How to get Paid for Reading Books
By: Dannie Phan | October 5th, 2020
Every bookworm daydreams about finding a job that lets you earn money for reading books. As it turns out, though, it’s easier to get paid to read books than you might think. There are several career options available for those employees who’d rather spend their days escaping into other worlds or trying to solve true crime mysteries. These paths can include:
- Book Publishing
- Book reviewing
- Audio narration
While wages for each of these fields may vary, you can still start exploring careers in each to see if one doesn’t speak to you more than the others both in terms of interest and in wage.
How To Get Paid To Read Books: Book Reviewing
The easiest way to get paid to read books is to join up with a company that provides larger publishers with book reviews. There are several platforms that let you do just that, either cultivating a to-be-read catalog for you or letting you browse new books released by small publishers at your leisure.
Some of the best platforms to start reading and reviewing with include:
If you’re a fan of nonfiction, then you’ll want to try and connect with the folks at getAbstract. This platform pays its freelancers to summarize extensive works into ten minute blurbs, allowing those parties browsing the platform to better understand what the books are about and how they can apply the theories therein to their daily lives. If you’re interested, you can apply through the platform’s website to learn more about their available rates and workload.
Another platform for nonfiction readers, Instaread offers its readers $100 per summary provided for a litany of nonfiction works. The average book review on the platform clocks in between 100 and 1500, meaning that you’ll have to put in a good amount of work. Even so, if you’re already reading nonfiction in your free time, then working with Instaread is an opportunity to get paid for your efforts.
Tyndale Blog Network
If you want to work with a broader array of books, then you can sign on with the Tyndale Blog Network through the My Reader Rewards Club. This program offers you in-platform rewards for every review you issue, and you can eventually exchange those points out for cash or book rewards.
Want to keep your reviews short and sweet? Then New Pages may be the platform for you. These book reviews are no more than 300 words in length, and pay varies accordingly. The team with New Paesg wants to get the word out about some of the indie books that smaller presses are in the process of releasing, making them an ideal press for those readers fond of more obscure works of fiction and nonfiction. You can even submit reviews of magazines.
When you want to look for freelance work – or, in this case, pay in exchange for a book review – then you’ll want to go to Upwork. Upwork is an extensive freelancing platform that allows you to advertise your skills as you please. You can sign on as a book reviewer and set your own hourly or by-the-page rate. You can even choose your own clients or work your way through an extensive catalog of parties looking for someone to take a gander at their work.
Women’s Review Of Books
If you want to partner with a feminist-oriented publication, then you’ll want to check out what work is available through Women’s Review of Books. This magazine is always looking for book reviewers to spread the world about new releases – and some older ones – that may catch audiences’ eyes.
That said, you’ll want to be especially aware of your audience when writing for Women’s Review Of Books. This magazine is beloved by academics and journalists, meaning that not only is your audience likely well-read, but that you’ll be well-compensated for your work. On average, Women’s Review of Books pays $100 for every review published through their platform. To get started, you’ll want to write up a pitch for a review and send it to the editorial staff through a link on the Women’s Review of Books website.
U.S. Review of Books
Another purveyor of shorter reviews, U.S. Review of Books lets writers try their hand at book reviews in exchange for freelancing rates. You can compose a review between 250 and 300 words for any piece of modern fiction or nonfiction that appears in the collection’s catalog and see your name published along a dozen or so other sample reviews in the program’s monthly newsletter.
Online Book Club
Online Book Club does more than just pay you for the reviews you write. You’ll also receive a free copy of the book that you want to review. The site makes it clear, of course, that working alongside their staff doesn’t mean that you’ll be making millions in a matter of months. Rather, the site offers between $5 and $60 for the reviews you submit. Even so, you’ll be able to dip your toes into the world of book reading for money when partnering with this site, as they’ll walk you through the process of writing your first review and revising it for publicatoin.
Have you ever wanted to get your hands on a book before it debuted in public? Then you want to be reviewing ARCs, or advanced readers’ copies of books yet to be released on the market.
Book Browse lets you get your hands on those pre-release books just a few months early, offering ARCs to eager reviewers looking to get their names out into the world of book reviews. Do note that Book Browse does not pay in cash but rather provides you with your advanced copy of a book free of charge. Even so, this is a great website to get your first publishing credits through, after which you can start to branch out and seek out higher pay for your work.
Want to get your foot in the door with one of the most influential indie publishers on the market today? Reedsy Discover isn’t quite mainstream, but it’s a haven for writers looking to self-publish their first books. You can join up with the platform courtesy of an on-site form that connects you with the editorial team. With this form out of the way, you can begin browsing the publisher’s collection and choose which of the available titles that you’re most interested in reading through.
Do note, though, that this is another platform that does not pay out a living wage in exchange for book reviews. Instead, you will receive pay for your efforts on a tip basis, receiving between $! and $5 depending on the depth and entertainment value imbued into your review.
