I’ll be honest: I find it hard to get lost in a good book these days. My mind always drifts back to personal finance.
After all, time is money. It’s hard to take the afternoon off to read a book when you’re hustling and trying to improve your cash situation.
Unless, of course, you can figure out a way to get paid to read books.
As it turns out, there are tons of ways to do just that. So keep reading to learn how to bring in cash while being a bookworm.
- Be an audiobook narrator with Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX)
- Find proofreading or copy-editing gigs
- Work for a publishing house
- Publish books on Amazon Kindle Direct
- Become a getAbstract freelance writer
- Teach English literature
- Edit eBooks for businesses
- Become a caregiver and read to patients
- Work for a library
- Work in a bookstore
- Become a book blogger
- Review books on YouTube
- Read to kids
- Online Book Club
- Women’s Review of Books
- The US Review of Books
- Reedsy Discovery
- Booklist Publications
- Writerful Books
- Kirkus Media
- Read The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller
- Read The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- Read The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle
- Read Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
How to get paid to read books
Here are the 25 best ways to get paid to read books.
1. Be an audiobook narrator with Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX)
ACX is Audible’s publishing platform. If you have a voice like James Earl Jones and a knack for narrating, you should consider signing up and creating a profile. There are many self-published authors looking for an audiobook narrator.
Upload samples of your work with different accents and styles. By putting a lot of samples on your profile, authors can have an easier time discovering you.
If you’re interested in pursuing this, you can get paid to read books for either a per-hour rate or 50 percent of royalties. That’s a pretty solid commission, considering you don’t have to do any writing.
While authors can find your profile on the site, you can also audition for audiobook narrator gigs that you find appealing.
2. Find proofreading or copy-editing gigs
Behind every great author is a solid proofreader. If you’re detail-driven, you can earn income by proofreading other people’s work and revising it with a critical eye.
Find the right author, and you just may edit a future bestseller.
Authors often prefer working with freelancers and proofreaders who are fast, flexible, and easy to work with. Think you have what it takes to proofread for money? You can find gigs on the following sites.
Upwork is a leading marketplace for freelancing and a great way to get paid to read books. There are often users looking for a proofreader to work on novels, short stories, nonfiction works, etc.
Upwork takes 20 percent for the first $500 you bill a client. After that, the site takes 10 percent between $5,000.01 and $10,000 and 5 percent for anything more.
Fiverr is another top freelance marketplace. This site’s a better source for short-term gigs. So while you might not be getting paid to read a full-length book, you’ll have the opportunity to work on smaller jobs.
Just like Upwork, Fiverr isn’t a free service. The company takes 20 percent of what you make.
FlexJobs is a search engine for finding remote gigs.
You’ll have to pay to use this site, but it’s a solid source for proofreading jobs. The service offers four different price tiers:
- $6.95 (weekly)
- $14.95 (monthly)
- $29.95 (quarterly)
- $49.95 (annually)
In my opinion, the one-month package is probably the way to go. You’ll pay a bit more for it, but it may take some time to find gigs at first, and one week may not be enough time.
Try the $14.95 package and see what you can find. If it turns out the be a goldmine of work for you, upgrade to the yearlong subscription to get the most bang for your buck.
Craigslist is one of my favorite places to find side hustle gigs. You aren’t a true side hustler until you’ve spent time trawling through the back pages of Craigslist at odd hours trying to pick up random jobs.
That said, Craigslist is slightly sketchy. But it’s still an excellent place to find reading and editing gigs. Plus, it’s free and doesn’t require you to sign up or submit any information — a major plus.
3. Work for a publishing house
You may want to go all-in and consider a career in publishing.
The career path typically starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in a related field like English, journalism, or communications.
Once you earn a degree, you’ll have to get a foot in the door with the publishing industry. Focus on gaining hands-on training through internships, editing opportunities, and training courses.
Check out the American Copy Editors Society, which offers comprehensive editorial training and certification. These paid courses can help get you up to speed with professional editing standards.
As is the case with most industries, you’ll have to work your way up to becoming a book editor or book coach. But this can be an incredibly rewarding profession, enabling you to work with talented writers while you get paid to read books.
4. Publish books on Amazon Kindle Direct
If you love to read, maybe it’s time to try your hand at writing.
Until recently, becoming an author required the acceptance of a publishing company. However, this is no longer the case.
Amazon Kindle Direct is a self-publishing platform that anyone can access. Simply write a book, edit it, and put it on Kindle Direct. You can set your own pricing and receive a royalty anytime someone downloads it.
Before you dive in, understand that writing your own book takes a ton of work. You may also have to hire a proofreader.
Spend some time brainstorming, and think about whether your ideas would translate well into written form. Then, if you have an idea for a book, start writing and see where it goes.
