If you’re the type of person who finds themselves staying up late to read just one more chapter of a book, or you like to cozy up with a new book when you have a day off, it is possible to turn your reading hobby into a lucrative side hustle.
While it may seem like a pipe dream, there are some legit ways to get paid to read books online. Many of these opportunities are work from home, providing a flexible way to earn some extra cash around your other commitments. There are even full-time careers possible reading books.
Regardless of your favorite type of book, if you’re an avid reader there are many ways to earn money as you read books, so here we’ll delve into this topic in more detail.
Become an Online Book Reviewer
One of the simplest ways to get paid to read books online is to become an online book reviewer. There are a number of platforms and websites where you will earn money to review books. While the compensation for book reviewers can vary from a free book to PayPal cash and bank transfers, you get to read some new books and earn a little extra.
The great thing about writing reviews is that generally the client is not simply looking for positive fluff reviews. They want to hear your genuine opinions and gain an honest review. New authors and publishers often send copies of books to gain real reviews. This is because potential readers will often look at book reviews before they spend time getting into a new book.
Some of the best platforms to try if you are looking to write book reviews include:
1. Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Media looks for reviewers for English and Spanish language books. Typically the book reviews need to be approximately 350 words and are due within two weeks of being assigned a book. The selection of books spans almost every genre, so there are often many appealing assignments.
2. Online Book Club
The Online Book Club offers a free book for your first review, but after that, you’ll be eligible for paid book review opportunities. All assignments include a free book. Each review pays $5 to $60 and more than 10,000 authors send in their books for review. This makes it possible to make a decent side hustle reviewing books.
Reedsy Discovery requires reviews for hundreds of books before they are published. Authors can submit their books to be reviewed and book reviewers can receive a tip of $1, $3 or $5.
Booklist looks for book reviews of 150 to 175 words that describe the overall plot and suggest the ideal reader for the book. The pay is $15 per book review and you are paid after the review is published. Booklist is part of the American Library Association and the sole purpose of the platform is to guide public and school library workers purchasing books for their library.
5. US Review of Books
The US Review of Books website is designed for the more professional writer who can provide sample work, a resume and a minimum of two professional references. However, if you’re accepted by the editor, you’ll be writing reviews of up to 300 words long that not only summarize the book, but also provide real insights.
Some of these platforms are easier for aspiring book reviewers to access, but you can get started writing book summaries. From there, you can develop your resume and writing samples which you can share with more demanding book-reviewing platforms to apply for higher-paying gigs.
If you have a background in public speaking, theater or voice acting, or you simply have a great speaking voice, you could combine it with your love of books to become an audiobook narrator. Audiobooks have become increasingly popular in recent years, as people can enjoy their favorite fiction or non-fiction in the car, while exercising or even while doing chores. So, if you love reading books, you can get paid to read books aloud.
Voice over actors are often used in ads, narrations, documentaries, video games, cartoons and explainer videos. But, they are also needed for audiobooks. This is a little more complicated than simply writing book reviews, as you will need a good microphone, headphones and some computer software at a bare minimum.
If you want to become an audiobook narrator, there are a number of platforms where you can find voice over work including audiobook narration jobs, such as Voices.com, Voice123 and Bunny Studios. Each platform has its own requirements, but you will often need to provide voice samples and you may need to audition for the project. You may also find narration gigs on freelance platforms such as Upwork.
Proofreading is a vital part of publishing, providing a final set of eyes that can catch any errors before the manuscript is printed. You’ll be responsible for checking for typos, spelling and punctuation errors, and ensuring that the formatting is up to the industry standards.
While the big publishing houses and platforms do hire proofreaders, you can also find jobs with self-published authors. With sites like Amazon making it easier for anyone to publish their novel or book, the potential for work is massive.
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All you need to complete this type of work is a reliable internet connection, a laptop or tablet and good attention to detail. One of the best ways to find work is to set up a profile on various freelancer websites and promote your services. You can then search for jobs and submit an application.
