Some of the best side hustle ideas are the ones that combine making money with a favorite hobby or passion. For avid readers, a side gig that pays you to read books could sound like a dream come true.
But can you actually get paid to read books? Surprisingly, you can and there are multiple ways to earn a side income from your love of books. Professional reader jobs do exist, and they can offer a way to make money from your favorite reading spot.
If you’d like to get paid to read books online, here are some of the best ways for book lovers to make money.
Sites That Pay You to Write Book Reviews
One way to get paid to read books is by writing book reviews. Book review sites ask readers to share their opinions in a detailed review and offer payment in the form of cash or free books.
Here are some of the most popular review sites to make money reading books.
1. The US Review of Books
Pay rate: Varies per review
The US Review of Books hires experienced reviewers who want to earn money reading books online. With this company, book review opportunities are posted and assigned based on your experience, skillset, and reading interests.
If you want to write for the US Review of Books, you’ll need to apply first. The site asks for a resume and samples of your writing. You’ll also need at least two professional references if you want to be considered. They prefer reviews that are short, succinct, and professionally written, so make sure the samples you’re sending meet those criteria.
The US Review of Books pays for completed book reviews monthly, with checks sent out on the 5th day of each month.
Related: How to Get Paid to Write Reviews
2. Kirkus Media
Pay rate: Varies per review
Kirkus Media is one of the most established and well-known book review companies around. This company looks for book reviewers who are fluent in English and/or Spanish to review indie book titles.
Reviews are typically around 350 words each and have a two-week turnaround time. If you’d like to apply, you’ll need to email their review editor with a resume, some writing samples, and a rundown of what you specialize in as a book reviewer.
Before you can get paid to read books online with Kirkus Media, it helps if you have some experience as they do require a resume and some writing samples. If you also have editing experience, that may be worth mentioning as Kirkus occasionally hires editors.
3. Online Book Club
Pay rate: $5 to $60 per review
Online Book Club pays less than $100 per review, but it’s a good side hustle idea to consider if you want to earn a little extra money for your time spent reading.
You can apply to become a book reviewer through the Online Book Club website. It’s quick and easy to create an account and start reviewing books.
One thing to note, however, is that your first review isn’t paid; instead, you get a free copy of the book you’re reviewing. After that first one is completed, you can start getting paid to read and review books. And review copies of any subsequent books are also free.
4. Women’s Review of Books
Pay rate: Not specified
If you want to get paid to read books written by women or that center on women’s themes or issues, Women’s Review of Books is worth checking out. You can pitch ideas for book reviews directly to the editor.
The Women’s Review of Books generally prefers experienced reviewers, journalists, or readers with an academic background. But if you’re a good writer, consider applying anyway. You might be accepted as an online book reviewer based on the quality of your review writing samples.
5. Publisher’s Weekly
Pay rate: Varies per review
Publisher’s Weekly is a news magazine dedicated to the book publishing industry. In addition to the latest updates and trends, they also publish book reviews written by freelance writers and book reviewers.
The pay isn’t specified, but this could be a great option if you want to make money reading books and you prefer a variety in the genres you read. Publisher’s Weekly publishes book reviews on everything from sci-fi to romance, nonfiction, and horror.
You can check their online listings to see if any professional reader jobs are available. When you’re ready to apply, you’ll need a resume and a couple of well-written book review samples.
Other Ways to Make Money Reading Books
Book review companies aren’t the only way to get paid to read books. Depending on how much time and creativity you have, you could make money reading with any of these options.
6. Become an audiobook narrator.
Audiobooks have grown in popularity thanks to companies like Audible. If you have a good speaking voice and a talent for acting, you could get paid to read books out loud as a narrator.
This is a side hustle you can do at home, which is good if you need a flexible way to make money. It requires minimal equipment; all you’ll need is a microphone and a way to record your voice. You might even go into a studio to record the book if that’s available.
If you’re interested in finding audiobook narrator jobs, you can try sites like ACX or Voices.com. Upwork is another place to look for paid audiobook narration jobs.
7. Start a book review blog, YouTube channel, or podcast.
If you want to get paid to read books and write reviews but you don’t want to work with a book review company, you could monetize your reading skills with a blog, YouTube channel, or podcast.
There are a variety of ways to make money with a book review blog, including:
- Earning money from book referral affiliate sales
- Selling digital printables such as a reading tracker or book journal
- Partnering with authors or publishing companies to write sponsored posts
- Hosting ads on your site
Starting a blog is something just about anyone can do, even if you don’t have stellar technical skills. If you’re interested in this but aren’t sure what to do to set up a blog, check out our step-by-step guide.
If writing isn’t your strength or you want to try a different medium, you can set up a YouTube channel or podcast to review books. Those can be monetized through affiliate partnerships with sites like Bookshop.org, sponsorships, and ads. You might even offer a premium paid subscription to your podcast.
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8. Become a freelance book review writer.
If you have decent writing skills, you can turn that into a side hustle as a freelance book review writer.
Freelance book review writers work with different companies and brands. For example, you might write reviews or content for sites like BuzzFeed Books, Book Riot, or BookBub in addition to your own blog. And as a freelancer, you’re not an employee making this different from working as a professional reader.
Writing book reviews on a freelance basis can be a good way to make money reading books if you want something flexible that fits around your schedule.
Related: How to Become a Freelance Writer
9. Become a book proofreader or editor.
Before books are published, they go through multiple rounds of edits and proofreading. Editors review the content of a book and make revisions to help improve the flow, clarity, and organization of ideas. Proofreaders review what’s written to check for spelling errors, grammar errors, punctuation mistakes, and capitalization errors.
If you don’t have any professional editing or proofreading experience, those are skills you can learn. Taking an online course, for example, can help you learn the basics of how to make money proofreading. You can also try testing out your services on sites like Fiverr before trying to turn proofreading or editing into a side hustle or full-time job.
10. Become a freelance beta reader.
Beta readers get paid to read books when they’re in the finished manuscript stage and awaiting final publication. A beta reader’s job is to read the manuscript and offer a critique from a reader’s point of view. That critique can then be used to polish the final manuscript so the book can eventually be published.
Becoming a freelance beta reader requires an eye for detail and fluency in the language of the books you’re asked to read.
If you’re interested in finding freelance beta reader jobs, you can try a site like Upwork or Fiverr or search an online job board like Indeed.
11. Learn a new skill and implement it.
If you want to get paid to read books online, you could always come up with your own creative way to do it. For example, translating books is one option if you’re fluent in another language.
You could offer your services as an eBook formatter if you’re willing to learn the different online publishing platforms. You might even offer cover design, book marketing services, or author coaching services.
There’s an endless amount of possibilities you can offer if you want to get paid to read books.
Do What You Love and Monetize Your Reading Hobby
Having a hobby is great but having a hobby that makes you money is even better. If you love to read, finding ways to get paid to do it is a great side hustle idea. And you can always try different ideas to see which one works best.
Starting a book review blog, for example, could be lucrative over the long-term if you’re able to monetize it. But in the meantime, you could earn some quick cash writing book reviews or picking up freelance proofreading jobs online.
The more open you are to experimenting, the more possibilities there are for getting paid to read.