If you want to get paid to read books, the good news is, you have many options to do so. It’s not every day that readers exchange engaging in their favorite pastime for payment, but it is a viable way to make some income on the side.
Whether you want to start smaller by writing short reviews, wade into deeper waters with blog-length reviews, or choose to make a living proofreading or acquiring books, we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we discuss ten ways you can get paid to read books and what you need to equip yourself to do so. When applicable, we also share how much you can expect to make for each option. Let’s dive in!
#1 – Critique Partner
A critique partner, otherwise known as a CP, is a fellow writer who agrees to critique your work. When looking for the right critique partner, search out online writers’ groups, social media, writer websites, and even job boards.
While critique partners often share work and do so at no cost, if you are a qualified writer and another writer asks you to review their work, they will likely be happy to pay you for your expertise.
#2 – Professional Reviewer
A professional reviewer is someone whose job is to read books and write about the book’s overall quality. If you want to become a professional reviewer, consider starting a website and posting reviews of books there.
Build your presence on Goodreads and social media, and make sure your reviews are thoughtful and target your intended audience. Once you familiarize yourself with the process, submit reviews to professionals in the industry, send in applications, or consider starting a freelance career.
#3 – Sensitivity Reader
While writers are often told to write what they know, part of the creative process is dreaming up characters. However, it’s crucial that fictional characters are well-written and humanized. This is where sensitivity readers come in.
If you want to get paid to read books, consider your background, ethnicity, and cultural experience. Then build a website and market your services, or apply to work for a publisher as a sensitivity reader. One reader offers the following rates:
- 5,000 words and under: $50 flat rate
- 5,001-10,000 words: $50+(# words over 5,000) x ($0.01 per word)
- 10,001-30,000 words: $100+(# words over 10,000) x ($0.0075 per word)
- 30,001 and over: $250+(# words over 30,000) x ($0.005 per word)
Next up, audiobooks.
#4 – Audiobooks
Ever wonder where those voices come from for audiobooks? Well, if you want to get paid to read books aloud, consider becoming an audiobook reader! If you have a background in voice, theater, or public speaking, this will be a tremendous aid.
Tip To Get Started: Brilliance Audio
While Brilliance Audio’s rates vary from book to book, they are known as one of the leading companies in the audiobook industry. Showcase your audio quality, favorite genre to read, and then negotiate with the author for your pay rate.
#5 – Work As A Translator
Books that are largely successful are frequently translated into other languages…but who does that job? Well, if you are fluent in another language, consider translating books either as a side hustle or even as your main income stream.
Keep in mind that due to writing the book in another language, you are in fact an author of the book you work on. This means you can be subject to receive royalties, just as the author does.
#6 – Booklist
Booklist pays $15 per review and is part of the American Library Association. Their application window opens in January 2023. If you want to help make school and public library workers’ lives easier, write a 150 to 175-word review and get paid to do so!
#7 – Online Book Club
If you want to get paid to read books, what’s better than also choosing what books you read? Through Online Book Club, you can expect to be paid $5 to $60, receive the book at zero cost, and then submit your first review. While you won’t be paid for your first review, you do not have to apply to review for this site. New to reviewing? This is a great place to start.
#8 – Beta Reader
Beta readers are often used prior to a book being published. Think of a beta reader as someone who beta tests the manuscript:
- Is it engaging?
- Are the characters believable?
- Is there a plot point missing?
If you want to work as a beta reader, seek out writers’ groups, offer your services, and choose your fees.
#9 – Proofreader
A proofreader is the last set of eyes before a manuscript goes to print. This means that you are responsible to catch typos and ensure all formatting is up to industry standard.
If you enjoy reading books but aren’t big on line edits, becoming a proofreader may be the next best step for you. Plus, proofreaders can work for traditional publishers or as freelancers, so your options are broad.
#10 – Acquisitions Editor
An acquisitions editor, or acquiring editor, is one of the gatekeepers to the traditional publishing world. Their job is to vet books and decide which ones to pursue taking all the way to publication, and which ones need a rejection letter.
The fun part about working in acquisitions (and the stressful part) is that your job is to read a book until you no longer find it engaging. Hopefully, you read until the last page! But, if you find yourself bored halfway through a book, you get to stop reading, and, (unfortunately for the writer), send off that rejection letter.
Get Paid To Read Books And Live Your Dream
Now that you have a list of ideas on how to get paid to read books, it’s time to take action so you can start living your dream. However, take a few minutes to consider the following points before starting off:
- Resist the urge to pursue every option at once
- Early on, try to review books you love
- Read like a reader as well as a reviewer
- Keep the author in mind
It’s easy to experience decision fatigue when presented with so many ways to get paid to read books. Instead of trying everything, choose one or two options that most intrigue you and start there.
Next, review books you love to allow you to write glowing reviews rather than cynical ones. While it’s important to be honest in reviews, always keep tact in mind.
Last, don’t forget that readers, as well as critics, will likely read your reviews, so tailor your review voice accordingly. And with that said, the authors themselves may read your review! Whether you loved or hated their book, they spent hours, months, and possibly years of their lives getting their book into the world. Always remember to be gracious.
We’re excited to hear about the books you read, the reviews you write, and the method you choose to get paid to read books. Enjoy the process, starting your side hustle, or even changing career paths!