If you like to read books all day, then why not try to find a way to turn that passion for reading into a way of making money?
Thanks to the internet, you can make money from home simply by reading. So not only is it good for your brain, but reading can also be good for your wallet as well. If you want, you can turn your passion for reading into a fun side hobby to get some extra cash.
In this post, I explore some of the best ways to get paid to read books, why earning money reading can be advantageous, how much money you can make reading books, and more. Let's get started!
Advantages to Getting Paid to Read Books
Surprisingly, cashing in on your habit of tearing through books is surprisingly easy. You just need to know where to look for the best opportunities. While you probably won’t be able to earn a living simply from reading books (at least, at first) a stream of side income can greatly help you out with bills or even just give you some extra money to play with.
And honestly, it is probably one of the easiest jobs that you can do. After all, who wouldn’t want to make money sitting at home diving into their favorite works of fiction and non-fiction? You can choose when during the day you want to read books and read as little or as much as you want. A free book or a copy of a recently published book is sometimes a good reward in themselves.
Also, most jobs that involve reading to get paid also involve a bit of writing reviews. Whether you write book reviews, editing, or proofreading, you will most likely have to write at least a little bit for these jobs.
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Ways to Make Money From Reading
If you like to read, you might as well get paid to do it! Below are some of the best ways you can get paid to read.
Get Paid for Book Reviews
Thousands of authors are out there, trying to make their mark on the industry. Many self published authors rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising and reviews to sell their stories. So, one way you can make money is to work for a site to write book reviews to guide other readers’ purchases. These kinds of websites will assign you a book, have you read it, then ask you your genuine thoughts about the text. You can then do a small write-up and get paid to read books.
One way to write book reviews is to pitch your ideas to magazines or newspapers that publish book reviews. If you go to a website, there should be a section for “writers” or “publishers” that will tell you how to inquire about submissions. Keep in mind that most reputable publications won’t let just anyone write reviews, so you might have trouble if you try to write reviews for online publications without any previous experience or published book reviews.
Another option is to work with a so-called “dedicated” book review publication. These kinds of sites are focused entirely on publishing book reviews. Websites like AnySubjectBook or Kirkus pay people to read books and leave a review. The amount of work you can get from this option depends heavily on who you sign up with, so it’s recommended that freelance book reviewers sign up with multiple sites so you can get the most opportunities to write reviews as possible.
Also, most dedicated book review publishers assign books to readers, so you might not get a ton of choice in what you read. That means you will most likely have to slog through some really bad books on occasion. But you may also find some hidden gems that you would not have been able to read otherwise.
Another option for making money writing book reviews is to start your own book review site. A personal blog appeals to a lot of people because they can choose what they want to read and how to publish reviews. You can feature your own reviews and charge authors for a spotlight on your page. At first, you probably won’t be able to charge authors for honest reviews, but you can monetize your own website in other ways like affiliate marketing or donations. You can also sell ad space to authors and publishers to make some money from your book review blog. Eventually, you can ask for paid book reviews.
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Book Review Websites
Kirkus Media is one of the most well-known websites for book reviews and is a good site to get paid to read books. Kirkus has built a good reputation of reliably paying writers a fair rate. Kirkus is responsible for most of the little summary blurbs you see under the title on Amazon and other websites. You can sign up for an account with Kirkus then they assign you books to read and summarize. You get two weeks to produce 350-word book summaries of what you read. Kirkus regularly searches for readers with special skills, such as bilingual readers or readers who have a background in the sciences to write summaries.
Like Kirkus Media, Any Subject Books is a big name in the book review industry. They are a full-suite book publishing business and hire a lot of book reviewers for their wares and products. Any Subject Books pays well for large, in-depth honest reviews on their pieces. When you apply and get selected, you can choose your preferred genre and get paid to read books. So if you are an avid sci-fi fan (like yours truly), then you can get your fill of fiction books. Any Subject Books is not always open for book reviewers, though. So if they are not currently hiring, make sure to check back at a later date.
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Online Book Club
Online Book Club is another website where you can find professional writers who need reviews of their works. Online Book Club is also refreshingly honest when they tell you that you won’t be able to quit your day job working for them. But they are very transparent about their payment rates. Reviews pay between $5 for your first review to $60 and you get free books when you are done.
