Do you love to read? If so, then you’ve probably like me and have spent a small fortune throughout your lifetime on books.
But what if you could flip the script? What if you could actually get paid to read books?
Well, it turns out that you can, and in multiple ways.
So put that book that you’ve been working on off the side for a few minutes, brew yourself a nice cup of coffee, and settle in to learn 19 ways to get paid to read books.
Get Paid to Review Books
As a booklover, what is the first thing that you do before laying down cold, hard cash to purchase a book? You check the reviews, right?
Positive reviews are important to all authors, but no more so than to up-and-coming, self-published authors. If even just a few people read their book and can vouch for how fascinating, creative, or mind-blowing it is, it could literally be the difference between their book being a success or failure.
Knowing this, it’s no surprise that there are a large of number of organizations that exist to help authors get those reviews they so desperately need.
- These organizations are often the publishers of the book themselves or they are being paid a fee by self-published authors to acquire reviews.
- The point is that, either way, they have a vested financial interest in the book, which allows them to pay readers for their reviews.
If you are accepted by one of the businesses below to become one of their reviewers, they’ll send you the book for free (first win) and some will even pay you in cash for your review (second win!).
Kirkus pays freelancers to review the books in the “Indie” section of their site (the area dedicated to self-published authors), but make it clear that reviews of their Indie books are held to the same standard of excellence that they expect for reviews of all other books on their site.
Reviews for Kirkus are expected to be 350 words and are due two weeks after the book is assigned.
Kirkus accepts reviews for nearly ever genre, so if there’s a specific type of book that you’re really in to, there’s a good chance that Kirkus will have books along that line for you to review.
They do require a resume and writing samples to be sent in with your reviewer application.
2. Online Book Club
Online Book Club will give you a selection of books and allow you to choose which one that you would like to review. Once you’ve finished your first book, write and send in your first review.
- If Online Book Club likes and approves of your first review, you’ll be paid for all future reviews you make for them.
- They empathize that they want authentic reviews, not necessarily positive. If you don’t like the book, feel free to say so.
On their sign-up page, Online Book Club says that they between $5-$60 per review.
3. The US Review
On a regular basis, The US Review posts a list of book titles for reviewers to look over. Reviewers respond back with the books that they would like to be sent to review.
- Books are assigned in the order of request, so the quicker you respond with your preferences, the better chance you have of receiving the book that you want.
- Once you’ve received your book, you have 2-3 weeks to submit your review.
The US Review does not provided an estimated payout range for reviews. You’ll have to negotiate that on an individual basis with their editor.
They do, however, say that they pay out monthly via check on the 5th day of each month. To apply, you’ll need to send in your resume, writing samples, and 2 professional references.
4. Any Subject
Unfortunately, Any Subject is not accepting new reviewers at this time. But because they are one of the few review sites that do pay in cash, I would recommend keeping them in mind and checking back on their site periodically.
5. Book Look Bloggers
Book Look Bloggers is a Harper Collins Christian Publishing book review site designed specifically to get reviews from bloggers. If you are a blogger who would love to get your hands on the newest books from Christian authors for free, then you need to check out Book Look Bloggers.
Here’s how it works.
- Create an account with Book Look Bloggers and pick a book for them to send you for free to review.
- You create your 200-word review and post it on your blog as well as one retail site (like Christianbook, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc.)
- Log in to your Book Look Bloggers account, provide the link to your review, and then request another free book!
6. Moody Publishers
Moody Publishers has a program almost identical to the one outlined above by Book Look Bloggers. They allow 60 days to send in your review after receiving your free book.
Approved reviewers also gain access to their Facebook group and receive a “Moody Publishers Book Review Program Member” badge that they can place on their blog.
Like several of the others, Civitas is specifically looking to obtain reviews from bloggers. In addition to posting your review on your own site, they require you to also post it on Amazon.
8. Women’s Review of Books
Women’s Review of Books focuses on serious scholarship and in-depth analysis of the books on their site. They only accept experienced reviewers, academics, or a journalists. They do, however, pay very well at $100 per review.
Sound enticing but don’t have the kind of experience that Women’s Review of Books is looking for?
That’s ok. What you could do is start writing for some of the other review sites to gain experience.
In this way, you get time to hone in on your craft and create excellent writing samples that you can later send Women’s Review of Books along with your application.
9. New Pages
New Pages is a site dedicated to helping further the careers of indie writers and publishers and to bring resources and support to the writing community in general.