The great thing about this is that you have control over which jobs you do and do not want to complete and you can set your own rates.
If you are fluent in more than one language, one of the most lucrative ways to get paid to read books is as a book translator. There are a number of platforms and websites where you can find book translation tasks and jobs. These include:
This website sends freelance translation tasks to you. You can select the books you translate into one of over 15 different languages.
This is one of the longest-running job platforms, as it has been operating since 2004. Indeed curates jobs from staffing firms, job boards, company websites and more. You can search for translation jobs and apply for each one directly.
3. Today Translations
This website specializes in translation services. You can find freelance work on this platform, but the rates can vary according to the demands of the project.
This is another website providing translation services, so they often need translators. The platform currently has more than 200,000 clients around the world, working with 3,000 plus language experts.
Start a Book Blog
If you prefer to read books specifically in your favorite genre or niche, you could consider starting a book blog or establishing an online book club. Your blog would be centered around your honest reviews of books you’ve read, but you can turn this into an income stream in a number of ways.
The primary method is to place affiliate links to book retailers such as Amazon for the books that you’re reading. Essentially, this means that when someone clicks through to buy the book using your link, you’ll earn a commission on the purchase. However, some platforms offer more than books for sale. When your blog reader clicks through to the site, the cookie placed on their computer from the link will ensure that you receive a commission on all sales within a set amount of time.
This means that if your reader not only buys a book but also a few other items from Amazon, you’ll earn a commission on the entire shopping cart.
Blogging won’t create an income stream overnight. Most blogs take at least a few months to start generating interest and traffic. However, with consistent posting, you can create an audience. You may even be able to attract some sponsors or advertisers who want to use your blog to market to potential customers.
The potential for blogging is massive. You can simply stick to reviews about the books you’ve read or you could use books to help your readers with a variety of topics or host online discussions, creating an online book club forum. Whichever route you choose, you can create a flexible way to get paid to read books online and be your own boss.
An acquisitions editor is a gatekeeper within the traditional publishing world. Imagine the sheer number of manuscripts that publishers receive on a daily basis! A small to medium publishing house could receive thousands of unsolicited manuscripts each year, plus they also receive content from existing clients. So, they need someone to vet the books and decide which ones should go all the way to being published and which need to receive a rejection letter.
While this is a more traditional career, the fun part of this job is that you need to read a book simply until you no longer find it engaging. Good books will have you reading right until the last page, but if a book fails to grab you by the end of the first chapter, it will simply be put in the rejection pile. If you find a book boring, you don’t need to struggle through it to be able to complete a review, you just stop reading and send off the rejection letter.
Since this is a more traditional career role, you will need to have a good resume and apply for positions when they become available on job boards and career platforms. However, in some cases, you may be able to work from home. These days, publishers don’t need to messenger entire manuscripts, as most submissions are digital. So, you can read books on your tablet or reader and earn money.
Hopefully, we’ve shown that there are some great ideas for how to get paid to read books online. Just bear in mind that it is usually a good strategy to think about which one is more appealing to you rather than simply trying every option. It can be very easy to quickly become fatigued if you try so many different ways to get paid to read books. So, choose one or two ideas and start from there.
As with many freelance gigs, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to earn top dollar from day one. In many cases, you will need to start at entry level and work your way up. Generally, higher-paying jobs will require you to show samples of your work and a resume, so you will need to gain some experience before you can apply.
However, if you are diligent, it is possible to create a lucrative side hustle or even a full-time income. Whether you choose to translate books, write reviews or create a blog, you can have a great deal of control over what you read. Most jobs we’ve listed here will allow you to choose the projects you want to work on, so you can stick to your favorite niche.
Just bear in mind that while you are not expected to write unbelievable reviews, you do need to be tactful. Most authors and publishers will want positive reviews, so try to avoid being cynical. Remember that readers and critics are likely to be looking at your content, so you’ll need to tailor your voice. You may even find that the author is reading your review and they have spent months or even years bringing their book into the world, so be gracious, even if you were not keen!