Instaread is another popular review website that pays fairly well compared to most other outlets. They offer a flat rate of $100 for reviews between 1,000-1,500 long. That is much lengthier than your average book review but the decent pay reflects the more in-depth workload. Instaread has a pretty detailed style guide so make sure that you read up.
The US Review of Books
With a tagline of “Professional Reviews for the People,” you can tell the agency is legitimate. The US Review of Books posts a list of titles able to review and book reviewers can give them their preferences. A typical review from the US Review of Books is about 250-300 words and you usually have 2 to 3 weeks to present the final copy. Assignments are doled out based on your experience reviewing books and previous work with the organization. They have fairly high standards for review but they offer a decent rate among book reviewers. A book reviewer gets paid between $5 to $60 per review. $60 for a 250-300 word review is an excellent rate of 20 cents per word.
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Earn Money Editing & Proofreading Books
Do you like reading but also have an eye for grammar and punctuation? Then book editing might be a fun job that will pay you to read. Book editors work to make sure the final script of a book is in line with grammatical and formatting standards. For example, an editor will go through the final versions of book chapters to make sure that the text flows well, is formatted correctly, and does not contain any grammatical or typographical errors. Some editors edit also for content and structure, but others focus mostly on readability and grammar
Most editors need proofreading as well. Proofreading consists of checking the final text of a document for typographical errors. If you have a knack for noticing missing punctuation or incorrect marks, then proofreading might be a lucrative job for you. You can get paid to read books and edit books at the same time.
The good thing about proofreading and editing is that you can often find work in it for little to no experience. As long as you are fluent in English and have a command of English syntax and grammar, you can find some jobs online editing or proofreading. These basic jobs probably won’t pay that well (on the order of 0.5 cents to 2 cents per word) but there is a ton of work to do.
However, experienced editors and proofreaders command a pretty decent rate. Some clients will pay up to 30$ and 40$ an hour for top-tier proofreading services. So eventually, editing and proofreading can turn from a fun side gig into a legitimate business. Similarly, with book reviewing, you will probably get to read a ton of books that you wouldn’t have read otherwise if you were not editing and proofreading them.
Websites for Editing and Proofreading Jobs
If you are interested in part-time and full-time proofreading positions, then this might be a good website for you to check out. ProofreadingServices offers jobs in different time zones and offers a very good rate for proofreading services. You can get paid between $19 to $40 per hour on average depending on how fast you can edit, how complex the task is, and the urgency of the assignment. You have to pass a 20-minute preliminary test if you want to apply.
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Proofreading Pal offers editing and proofreading services for a wide range of assignments. They have a relatively high bar for entry though, Applicants need a graduate degree in a writing-intensive discipline, cover letter, past experience proofreading, send writing samples, and outstanding time management and editing skills. They claim that you can make $500 to $3,000 a month depending on how experienced you are and how good your writing samples are.
Kibin has a large telecommunication network for proofreading and editing jobs. They offer services 24/7 and offer their services to help students become better writers. They currently staff over 120 people remotely, so they are relatively small. But they are looking to expand and add members to their team. Kibin emphasizes a good cultural fit amongst their employees. They are not always open for hiring so make sure you check back if they aren’t currently hiring.
Earn Extra Money Translating
This one is a bit of a specialty niche. But if you speak a foreign language, you could make excellent money reading and translating books and other written works. Many authors publish their books in different languages so there are always opportunities for native speakers to do some translating. Generally speaking, translators work closely with book editors to make sure that the spirit of the original text comes through in the translated product. So the gig involves a lot of collaboration with others.
Keep in mind that you need to be basically fluent in two languages before working as a translator. So if your only foreign language skill is high school French, then that probably won’t be enough. However, if you were raised in a bilingual home or something similar, then translating might be the perfect gig for you. Few people have native mastery over two or more languages so if you do, then you are ahead of the competition.
Translating involves more than just changing words out. It also involves changing cultural references, idioms, and slang into prose that transmits the intended meaning of the original text. Far from being a rote or mechanical task, translating involves quite a bit of creativity and lateral thinking, especially when it comes to thinking up suitable translations for text sections that may not have a direct analog into a foreign language. Expert translators command a premium rate and frequently charge upwards of $50+ per hour for their services.
Websites for Translating Jobs
Gengo is currently probably the most popular translating agency. They also have regular work orders along with educational resources for translators all over the experience spectrum. In particular, they have a lot of work for Japanese to English translation so if you know those languages then you have a headstart over the competition.