Like many of the others listed above, New Pages does not offer cash payment for book reviews, but will continue sending you free books for as long continue to send in reviews.
According to their guidelines, reviews should be 800 words in length and you are given a 1-2 month turnaround time to send in your reviews after receiving your free book.
Get Paid to Narrate Books
Audiobooks are possibly more popular today than ever before and there’s four main reasons why:
- We live in an increasingly commuter culture, where people are spending long hours on a daily basis on the highway or on public transportation.
- Very few people buy their books in physical stores anymore, opting instead to buy on sites like Amazon and their competitors. On virtually every online book listing is a “Buy Audiobook” option, often being offered for a more affordable price than the physical book.
- Subscription audiobook services like Amazon’s Audible and Walmart’s Kobo have made it easy to get instant access to a new audiobook every month.
- And finally (and probably most importantly), with the prevalence of smartphones and earbuds today, anywhere you go your audiobooks can go with you. We’ve come along way from the days of audiobooks coming on bulky cassettes and CDs.
I, personally, love audiobooks. They allow me to turn all kinds of odd moments, like mowing my grass or riding in the car, into “book time.” I recently listened to an entire book over the course of a little over a week during my daily bike rides!
With the growing popularity of audiobooks, it’s no surprise that everyone from the bestselling author to the self-published author, wants to create audiobook versions of their books.
This has created a tremendous need in the marketplace for audiobook narrators.
If you love to read and you think you have the voice and the skills of a narrator, you may be able to use one of the platforms below to create a lucrative book-reading side hustle!
ACX (Audible’s Creative Exchange) is the place where authors who plan to publish on Audible’s platform connect with freelance narrators.
It is a huge, thriving community. On their homepage, they have testimonials of several high-performers who have turned narration into their full-time jobs.
And on the day that I visited their site they had over 1,400 titles that were open for auditions!
On ACX, narrators can choose to charge a per-hour fee or 50% of the royalties.
- With the second option, you could potentially earn more money if the book does well, but could also earn much less if the book ends up being a flop.
- If you decide to go the per-hour route, expect to earn well over $100 per hour, with the potential to earn upwards of $400 per hour if you build a good reputation over time.
Do keep in mind that the audiobook narrators are also expected to be the audiobook producers.
- This means that you’ll need to create a home studio and get proficient at post-production editing.
- Thankfully, ACX has created a series of videos and resources to help you get your home studio up and running.
ACX really is an amazing platform that could help you make some serious money reading books. For a summary of ACX, watch this humorous video they’ve produced which compares their platform to a matchmaking site.
VoiceBunny is a platform that connects professionals with narrators who can create audio clips of any size, from just a few words (for projects like podcast intros or advertising spots) to entire books.
Since their business is more focused towards commercial clients, it’s not too surprising that VoiceBunny charges clients by the word. For 1,500 words (which they say equals about 10 minutes of recorded time), they pay between $200-$300.
To apply at VoiceBunny, however, you need to have had some prior experience as a professional voice actor.
- If that’s not you, then I’d recommend starting with ACX to hopefully land a few gigs.
- Then, once you’ve gotten some experience under your belt, you could apply for better paying gigs, like the ones found on VoiceBunny.
BrillianceAudio is another platform that connects narrators with audiobook projects that need to be completed.
Brilliance Audio does not require that you have prior work experience before applying. You can simply submit a demo of your work.
They require that every demo package include:
- Several fiction selections (3-5 minutes each) that offer at least one example of a straight read (no voice characterization) and three with full voice characterization and dialogue.
- At least one dialogue sample between male and female characters to show how you would handle that.
- One sample of nonfiction, such as history, self-help, or business.
Voices.com is a huge voice talent platform that services some big-time clients. Microsoft, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and Hulu, are just a few of the companies that Voices say use their platform to find voice actors.
While it’s obvious that commercial work is a big part of their business, Voices does have a dedicated audiobook platform as well.
Voices allows anyone to create a free profile on their platform and upload demos of their work.
However, if you want access to auditions you’ll need to become a paying member, which costs $41.60 per month.
Get Paid to Copyedit & Proofread Books
If you’re a bookworm, there’s a good chance that you’re a grammar nerd too. Assuming so, there could be opportunities out there for you to make money as a freelance copyeditor or proofreader of books.
If you haven’t done either before, I would recommend first reading The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications by Amy Einsohn. This will give you a good understanding of the kind of work that publishers expect copyeditors to do.