Who knows? If you’re willing to put in the countless hours as I did, maybe you too can write an international bestseller.
5. Become a getAbstract freelance writer
getAbstract condenses books and articles into summaries. It’s primarily for busy people who don’t have the time to read but want to access the bulk of a book’s message.
You can get paid to read books and write summaries on a freelance basis. Right now, the company is looking for writers who have a background in science and technology.
Sound interesting? The application process involves providing a writing sample and filling out a brief application.
6. Teach English literature
If you happen to have an advanced degree in English, consider teaching at a local college or university. By far, this is one of the best ways for bookworms to make a full-time income.
Teach at a regular college or university, and you’ll most likely receive medical benefits and weekends, holidays, and possibly summers off. In addition, you can teach night classes at a local community college for more flexibility.
The median salary for an English professor in the U.S. is $93,989. While the job obviously entails more than simply reading books, this could be a great career option for you.
You can also look into teaching English online.
7. Edit eBooks for businesses
Businesses often use eBooks to sell products and services.
An eBook is much shorter than a traditional book, running anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words. It typically requires heavy editorial production and thorough copy editing. And many eBook writers can benefit from book coaching.
You can find eBook editing opportunities on freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
8. Become a caregiver and read to patients
Caregivers go into patient homes or work in health care settings — helping older folks, people with special needs, kids, and even pets.
Often, caregivers read to provide comfort and entertainment for their clients. People tell me it’s one of the most rewarding aspects of being a caregiver — and a great way to connect with patients.
Of course, you’ll most likely have to perform other duties as well. Depending on the role, you may have to cook, clean, shop for groceries, and transport patients to doctor’s appointments, classes, or stores.
If you’re interested in this line of work, head over to Care.com to find full-time and part-time work as a caregiver.
9. Work for a library
There’s perhaps no better environment for a book lover than a library.
As a librarian, you’ll have unlimited free books at your disposal. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in reading completely. You’ll also enjoy job security and numerous benefits like health insurance and paid time off. Most school librarians also get paid holidays, weekends, and summer vacations.
If you want to become a librarian, gather up your professional references and put together a resume. After that, figure out what type of library you want to work in. For example, there are school libraries, university libraries, public libraries, academic libraries, niche libraries, and national libraries.
You’ll also need to determine the type of role you want to pursue in a library — whether it’s a librarian, aide, administrative director, technician, or assistant position. Once you have a clear direction in mind, seek out specific training for your target role. Many librarian positions require a master’s degree in library science or MLS.
Generally speaking, the amount you make depends on your title. For example, librarians make about $54,176 per year. At the same time, library services directors make much more, with a median salary of $116,468.
10. Work in a bookstore
If you’re into the gig economy and don’t want the pressure of a full-time library job, you should consider working for an independent bookstore or a national chain like Barnes & Noble.
This is a great place to find part-time work. Of course, you can pursue full-time opportunities as well.
Working for a book store may involve stocking shelves, operating the cash register, and possibly serving coffee. It also requires a love of reading and an ability to communicate with customers and talk about books.
11. Become a book blogger
Being a blog book reviewer is a great way to share your ideas and get paid to read books.
It’s possible to earn income through advertisements and affiliate links as a book reviewer. One way to do this is through the Amazon Affiliates program. By linking to someone’s product page with an affiliate link, you can potentially get a cut of the profit when someone buys something because of your content.
For example, you might give a book a stellar review and link to its Amazon listing on your blog. After that, you could receive payment any time someone clicks on the link and buys a copy.
12. Review books on YouTube
If you aren’t camera-shy, you should consider creating a YouTube channel and talking about books.
As a “booktuber,” you can talk about virtually anything related to books. You could do tours of your favorite shops, interviews, and book reviews, and you could also offer supplementary content too.
You can make money on YouTube through advertising revenue, channel memberships, and selling branded merchandise, to name a few examples.
If you’ve got what it takes to be a YouTube book reviewer, take a look at SavidgeReads for inspiration. This account has more than 23,000 subscribers.
Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll have more.
13. Read to kids
Reading to kids isn’t for everyone. But if you love reading and telling stories to little ones, there’s a lot to like about this type of work.
First and foremost, you’ll help kids foster an appreciation for books. Reading to kids helps with auditory processing, builds attention spans, and gets them off electronic devices.
Plus, you’ll be extremely valuable if you can get kids to sit still and listen. This is very important from a side hustler’s perspective. Teachers, parents, and caregivers love hiring readers because it keeps kids occupied, allowing them to complete other tasks like paperwork and housework.
To get paid to read books aloud, contact local schools and daycare centers. You can even contact Facebook friends and try to drum up support.
You may also want to consider partnering with local facilities that attract field trips, such as zoos and museums. These places often hire professional narrators to read books to kids after lunch or in gift shops.