Smartling is a translation platform that’s favored by software companies. So, if you speak more than one language and have a penchant for tech-related writing, then Smartly might be a good choice. The company has some pretty big names on their portfolio including Slack, Intercom, and WeWork, among others. They offer a lot of work, but the rates are pretty average. You could make a good chunk of money if you work a lot but it’s a good place to make some extra cash for the most part.
OneHourTranslation.com is one of the older translation agencies and most successful. The website has been around for a while so they have a very steady stream of work for translators, but the website age is starting to show a bit. OHT has an interesting gamified progression system, so you can have a bit of fun while you earn money. The starting pay for your first review is not that hot but there is room for advancement and the higher-tier projects actually pay pretty well. So if you stick with it, you can make a pretty lucrative side gig working for OHT.
Unbabel has a very interesting model that is based all on editing machine translations. So, you will get a copy of a translation that has been spit out of an algorithm and you have to fix it up and make it passable. It’s a weird kind of setup mostly because AI translations are not incredibly good yet, but they stand apart because they are one of the few translation agencies that pay by the hour instead of just by the project.
Make Money Reading Books out Loud
Do you have a pleasant voice? Do you have a penchant for proper diction and inflection? Then you could earn money reading books aloud. Recording audiobooks is quickly becoming more popular due to platforms such as Audible, and authors and publishers are always looking for someone with a nice voice to read aloud.
Recording audiobooks can be a very fun job because it doesn’t require any previous experience, there is no fancy equipment needed (except perhaps a microphone) and the pay can be decent, depending on who you are working for. Plus, you will get paid to read books all day. It is more than just reading too: many audiobook readers also do character voices and play out the scene while reading. In that sense, it could be a very fun career if you enjoy acting and performance.
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You don’t need formal vocal training or voice acting experience to start reading books. All you need is some recording equipment and a computer for mixing files. As is the case with most freelancing gigs, payment for recording audiobooks can vary widely depending on who you are working for. You might get paid to read small self published books for $50 or you may make a few hundred dollars making a 6-10 hour recording of a novel.
One of the best places to go to find audiobook recording opportunities is Amazon’s Audiobook Creative Exchange. There you can find authors looking for people to narrate their audiobooks. From here, you can choose to be paid either an hourly rate or a percentage of proceeds from total sales of the audiobook. Recorders can be paid monthly, weekly, or hourly. This can be an excellent method to make money reading.
Another option for reading books out loud is to start a streaming channel. I know it sounds weird, but people will follow and watch streamers who do puzzles, so there will definitely be people who will listen to you read books live on stream. You can start a Twitch channel and if you get enough followers, join the Partner program. You can also run a reading streaming channel on YouTube.
Websites to Read Books out Loud
Amazon Creative Exchange (ACX)
Amazon Creative Exchange is probably the biggest and best marketplace for audiobook recordings on the web. Once you make an account, you can link up with authors who need voice recordings for their projects. You can find recording gigs for pretty much any genre of book you want so if you have a specific niche, you can probably find work in it. You also have options for payment. You can either get paid per project or you can receive a percentage of all audiobook sales.
Findaway Voices is a relatively new website that connects authors with voice artists for audiobooks. Findaway Voices lets recording artists set their own rates which are modified based on the length of the project. The best part of Findaway Voices is that they bring authors to you so you don’t have to waste precious time looking for clients. Also, the company does not have any location restrictions. The main drawback is that you might be waiting for a while to get projects if work is slow. At the very least, it is a good alternative for audiobook recordings in a market dominated by ACX.
Get Paid to Convert Ebooks
Do you ever wonder where all those ebooks come from? Authors don’t just put their text into a reader that spits out a pdf. There is actually a lot that goes into converting a physical novel into digital ebook form. Most authors don’t have time to sit down and make sure all the links work and the images are aligned properly. So they will hire freelancers to produce digital versions of their books for distribution.
There are a lot of small technical issues when it comes to making ebooks. One major one is how Kindle book readers do not support EPUB file formats. These kinds of file compatibility issues and other technical quibbles make it less straightforward to produce an ebook than you would expect.
When converting an ebook, things you need to look out for include margins, word spacing, fonts/text formatting, images, and links in the text. Unlike regular books, ebooks often have hyperlinks so editors make sure that all of these work properly.
As far as pay goes, very short projects might net you $15-$20 but there are ebook conversion projects that pay reviewers a few hundred dollars for technical manuals or documents that have a lot of formatting specifications and images.
