions from aspiring authors. Too many for the editors to possibly read through themselves.
So, many publishers hire professional readers to make their way through the ‘slush pile’.
Readers compile detailed reports on new manuscripts, helping to identify which books will eventually be published. Usually this will involve a summary of the plot, notes on the main characters, and your opinion on the target audience and marketability of the book.
Some publishing companies use freelance readers. Other times, the job is performed by assistants or interns.
Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of interest in this job. You’ll have a better chance of getting work if you have a relevant background in literature or publishing.
It will also help to show writing samples, such as book reviews you’ve published on a review site or on your blog.
Look for freelance reader or editorial assistant opportunities on the websites of your favourite publishers and agents, or contact them directly.
Run a book club
If you want to combine your love of reading with a flair for event planning, consider running a series of book clubs.
Yes, many people run informal book clubs for free. But there are also people who will pay for a well organised book club/discussion group in a nice venue, perhaps with refreshments.
You could add other offerings such as author Q&As, book swaps, talks, giveaways and themed nights.
I have seen paid book clubs like this on topics such as self development, personal finance and professional growth. Basically, these are areas where people are willing to invest in themselves.
But you could make a fun and lucrative book club around any topic if you plan it well!
With the rise in self publishing, many writers find themselves struggling to do the work of an entire publishing team: not just writing, but coordinating editing, proofreading, cover design, marketing, and so on.
This is where you can help!
You can offer Virtual Assistant services to self published writers, and help with these tasks and more.
Some ideas of services you can offer are:
- managing social media
- outreach to book bloggers and influencers
- email management
- formatting ebooks
- writing blurbs/descriptions and listing on retail sites
- submitting to review sites
- liaising with proofreaders, editors, cover designers, etc.
Editing is another obvious job choice for readers with a great command of written English, and it’s also a location-independent job that you can do as an online side hustle.
There are two types of editing, which are often confused but are in fact two different jobs.
Editors deal with the content of a book or article. They may suggest revisions or rewrites, or suggest general changes to the structure and content.
Copy editors deal with the text itself. They make edits to the style, grammar, accuracy and formatting. This job is often combined with proofreading.
You can find freelance work as an editor, copy editor or proofreader for independent authors on freelance sites such as Upwork.
If you have a specialist area of expertise, consider marketing yourself in this niche – you can demand higher fees.
Sell textbook summaries
Most university courses have a LOT of reading.
If you’re a student yourself, you’ll know it’s easy to get behind on your reading assignments.
Not to mention, the cost of buying new textbooks, and the fact that university libraries only have limited copies, means sometimes you can’t even get your hands on the books you need!
I previously published an interview with Annelies, a university student who set up a side gig selling summaries of her required reading to coursemates.
She simply made sure to stay ahead of the required reading, typed up neat notes, and sold them to other students who needed them.
If you’re a current student who’s always on top of your reading assignments, why not give this a try? It will help with your own studies and bring in some extra cash for the work you’d be doing anyway!
So far we’ve mainly talked about side hustles or ways to make extra money reading books. But what if you want to make reading books your full-time job?
Literary agent is a dream job for any bookworm. Agents represent authors, and they essentially help their authors turn their writing into money by securing and negotiating publishing contracts, advising on profitable creative directions and other business decisions.
If you are an avid reader who is also business savvy, this could be the literary career for you. To become a literary agent, you would need a degree in a relevant field, work experience in publishing, and soft skills such as communication and organisation.
Get ready to earn money reading books
What do you think about the ideas in this post? Are you ready to get paid to read?
If you’ve tried any of these side hustles for book lovers, please share your experiences in the comments to help other readers!
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