If you’re really serious about getting into the copyediting field, then there are a number of schools that offer Copyediting Certifications as well.
Proofreaders are a bit different than copyeditors in that they do not typically share opinions about the book’s concepts or ideas and do not worry about correcting wordiness, bad transitions, or jargon.
- The proofreader is simply there to be the last set of eyes to make sure that there are no errors.
- The proofreader is also concerned with how the book looks on the printed page (or PDF), rather than just what it says.
Proofreader jobs are a bit more difficult to land. On the sites listed below, I would start by applying for copyediting gigs and then move to proofreading jobs after you’ve gained experience.
Contently is an online platform where you can create a profile to show all of your best copyediting or proofreading work and clients can contact you to offer you jobs.
The platform tends to appeal more to corporate clients so you may want to wait to join until you’ve landed a few smaller assignments on some of the other sites.
The good news is that if you do get offered a job on Contently, it’s usually very high-paying work and they pay very promptly.
ProBlogger has both low and high paying jobs available on their job board.
- As opposed to Contently, where clients will often fine you, on ProBlogger you’ll need to respond to job offers yourself.
- The higher-paying clients on Contently will usually want to see that you’ve had some prior experience copyediting or proofreading,
Payment arrangements do vary on ProBlogger based on the client, so make sure you have things worked out and that you feel comfortable with how you will get paid before you ever start a project.
Freelancer is a job board that works a lot like ProBlogger. Freelance does tend to feature a lot of jobs that are on the lower-paying end.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check Freelancer out. On the contrary, Freelancer is a great place to get starting work and to meet people in the writing community that may be able to connect you with higher-paying and more consistent work later on.
With over 12 million freelancer and 5 million clients, Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms in the world.
People from all types of professions use Upwork to promote their skills, including:
- Web developers
- Customer service agents
- Virtual assistants
- Accountants and consultants
- Salespeople and marketers
And, yes writers, editors, and proofreaders do too. You can find ridiculously low-paying jobs, gloriously high-paying jobs, and everything in between on Upwork.
Each project on Upwork also includes an online workspace shared by you and your client where you can send and receive files and communicate via text or audio.
Promote Books as an Affiliate
If you really love to read, have you ever thought about starting a blog? You could to talk about the books that you love and why.
If so, you could become an Amazon or eBay affiliate, which simply means that they pay you a commission for every book (or other product) that is bought as a result of traffic sent to them from your site.
If you already have a blog that focuses on any topic whatsoever, you could create a post with your favorite books on that topic.
- For example, if you have a health blog, you could create a post called, “The 6 Health Books That Have Influenced Me the Most.”
- Or if you have a cooking blog, you could create a post titled “My 5 Favorite Crockpot Recipe Books.”
The possibilities really are endless. How cool would it be to get paid to recommend books that you genuinely believe can make a positive difference in people’s lives?
Below, we breakdown the processes you need to follow to become Amazon or eBay affiliate and their respective affiliate guidelines.
18. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s wildly popular affiliate program. In their application review process, they recommend having at least 10 posts already up on your site before applying and the content needs to be recent (within the last 60 days).
Amazon pays different commission percentages depending on what kinds of products are sold.
- For physical books, they pay 4.5%.
- If you want to know what they pay for other items, you can check out their fees schedule.
Once you’ve been accepted to their program, you’ll have 180 days to drive qualified sales Amazon’s way.
- If you no referrals have been completed during that time, Amazon will deactivate your account.
- I know, bummer.
The good news, though, is that you can re-apply at any time. So even if you don’t make any qualified sales your first go-round with Amazon Associates, definitely try again once your blog has enjoyed some traction and growth.
19. eBay Affiliate
While it doesn’t get as much press or attention as Amazon Associates, eBay’s Affiliate Program offers two big advantages:
- First of all, they pay much better. You get paid 50% of all book sales and can actually make up to 70% on other product categories!
- It is also easier to join eBay’s affiliate program and stay on their platform.
For these reasons, eBay’s affiliate program may be the best choice for bloggers who are just starting out and still developing their readership.
Bet you never knew there were so many ways that you could make money reading books?
- Whether it’s through reviewing, recording or editing books, there’s a good chance that you could be compensated for your services.
- And for all my blogger friends out there, becoming an affiliate could allow you to create an income stream by simply referring people to books that you love.
Have you personally used any of the ideas that were listed throughout this article? If so, we’d love to learn which strategies you’ve had the most success with!