You’re a full-fledged bookworm who can read about any topic under the sun, and you want to turn your hobby into a side hustle. However, you don’t know the first thing about book reader jobs.
Before anything else, yes, book reader jobs exist. You can read and earn money from reviewing titles, editing paragraphs, narrating chapters, or simply just reading books.
However, you can’t automatically expect authors to pay you to read their books. Most don’t even hire beta readers and reviewers themselves.
Unless you already have a pipeline of books that need your expert reviews, you’ll likely source work from third-party platforms connecting you with authors.
If you don’t know which sites to hop on, don’t worry. We got you covered. Our team scoured various official and non-official sources to gather first-hand insights into making money reading books.
This article also covers how to maximize the feasible earning potential of reviewing, editing, and beta reading titles. Many make upward of $1,000 per month writing narrations for lesser-known authors.
Stick with us until the end. Otherwise, you might miss lucrative opportunities that could jumpstart your new career.
Let’s get started!
The 8 Best Ways to Get Paid to Read Books
Some ways to make extra money and get freebies from reading include:
1. Beta Reading
If you love reading but don’t have the confidence to write authoritative reviews yet, consider beta reading instead. It’s a less demanding way to get paid to read books.
Unlike writing full-length book reviews, beta reading only needs objective feedback and comments from the average reader’s POV.
You don’t have to convey your thoughts eloquently. As a beta reader, you can leave your comments as they are without unearthing your reasons behind them.
The only trade-off is that beta readers often make less than book reviewers. Most newbies only get free books as compensation for their first couple of beta reading gigs.
However, you can boost your earnings by working with authors directly. The lowest-paying beta reading jobs on Fiverr and Upwork start at around $15 to $20, but you’ll need prior experience to earn your prospects’ trust.
2. Copy Editing
At a glance, copy editors receive a higher base pay than regular book reviewers and beta readers. However, you’ll also notice that their roles demand much more work.
As a copy editor, your main tasks will involve spotting/correcting grammatical errors, baseless statements, unverified information, sensitive language, and awkward sentences. Bookworms with a keen eye for text mistakes could thrive as editors.
Also, since most authors prefer working with degree holders experienced in editing, you might have trouble finding high-paying gigs during your first few months.
Of course, this isn’t to say that first-timers don’t have a future in copy editing. If you want to work as a full-time editor, compile a digital portfolio of your best work—which you’ll showcase to clients.
Even if you don’t have a degree in English, you can still charge premium fees if you prove your tenure and expertise.
Bookworms who want to try copy editing but don’t have enough experience can start as proofreaders. It pays relatively well, and the work is much less taxing.
As a proofreader, your job will typically involve scanning books—or chapters—for errors involving text formatting, spelling, basic grammar, and word repetition.
Yes, you’ll still need an understanding of English grammar. However, unlike copy editors, you don’t need to check the content for more technical issues like factual errors and creative flow.
Although some of the websites we listed above hire proofreaders, you can look for direct clients to get better pay. Check out freelancing platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.
First-time proofreaders can expect to get $5 to $15 for every 1,000 words. Meanwhile, more experienced proofreaders can bump their rates to anywhere from $50 to $100 for the same number of words.
Translating chapters, much less full-length books, requires a lot of work, and not everyone has the multi-linguistic skills for the job. However, if you do, you’ll make good money.
Translating English books to widely used languages in the U.S. like Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or French pays at least $0.10 per word, while more experienced can charge $0.15 to $0.20 per word.
Going by these rates, you’ll make $3,000 to $6,000 translating short stories with 30,000 words. If you can secure one order like this every month, then you can already quit your 9-to-5 job.
5. Book Narrations
Bookworms comfortable narrating full-length books and novels can try accepting book narrating gigs.
The job has a relatively low barrier to entry. If you have a working microphone, you can already start narrating books.
However, it’s also quite time-consuming. Since most voiceover actors narrate around 75 words per minute, a 30,000-word novel will span seven hours—not including editing.
Fortunately, the pay’s relatively high. Narrating an eight-hour-long novel could fetch you around $1,300 if you get paid $150 to $160 per hour.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to limit yourself to prank and travel vlogs to succeed on YouTube. Many niche channels make money targeting the right audience.
For instance, if you’re an avid bookworm, you can create video reviews of your favorite titles and zero in on your fellow readers.
Map out a content calendar of all the books you’ve already read. Once you’ve exhausted your library and have built a relatively large following, you can start doing paid reviews.
Also, authors and clients pay significantly more depending on your number of followers and engagement rate. You won’t regret delaying your first sponsored post.
In the meantime, you can rely on YouTube’s ad monetization scheme. Most YouTube content creators make $5 to $20 per 1,000 views, depending on their niche, engagement, and total ad views.
7. Book Cover Designing
Bookworms with a passion for arts and graphics can try designing book covers. This role works well for those who love reading but can’t convey their thoughts or message properly.