Websites for eBook Conversion Jobs
Upwork is a large freelancing platform that has jobs for pretty much any kind of freelancing work, ebook conversion included. Just search for terms related to “ebook conversion” on the site and you can browse hundreds of jobs. Upwork also lets you filter jobs based on whether they are in the US and by experience level required. There is no standard rate for ebook conversion jobs but you can either bill clients on a per-project basis or on a per hour basis.
Work for a Literary Agent
Most publishers and other literary agents get a ton of submissions every day, too many to feasibly read and check all of them. So, many agents will hire freelance readers to sort through submissions and separate the wheat from the chaff. Agents employ freelance readers to help lessen their workloads so they only have to focus on quality submissions.
Freelance reading is pretty straightforward. You read through manuscripts, whether they are books, screenplays, novellas, etc. Then you write a small report with your thoughts. The report should summarize the story, character, plot points, and give your overall impression of whether the submission is worth checking out or not. Basically, it’s like writing a book report back in high school.
Most agents are pretty happy to have someone on hand to read through their backlog of submissions. Generally speaking, agents will hire readers from theri staff, so it helps if you already have a job at publishing companies. But you can find freelance reading opportunities online if you know where to look.
Of course, there is also the option of becoming a literary agent yourself. This is much more difficult to do without previous experience though, Most successful literary agents have extensive experience vetting books and other documents and they have substantial industry contacts.
Websites for Literary Agent Jobs
Unfortunately, there are no real websites designed to get people literary magazines agent jobs. The best way to find this kind of work is to approach a local publishing house or literary agent. If you can get a job at a publishing house or an online magazine, you can learn about reviewing books from professional book review sites.
Tips to Get Paid By Reading Books
Below are some tips to help you get paid to read books.
Read outside of your comfort zone.
For some of these jobs, you might get lucky and only have to read the things that you like. But more often than not, you will have relatively little say in which books you read and review. Some agencies let you choose your preferred genre but that is by no means a guarantee that you will get that kind of work. So, it’s in your best interest to be prepared to read and review books you otherwise wouldn’t choose to. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite genre.
If you want review books, make sure that you try to be as objective as possible. An honest review is more than just your opinion, but it’s supposed to be a kind of analysis. It’s not enough to just say that you did or did not like a book. You also need to give an objective account of the book’s merits and demerits. Ultimately, book reviewing is supposed to tell others whether the book is worth reading or not, so you need to do a thorough job assessing the good and the bad.
Set aside your personal standards.
Not everyone has your taste and what you like may not always be what would be good for release. It’s important to remember that when you are freelance reading for a literary agent or company publishing books, you are not necessarily saying whether you like the book but rather whether you think it could sell well and be popular with audiences. Book summaries should reflect that fact.
Be wise with your time.
You might like to read a lot but there is a limit to how much you will be able to digest. You do not want to overload your schedule with too much reading for too little pay. At some point, you will have to be selective about what you read to make sure it is worth your time. Also, if you overload your schedule, you won’t be able to meet your deadlines and obligations for projects.
Can you get paid to read books?
Yes, you absolutely can get paid to read books, and there are lots of ways to do so. The most obvious is writing book reviews either on a book blog or for a book review publisher. You can get paid to read free books and for published reviews
How much can I get paid to read books?
It depends on what exactly you are doing. Book reviewing can pay anywhere between $5 to $75 while editing and proofreading jobs can vary from $10 assignments to editing technical manuals for hundreds of dollars. Most book reading gigs pay on a per-project basis, but there are some that pay by the hour.
How much can I get paid for recording audiobooks?
Exact payment for audiobook recording varies heavily, but newbies can expect to make around $50 to $100 for their first projects. Voice actors with experience and successful recordings under their belt can command a much more favorable rate. Veteran voice actors can easily charge $100+ per hour of VA recording.
Is reading books online for money worth it?
It all depends on how much you like reading. Most people won’t be able to make a living reading books, but it can be a fun way to make some money on the side. Plus, you will probably get to read some interesting free books that you would not have read otherwise.
Final Words on How to Get Paid to Read Books
Getting paid to read books sounds like it is too good to be true, but it absolutely can happen. Some lucky few book lovers might be able to turn reading books into a full time job. So if you have a huge appetite for reading, want free books, and you are willing to read whatever you can get your hands on, then you should look into monetizing your bookworm habit.