If you’re anything like me, you love a good book.
There’s something incredibly satisfying about grabbing a great read and dissolving into your sofa for a lazy Sunday afternoon without a care in the world.
However, while reading might be a leisurely activity, this hobby can also be turned into a side hustle if you know where to look.
I’ve covered how people can make money writing reviews before, but this post is going to break down the best ways you can make money reading books and writing short reviews for them.
If you’re a fellow bookworm who is looking to make some additional income, this is the post for you!
How To Make Money Reading Books – A Quick Note
If you want to read for money, I definitely think it’s possible to turn your love for reading into a decent side gig.
However, most of these ideas are just that: side gigs.
1. Kirkus Media
Kirkus Media is a reputable company in the book reviewing space, and offer a wide range of services for authors, editors, and book lovers alike on their website.
Kirkus is also seeking English and Spanish book reviewers to cover content for Kirkus Indie, the media company’s magazine section that features independent authors.
Reviews have to be roughly 350 words in length, and reviewers are given 2 weeks to read and review books once they are assigned. Kirkus covers pretty much any genre, and they expect a high quality review with some thought, not a plagiarized jumble.
Kirkus pays $50 for reviews based on testimonials I have read, so this could be a decent way to make money by reading and reviewing books.
Extra Reading – How To Make $50 A Day.
If you want to get paid for your opinion and earn free books in the process, Online Book Club is the place to be.
Online Book Club isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and they outline that very clearly in their hiring page.
Rather, Online Book Club is designed to help new authors promote their work, and they have some incentives in place to attract qualified reviewers. It’s as simple as that.
Your first few reviews for Online Book Club will be unpaid, but you will get all reading material for free. If your review quality is high enough, you can then start to earn $5-$60 per book review.
The U.S. Review of Books is currently hiring freelance writers for both book reviews and guest blogging, but you’ll need some prior experience, sample work, and at least 2 professional references for your entry application.
If you’re hired, you’ll be assigned books to read and review that match your reading preferences as closely as possible. Reviews are 250-300 words and expected to be completed within 2-3 weeks of assignment.
The website doesn’t state how much reviewers are paid, but reviewers are paid on the 5th of every month for the previous month of work in addition to receiving free books.
While Any Subject Books is not currently seeking reviewers, this site is still one to bookmark as it has historically been a reliable way to make money by reading and providing your opinion.
Any Subject Books has reviewers commit on a book-by-book basis to provide honest and thorough reviews for the books they read.
Payment varies based on the length of the book a reviewer is assigned, and submissions are not guaranteed to be accepted. However, if you can build a relationship with Any Subject Books once they start hiring reviewers again, you might have found a reliable source of extra income.
5. Book Browse
Book Browse is a predominantly U.S. book club website, and it also has paid opportunities for reviewers.
Any genre is welcome on Book Browse for the most part, but to become a paid reviewer you will have to complete an application form along with some sample reviews.
Book Browse reviews are roughly 300 words in length, so this isn’t too much work upfront.
According to Book Browse “Our reviewers tend to write about one review a month for us, and receive a byline and modest payment,” so make of that what you will. Regardless, if you want free books and to get paid to read, this is another option to consider!
Booklist is a review journal for public and school libraries, with a primary goal of assisting librarians and readers with their selections. Book reviews are the backbone of Booklist, who publish roughly 8,000 reviews a year.
While opportunities are limited, freelancers can be commissioned to write reviews for $15/piece, or blog posts for the Booklist website for $12.50.
You’ll have to familiarize yourself with the publication and get in contact with a genre-specific editor if you are interested in working with Booklist, but this could be a decent opportunity if you have experience with review writing.
Women’s Review of Books has been around for 36 years, and while they are currently paying writers for their reviews and stories, they expect you to have experience and credentials to back up your pitches.
WRB expects all pitches to include information on your credentials, the type of work you are interested in, and samples of your previous already published work.
Writers are paid $100 per review, so this is definitely one of the higher paying jobs out there, but competition is tough for this one.
If you’ve ever been told you have a voice that’s fit for radio or extremely soothing, you might be able to get paid to read books aloud by doing voice over work or even audio book recording.