However, don’t blindly assume that designing book covers is simpler than writing reviews. Although you wouldn’t write anything, you’ll spend most of your time trying different color patterns, logo styles, and overall aesthetics.
Remember: book covers should effectively convey the author’s message. In the worst case, your client could even ask for design revisions if they don’t like your final output.
If you have the skills to overcome these challenges, then push through with your plans on designing book covers.
First-timers can quickly win $5 clients. Alternatively, experienced designers can charge $100+ per paperback or ebook cover.
If you have confidence in your storytelling skills but don’t want to appear on camera, start a podcast show. You can use YouTube or Spotify.
Like vloggers, budding podcasters can’t expect to hit ROI after just one or two reviews. You’ll need to build your brand from the ground up.
Invest time and money into launching at least 10 episodes, promote your channel, monitor traction, then look into the different ways to monetize your show.
You can look for sponsors, do paid reviews, or rely solely on affiliate sales. For instance, 1,000 affiliate link downloads translate to around $25 to $50, but more widely known shows that get 10,000 link downloads per episode can enjoy $500 to $900 commissions.
9. Writing Book Reviews
Yes, you can earn money reading and reviewing books. Authors need knowledgeable, well-read bookworms to share their honest thoughts about their titles. These reviews end up on eCommerce websites and landing pages.
However, don’t worry about leaving negative feedback. Although authors use positive reviews to promote newly released titles, they still welcome comments objectively scrutinizing their work.
You’ll even attract more clients by writing your honest, sincere thoughts. Blindly leaving positive remarks about every title you read weakens your voice and personal branding. Eventually, your reviews wouldn’t mean anything.
Legitimate Sites and Companies that Pay Book Readers
A quick Google search will reveal thousands of companies, websites, and authors looking for book readers. You’ll even see clients outsourcing on Fiverr or Upwork.
However, don’t blindly accept the first offer you see. Not all gigs pay in cash.
Watch out for authors and companies promising their readers free copies of their books in exchange for their services. These gigs will only waste your time.
Disreputable companies might also trick their paid readers. They’ll lure you in with appealing rates and claims, then leave you with nothing but useless coupons and discount codes after the job. In the worst case, they could avoid paying you altogether.
If you find yourself lost on where to start looking for book reader jobs, we can help.
Don’t waste your time with sketchy gigs. Instead, turn straight to the following reputable, widely known websites trusted by tenured book readers:
Kirkus Media ranks among the most widely used websites for paid book reviews. Indie authors worldwide connect with reviewers on the platform for honest, objective, and unbiased feedback on their work.
One of the reasons why reviewers love Kirkus Media is it has a broad library. You’ll have the opportunity to review titles from various fiction and non-fiction genres. You can satisfy your curiosity as a bookworm.
Also, Kirkus Media reviews are anonymous. Although you don’t get a byline, anonymity will give you the confidence to write more objectively without worrying about offending anyone.
Kirkus Media reviews typically pay $50 for 350-word reviews, around two to three times more than the rates on other platforms. The team sends funds via direct deposit to your preferred bank account.
Apart from the higher pay rates, Kirkus Media reviewers make more money since there’s plenty of work. You don’t have to go through time-consuming order request procedures.
As soon as you submit a review, you’ll typically have at least a dozen titles available right from the get-go.
How to Sign Up
- Go to the Kirkus Media career opportunities page. They hire English and Spanish book reviewers all year round, although they sometimes have openings for copy editors.
- Check out the available paperback, hardcover, and digital titles.
- Gather your writing samples, update your resume, list your book review preferences, then send them to the Kirkus Indie Editor David Rapp at [email protected].
Women’s Review of Books
The Women’s Reviews of Books is a highly respected magazine by the Wellesley Centers for Women. As its name suggests, its content focuses on feminism.
Unlike the other sites listed here, this platform’s library consists of academic-level papers, studies, and books on women’s rights and empowerment.
Also, note that all reviews were published in the service of action and consciousness.
Women’s Reviews of Books welcomes book reviewers all year round.
However, note that their team has a stringent qualification process, and they typically only welcome journalists, scholars, and academic professionals.
They have no room for lifestyle-esque reviews.
The Women’s Reviews of Books has one of the highest rates in the industry. They pay book reviewers a base pay of $100 per review, which could still increase based on your subject expertise.
However, they don’t offer as much work as other widely known options like Kirkus Media.
Again, their solely consists of books on feminism, empowerment, and women’s rights, so don’t expect hundreds of available orders 24/7.
To maximize your earning potential, we suggest working as a journalist as well.
If you have the subject knowledge and writing skills to review academic-level titles on feminism, you can likely produce high-quality content on the topic.
How to Sign Up
- Update your resume and create a sample book review of any academic-level book on feminism or women empowerment. As a general rule, stick to newly published titles.
- Create a brief yet convincing cover letter explaining why you would make an ideal book reviewer for their brand. Ensure that your specialties align with their specific branding and requirements.
- Once you’ve prepared all the necessary documents, send them to [email protected].