You won’t earn a ton of money reading to kids, but it will certainly be a fun home job for the right personality type.
Top book reviewing jobs
There’s no shortage of websites that’ll pay you to review books for money.
Here are a few websites to consider that enable you to get paid to read books.
14. Online Book Club
Online Book Club is a free online community for book lovers.
The company provides a wide selection of books to choose from. You can start making money after your first review, with pay ranging from $5 to $60 per review. Plus, you’ll get a free book out of the deal.
If you’re interested in this line of work, give it a look.
15. Women’s Review of Books
Women’s Review of Books is a premier feminist book review hub. It launched back in 1983, and it’s still going strong — fueled by its mission to empower feminist scholars and creative writers.
I hear that the site pays $100 per book review, but you might have to have some professional or academic experience to qualify.
Contact the Women’s Review of Books to learn more.
16. The US Review of Books
The US Review of Books is a well-known book review publication that comes out once a month.
To find work through this publication, keep your eye out for book titles that the site posts. Then, when you see one that you like, request to review it. Reviews should be between 250 and 300 words.
BookBrowse pays freelance writers to review books and help readers find great titles.
The company hires people to produce quality paid book reviews that are at least 300 words. Freelance book reviewers typically write one article per month.
18. Reedsy Discovery
Reedsy Discovery helps readers discover self-published authors.
You can produce written or video interviews for Reedsy. The only downside is that there’s no base pay — you’ll make money from tips only.
I recommend using this site to build up a portfolio of writing samples. If the company accepts your work, you can use the reviews to land other gigs with different companies.
19. Booklist Publications
Booklist Publications is a legit book discovery service. As a member of the American Library Association, Booklist reviews help school and public library workers discover and suggest new materials.
The company pays $15 per review after publication in its magazine or digital properties.
20. Writerful Books
Writerful Books is an Australia-based company that helps publish emerging writers.
Right now, the company’s looking for book reviewers to cover American, Australian, British, Irish, Canadian, and New Zealand authors.
21. Kirkus Media
The company is seeking experienced book reviewers to read works in Spanish and English for the indie section of its magazine, which is dedicated to self-published authors.
Books that can lead you to financial freedom
Get this: Your next big money-making idea may be hiding in the pages of a book.
While you might not get paid immediately after reading these books, these titles can help you develop a money mindset and achieve long-term financial independence.
22. The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller
🏆 Best Book for real estate investing
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor is a must-read if you’re serious about entering the real estate game. You’ll learn all about how to build long-term financial wealth by investing in properties.
23. The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
🏆 Best book for passive income
The 4-Hour Work Week explains how to ditch your full-time job and start making money through passive income. Read this book if you’re looking for a radically different approach to working and making money.
24. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns by John C. Bogle
🏆 Best investing advice
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing provides a primer on index investing.
Author John C. Bogle is the founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Group, a leading provider of low-cost investment funds.
Read this book if you want to build a solid and well-rounded portfolio.
25. Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau
🏆 Best book for making money
Side Hustle is an excellent choice if you’re getting serious about growing your revenue streams. Author Chris Guillebeau provides a blueprint that explains how to select, start, and profit from a side hustle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on getting paid to read books.
Does NetGalley offer free books?
NetGalley provides a way to request and recommend books before their release date.
The company doesn’t pay for reviews. However, it provides readers with advanced review copies (ACRs). This is a great way to get books before other people do, put your name out there as a reviewer, and start forming professional connections.
Is reading books a legit way to make money online?
Reading’s an excellent way to make money online if you enjoy the process and have time for it.
Just keep in mind compensation can vary drastically from job to job. For example, there’s a big difference between reviewing a book for a few bucks and running a library.
Should I read as a side gig for extra money?
Reading can make a wonderful side gig. However, if you’re on a tight schedule, it can also be a real drag. For example, it isn’t much fun staring down a deadline with hundreds of pages to read and review — and no time to do it.
Before you decide to read books as a side gig, look at your schedule and determine whether you have the bandwidth for it.
You may find that it’s best to read for pleasure during your downtime and stick with a side hustle that’s faster and easier. Some examples include walking dogs, babysitting, and managing social media accounts.
What is Publishers Weekly?
Publishers Weekly is a website for publishing businesses, booksellers, and literary agents.
Head over to Publishers Weekly JobZone to access a running list of open book publishing jobs. This job board is a stellar resource if you’re looking to find work in the publishing industry.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of ways to get paid to read books and write reviews.
From reading to kids to reviewing nonfiction books and writing book summaries — if you’re the type who can never be around too many books, you can earn money by pursuing your passion.
Spend some time thinking about which opportunities best fit your lifestyle. You never know when you might stumble into a game-changing gig that makes you reevaluate the way you think about work.