If you’re an avid reader, you might be wondering how to get paid to read books. There are multiple ways you can make money on the side, or even a full-time income, reading books.
For the most part, there are two main ways to get paid to do so: you either are involved in the book editing process or you’re involved in promoting or reviewing the book after publication.
Both options have their strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll dive into.
You can also choose to do it just on the side and make a little income here and there, or if you truly love it, you can go all-in and make this your full-time income and career.
Getting involved in the book industry
When it comes to getting paid to read books, there are multiple routes you can take. You can try out multiple, do them on the side of your full-time job, or turn it into your career.
Some of the main options for how to get paid to read books include:
To get your foot in the door for each of the options, you might need to build a portfolio or freelance on the side to get some experience. Even something as simple as reviewing the books you’re currently reading on Goodreads could be a first step.
It also wouldn’t hurt to spend some time in your day-to-day schedule networking with people who could hire you later on. You might want to spend your time chatting with authors, editors, book bloggers, and anyone else who might help you get your official start.
Few key things to keep in mind
Now, if you want to learn how to get paid to read books, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.
If you have a desire to get involved before the book is published, you will most likely need editing, grammar, or similar skills.
Otherwise, you’ll most likely be more involved in the promotion or reviewing side of book publishing.
You might also need to work your way up in the beginning. For example, you might need to do a good handful of your reviews for free or for payment of an advanced copy of the book before you’re able to start charging for it.
Just consider it a learning curve and know that eventually the work will pay off, especially if you keep networking and writing.
Depending on how you want to get involved in the industry, you might need certain experience or connections to get your official start.
Keep in mind, you don’t always have to have traditional experience, such as a college degree. If you’re simply passionate about books, there is a way for you to get involved in the book industry as you build your reputation and skills.
If you want to get a traditional job in the book world, you might need to get a few different traditional qualifications, but you can also spend time freelancing or doing an internship.
However, if you choose to go down a different path, you might want to simply focus on publishing your reviews online to gain experience that way.
How to get paid to read books — the options
When it comes to figuring out how to get paid to read books, you might approach it in a few various ways.
This will outline all of the clear-cut options for you to pursue, but also know that many people rotate between all of the options or create their own completely unique paths.
As a proofreader, your job will be to make sure the book is free of spelling and grammatical errors before it is published. You’ll need an intimate knowledge of grammar and formatting rules.
If you’re someone with a sharp eye for small mistakes, this might be a great way to get paid to read books.
To get your foot in the door, either for a job or as a freelancer, you’ll need to be able to showcase your editing skills. You can start to build these even through freelancing or joining groups to edit people’s work.
The average salary for a proofreader is $53,800.
Becoming a book editor will take a little more work than some of the other paths, but it’s certainly not impossible to get into.
Many people who eventually become book editors start as book reviewers.
Editors are important because not only are you often catching things like typos or grammatical errors, but you are also often tasked with helping steer the direction of the book.
You will need to be able to see how various chapters weave together, how they overlap, and what needs to be added or removed. It’s much more involved than proofreading, so know that it can be a much bigger time commitment. However, it can be exciting to know that you’re involved in how a story comes together.
If you’re someone who often thinks, “This chapter didn’t even make sense” or see how there are missing key plot holes in stories, this might be a perfect career for you.
The average salary of a book editor is $63,946.
Becoming an early reviewer is an exciting prospect as you’ll get advanced copies of books before anyone else gets to read them.
If you’re truly making a name for yourself in the industry as a reviewer, some publishers will even pay you for your time to deeply review the book and give your feedback.
When it comes to payments as an early reviewer, keep in mind that payments range anywhere from a few bucks to hundreds of dollars. The various amounts usually are dependent on your reputation, the site you’re submitting your reviews to, and the length of the review.
Goodreads is one of the biggest platforms for book reviews, so if you’re just dipping your toes in you might at least want to start building a portfolio and reputation there.
If you choose to go more of a traditional route, most major publications also have a book review section. If you choose to go this route, you will want to start building your portfolio sooner than later, which you can do on almost any of the major book review sites.
Book blogger or brand
If you choose to go down your own path, you can start up a blog and start writing about books. You can cover books you’ve read, books you’re looking forward to, pick a particular type of book niche, or cover anything else about books you want to.
Building up a blog can be a labor of love in the beginning, but tons of book bloggers are sent advanced copies of books or are even paid to review books on their own blogs.
If you were truly ambitious, you could also create related social media profiles, podcasts, YouTube channels, or anything else you wanted so you could build a brand in the book world.
For example, book discussions on TikTok are (at the time of writing this article) one of the most popular ways reviews are spreading across the internet. They’re so popular, even Barnes and Noble is dedicating an entire section of their website and stores to books currently popular on the platform.
If you’re ready to get paid to read books, choose your path based on the advice listed above. Luck favors those who take action.
And if you’re ready to build a full freelancing career around one of these paths, check out the Freelance Writers Den.