Publishers Weekly reports incidents and news relevant in the book publishing industry. The digital news platform has openings for copy editors and book reviewers almost all year round, so check out their website.
Admittedly, their library isn’t as extensive as Kirkus Media’s collection. However, it still contains a good number of fiction and non-fiction digital and paperback titles. You wouldn’t feel limited to just one or two genres.
Also, the platform frequently features titles on equality, feminism, and homophobia. As such, their team welcomes people of color and members of the LGBTQ community who wish to share their unfiltered thoughts.
Publishers Weekly pays a minimum of $25 per review. However, the honorarium per review can increase depending on your experience and tenure. So, make sure you compile all your relevant work.
Pro Tip: If you want to make a full-time income, consider doubling as their editor. They have plenty of work for book reviewers, but you’ll make significantly more if you also edit their articles. Either way, you’ll still get paid to read.
How to Sign Up
- Check out the website’s available genres for book reviews and choose which ones you’d want to read.
- Next, create a sample book review of any book that falls under your preferred category, then send it to [email protected] along with your resume.
- Set the email subject to Book Reviewing: (your preferred genres). Example, “Book Reviewing: Technology, Romance, Health.”
Amazon Audiobook Creative Exchange (ACX)
If you want to get paid to read books aloud on Amazon, check out the Amazon Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX). The ACX facilitates the production of audiobooks on Amazon.
You can choose which books to narrate among the thousands of digital and paperback titles on the site. You won’t run out of work.
However, you can’t expect to narrate every book you want. The ACX holds auditions for applicants, and they only select experienced, talented voice actors who can edit and master their audiobook recordings.
If you have zero prior experience, look into self-published, indie authors first. You’ll also have to invest in the necessary editing equipment or rent a professional studio.
The ACX program offers two different payment systems. You can either set a fixed per-hour rate, which will be paid upon completion, or share royalties with the book’s rights holder.
A per-hour rate suits those who need cash fast. Regardless of whether the audiobook sells, you’ll receive the payment rate stated in the initial contract.
On the other hand, sharing royals works well for those recording audiobooks part-time. You might not get much at first, but each audiobook you produce has the potential to generate passive income for several years.
How to Sign Up
- Create an account on the ACX website and input the necessary details about your acting and voiceover experience.
- Upload multiple samples on your profile. You can increase your chances of getting an audiobook narrator job by creating a diverse set of samples featuring various styles, character profiles, and accents.
- Choose whether you want a fixed hourly rate or 50% royalties.
- Audition for the books you wish to narrate, then wait for rights holders’ to send you offers.
- Once accepted, you can proceed to narrate the digital or paperback books you chose.
Writerful Books is an Australia-based author service company. The team provides beta reading, book reviewing, and editing services to help authors create their best work.
They work with a wide range of writers. If you take an interest in various novels, short stories, and literary works, regardless of their genres, you’ll fit right in with the Witerful Books team.
Unfortunately, Writerful Books only provides their rates upon application. However, for reference, they charge authors up to $155 for beta reading 120,000 words, so you can expect to receive a portion of that amount.
How to Sign Up
- Head over to Writerful Books and check out the job listings on their Contact page, although their team hires beta readers and book reviewers all year round.
- Submit an application through the contact form. Input any relevant experience and explain why Writerful Books should hire you.
- Wait for the HR department to send you an offer.
Making a Full-Time Career Out of Reading Books
You might not realize it at first, but book reviewing, beta reading, and editing have high earning potential.
Sure, most entry-level gigs pay low, and some might even try to pass off free books and shop discounts as compensation.
However, you’ll start connecting with legitimate clients paying hundreds every day once you build a solid portfolio. Of course, seasoned reviewers get better offers.
Also, note that compensation depends on the amount of work required. For instance, most websites pay $5 to $10 for brief, casual comments spanning around 500 words, while more established authors on Upwork and Fiverr can pay $100+ for 2,000-word reviews.
You can start accepting gigs on the side first. It’s every bookworm’s dream to read and earn money, but $5 gigs can’t replace 9-to-5 jobs yet.
If you want to become a full-time paid book reader, gradually work up to high-value gigs requiring professional, niche-specific expertise.
It’s good to aim for at least two to four weeks’ worth of work in your pipeline. Only consider beta reading and reviewing books full-time once you can maintain the same volume of orders consistently.
Start Making Money as a Book Reviewer
Yes, many bookworms get paid to review books at home. Book reader jobs typically have a low barrier to entry, so you can start making money with nothing but a laptop and the internet.
To improve your chances of success as a paid book reader, carefully decide on your niche. You’ll find it easier to read titles talking about a field or topic you love.
Remember: authors don’t need verbose, intellectual readers. They need well-read individuals to express their honest opinions in the best way possible.
It’s better to focus on books you can talk about for hours with ease. Once you build a solid portfolio and gain experience as a freelancer, you can venture into more complex academic titles and lengthy novels.