Websites like Fiverr or designated voice over marketplaces like Voices.com offer an incredible amount of opportunity for voice over work.
Audio book gigs can pay thousands of dollars, and there is only going to be a growing need for audio work as the world continues to become more digital.
9. Start An Affiliate Site
Personally, if I were planning on turning my hobby for reading into an income stream, I would take the blogging route because that’s what I understand most.
Starting your own blog is not quick or guaranteed money.
However, I think the potential value of creating your own website is much higher than working $15 gig jobs on review websites. The path to income might be much slower, but the rewards could be worth it.
If there is a particular genre you are interested in, you could start a very niche website to cover books or content in the space.
Alternatively, if you are interested in a general topic, you could start a blog on that subject and just write book reviews every so often. Between Amazon affiliate links and advertising revenue, you might be able to make a modest bit of side income every month!
I’ve personally always wanted to create a military history based blog where I write about interesting battles or historical figures and then promote my content on niche communities on Reddit, so perhaps this will be a side project down the line!
Extra Reading – How To Pick A Blog Niche!
10. Start A YouTube Channel
Okay, want something to brighten your day?
Take a look at the YouTube channel Paper Back Dreams.
It’s run by a young adult who clearly loves books. She has 80,000+ subscribers on YouTube, plenty of other followers on various social media platforms, and is probably making bank by having companies sponsor the intro to some of her videos (plus any ad revenue, is she runs ads).
This is proof that you can take a passion, turn it into a hobby, and earn income while providing other people value.
I watched one of her videos, and it was hilarious (as well as informative). I’m not remotely surprised she’s found success on YouTube, and a quick search brought up plenty of other book review channels with decent followings as well.
As long as you create something of value and market yourself effectively, you can make money doing almost anything.
Just note: if you’re wondering if you can read books aloud on YouTube for money, the answer is no.
Book reviews are okay because you’re providing your own thoughts and intellectual property on a subject.
The reason you can’t read books on YouTube is because it’s essentially copyright infringement.
You can read excerpts and likely be alright, but I’d focus on the review for the most part!
However, it’s certainly possible to make money on YouTube, so don’t let competition scare you!
In fact, I started my own channel recently, and have grown it to nearly 10,000 subscribers!
So, if you love books and have always wanted to start a YouTube channel, this idea could be up your alley!
11. Editing Work
If you have great attention to detail and a strong command of grammar and language, editing work is another money making option for anyone who enjoys reading.
Editing jobs are always in demand, and while I’ve found they are harder to get than general content writing work, the pay can be quite lucrative. According to Indeed.com, freelance editors earn $23+ per hour on average, although editors with experience or specialization in a certain vertical can make more.
You will probably have to build up a portfolio or business website for you services, and securing your first few clients will be tough (you may have to price yourself competitively to get through the early stages).
However, with enough hard work and determination you may be able to build your own proofreading and editing side hustle in time!
You can also checkout this list of 32 remote job websites to start your online job search for editing work!
While this option is similar to point 11, Upwork is an awesome marketplace for editors, reviewers, and even ghostwriters. If you want to get paid to read books, it’s definitely worth checking out Upwork and creating your own freelancer profile.
Upwork sucks in that they charge between 15% – 20% in service fees on all contracts. However, if you have some serious editorial credentials, you can charge a decent rate.
Just check out these two Upwork book editors I found:
Obviously, this isn’t the most leisurely way to make money reading books. However, for a side job or even full-tie career, there’s plenty of money on the table.
Extra Reading – Best Upwork Jobs For Beginners.
At the end of the day, I think most people love the idea of being paid to do something they would do for free.
The main reason I started This Online World is because I enjoy writing and I wanted to make money while helping other people.
Has this blog made me rich, or do I have a great hourly rate? Not at all, but that doesn’t matter. I’m having fun in the process, learning, and connecting with some very interesting and like-minded individuals along the way.
You can approach any hobby of yours with the same mentality, if that’s your goal.
There’s nothing wrong with doing something you love without involving money, but there are also plenty of creative ways to monetize a passion if you think outside of the box.
So, for all my fellow bookworms out there, I hope you have enjoyed these 11 different options to make money by reading!
Catch you all in the next one.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
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