Any Subject Books
There are some publishers who actively recruit reviewers to craft reviews for books that they’re set to release. Any Subject Books is one such self-publisher. This platform reaches out to reviewers and provides pay on a freelance basis in exchange for honest and in-depth reviews of their new releases. The good news is that, as the name of the publisher suggests, there’s no limit to the kinds of books you may find yourself reading when working with this platform. When you first start working with the self-publisher, you can let the team know what kind of books you’re most interested in and cultivate your reviews accordingly.
Have you ever wanted to get your name in the Amazon archives? You can do just that when you start book reviewing with Kirkus Media. This platform has long published reviews that bedeck the back covers of best sellers, websites, and social media.
Kirkus Media keeps its application for book reviewers open all year round, offering pay on a freelance basis to anyone who wants to take on a book or two to read at their leisure. Ideally, you’ll be able to produce a book reviewer within two weeks of taking on a book. Note, of course, that you’ll have to send along a resume and writing sample, but should the hiring process go well, you can find yourself diving into new worlds – and new sources of income – in little to no time at all.
How Much Do Book Reviewers Get Paid?
As mentioned in the sections above, book reviewers can receiving varying wages for their efforts. Some book reviewers simply have the cost of an ARC covered before they take on a book to read. Others can paid up to $100 for their reviews. Making it a create side hustle that allows you to work from home.
As is often the case, you can make more money for your efforts the longer you work in the field. As such, you can expect to request more for your work the more time and effort you put into the reviews you write.
Making Money Reading Books: Copyediting and Proofreading
Of course, you don’t just have to review books to make money reading. You can also pursue work as a copyeditor or as a proofreader.
Both of these positions, whether freelance or with an established publishing house, all you to come into contact with writing in all of its forms: nonfiction, fiction, genre, poetry, and so on. When you work as a freelance copyeditor or proofread, you can often get to know your clients as you go through their work, first looking for grammatical errors and then helping them establish a theme or narrative coherency.
The process of becoming a copyeditors or proofreader, of course, does take time. If you want to get started, it’s often best to volunteer with your local newspaper or with one of the many blogs online. You can also create a profile on Upwork or Guru and start spreading the word about your skills. This way, you can start wooing clients onto your platform and making money.
Do note, of course, that working as an independent copyeditor or proofreader allows you to set your own rates, even though it may be more difficult for you to find your first few clients. Comparatively, working with an established publishing house sets you into a rate, even as the connections give you more immediate access to potential work.
Making Money Reading Books: Translating
In a similar vein, you can also read books and earn money by going into translating. This career path, of course, requires you to have knowledge of a second or third language, but should you find your footing, you’ll find it a rewarding field. You’ll gain access to a number of books that have already been published and that have risen in popularity enough to merit publication on other continents. Alternatively, if you take on independent translating, you can work with individuals who need to better understand their rights, apply for jobs, or otherwise interact with your native language.
As with copyediting and proofreading, you can work as a freelance translator or as a translator with an established organization. As a freelancer, you can not only set your rates but determine what projects you may be most interested in. As the employee of a larger organization, you can rely on consistent work, even if the topics stray away from those that you would normally enjoy in your leisure time.
It takes time for a freelance career, mind, to become a thing that you can rely on for consistent income. Don’t be afraid to hang onto a day job while you’re getting your feet wet, and then gently transitioning into full-time freelance work.
Making Money Reading Books: Audiobook Narrator
Last but certainly not least, you can also make money reading books out loud. Audio books have skyrocketed in popularity in the last few years and have seen another rise in 2020, likely due to screen fatigue. As such, more and more publishers are looking to employee freelancers and contractors who want to sit in a booth and read a book out loud for hours on end.
Making money as an audiobook narrator requires you to perform as much as it does read, but should you be able to balance these two efforts, you can find yourself enjoying all manner of new reads while earning a wage. As with the other fields, rates for audiobook narrators will vary, and you will want to establish a portfolio if you want to get hired either by a company or as a freelancer.
If you’re looking for a place to start, you can reach out to teams like the one with Librivox to volunteer your voice and build up a public profile.
There are more fields that allow you to read books for money than you might anticipate. Whether you want to review books as a side gig or try and find your way into the world of voice over and audio-narration, the opportunities are available to you. Don’t be afraid to take your time and build up a portfolio while you’re still working at your day job, of course. After a while, though, you may have the opportunity to set your original position aside in favor of reading, performing, or otherwise wrangling your way through the written word on a day-to-day basis.
In the meanwhile, don’t be afraid to reach out to the team with Swagbucks. As you’re getting your feet beneath you reading for money, you can take surveys, watch videos, and play games on the Swagbucks platform. You’ll earn points for your efforts that you can later cash out for PayPal credit or for gift cards to your favorite retailers.
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