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There are a handful of ways to make money online — from the most lucrative side gigs to uploading your receipts for cash. But perhaps one of the easiest ways for literature lovers is to simply read books for money. If you’re already tearing through page after page of novels, memoirs, and all other kinds of book genres, you might as well be doing it for profit, right?
Fortunately, there are a few different avenues you can look into in order to get paid for reading books. One such way is to peruse websites that will pay you to write book reviews, but there are other options, too — online proofreading and recording transcripts for audiobooks, just to name a few. If you love reading and never judge a book by its cover, getting paid for one of these gigs might just start a new chapter for you.
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13 Sites That Pay You to Read Books
ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is a digital platform that pays you to record audiobooks. You have to individually audition for each audiobook recording, so to speak. That usually only entails uploading samples of your voice. Once you record an audiobook through ACX, there’s a pretty high chance it will be listened to by many. After all, ACX’s audiobooks are often distributed through Amazon, iTunes, and even Audible.
Rates vary, with some more experienced narrators charging as much as $250 an hour. While you might not get paid that right out of the gate, the ACX website offers more insight into another payment option: royalties.
ACX operates on a royalty system that pays anywhere from 20 to 90% of the audiobook’s retail price. They’ll even throw in another $25 for each time the audiobook is the first purchase made by a new Audible member.
One more perk of ACX’s payment model is that you get paid on a monthly basis, so depending on the success of each audiobook, it could become a reliable source of supporting income.
Will it make you rich? Probably not, but it could be a decent side gig.
If you’re interested, apply to be an ACX narrator.
Like most other websites where you can read books for money, you won’t find yourself getting a long-term contract with BookBrowse. They only work on a rolling, freelance basis. So while you won’t get hired as a staffer, there are opportunities to snatch up reviewing gigs as they become available. That being said, the website mentions that most writers end up writing one review per month.
BookBrowse typically focuses on fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing a book review, reviewers are also responsible for writing an article for BookBrowse’s “Beyond the Book” vertical, too. Reviews are approximately 100 to 300 words.
The BookBrowse website isn’t entirely clear on what their going rate is, however, it does mention that reviewers “receive a byline and modest payment.” It also appears that BookBrowse will provide you with the book you’re reviewing and let you keep it when all is said and done.
Apply to be a BookBrowse reviewer.
Booklist is a publication from the American Library Association that also publishes book reviews — ones that focus on books for schools and libraries. Reviews are very low maintenance in terms of length: usually anywhere between 150 to 175 words.
Since the main goal of Booklist is education, reviews are really more akin to recommendations. Why should a school teach this book? Why should libraries stock it? To accomplish Booklist’s purposes, their reviews require a light synopsis, comp titles, and then recommendations for the intended audience.
Reviews go for $15 a pop, but even if your review isn’t used, Booklist still pays you a kill fee of $5. It’s peanuts, sure, but it’s something. Plus, the more you get your byline out there as a reputable reviewer, the more other review journals will want to work with you.
Applications for Booklist reviewers are opening again soon.
4. Findaway Voices
Like ACX, Findaway Voices is an audiobook-recording platform. First thing you need to know is that the pay is really good! For one recording, you can get anywhere from $150 to $300 per hour. That’s a pretty lucrative side gig if we say so ourselves.
After filling out a portfolio on the site, you’ll be eligible to audition for different books. That said, Findaway Voices recommends having a few different samples of your reading abilities — strong samples that show your talent.
Audiobooks recorded through Findaway Voices may end up on Spotify, Audible, Amazon, Apple, Google, B&N Audiobooks, and many more, so you can expect impressive distribution.
Sign up to be a Findaway Voices narrator.
A book summary platform, getAbstract breaks nonfiction books down into palatable summaries — about a 15-minute read for each. It’s also a good option for readers whose interests extend beyond books, as getAbstract also publishes these quick, condensed synopses for podcasts and articles.
The goal of these summaries seems to be to entice the reader or listener to either delve into the full body of work or alternatively provide viewers with the main idea. You can think of it like the Sparknotes of the adult world.
If you have a passion for memoirs and other kinds of nonfiction books, it’s worth checking out getAbstract’s Career Opportunities tab, which frequently updates with callouts for writers.
Unfortunately, we can’t find any detailed information on their website about pay rates. It’s clear that they use a freelance method, but as far as how much they pay for a gig, it’s unconfirmed. According to GlassDoor, the median salary for a freelance writer at getAbstract is a little over $5,000 per month; however, The Krazy Coupon Lady was unable to verify that information nor deduce how frequent the work is monthly.
Peruse getAbstract’s job opportunities for freelance writers.
Related: 10 Ways to Get Free Books Online for the Whole Family
One of the higher paying book review sites is Instaread, which doles out $100 per book summary. Their summaries are relatively long-form, with most clocking in at 1,000 to 1,500 words. However, they compute to about a 10-minute quick-read for viewers.
Despite the copious word count, Instaread isn’t looking for anything too deep. Less critique or critical take, Instaread focuses on highlighting the most important parts of a body of work; as in, what can you take away from this book absorbing all of its main ideas in only 10 minutes?
When Instaread is accepting applications for reviewers, the site will update their Submittable account.
7. Kirkus Review
One of the more respectable book review sites, Kirkus Review analyzes more than 10,000 titles annually. If you’re looking to get your name out there as an established book reviewer, this one should definitely be on your radar.
Because it’s a more prominent site, they do have a pretty robust list of requirements: to apply, you will need to have some writing samples handy as well as your resume.
Sure, they’re open to all genres, books of any length, and books both digital and paperback, but Kirkus is firm about deadlines. Your 350-word book review is due two weeks after a book is assigned to you. So you’re not only getting paid to read a book; you’re getting paid to write a book review fast.
Rates seem to be anywhere from $50 to $60 per 350-word review. Since Kirkus requires a resume and writing samples, it may not be a good fit for anyone first starting out. If you haven’t been published before, you might want to launch your review-writing career with a more accessible review site that specifically seeks out new voices.
8. Online Book Club
For your first review, Online Book Club will provide the book for free with no monetary payment. Every review after, you will get paid a range between $5 to $60. While their website doesn’t specifically say which reviews pay what, you’ll still continue to get each book for free.
More so than any other book review website on this list, Online Book Club is completely honest, admitting “First of all, this is not some crazy online get-rich-quick scheme. You won’t get rich and you won’t be able to leave your day job.”
Now that’s some transparency we can get behind. If you’re looking to read, write, and make a quick buck or two, try out Online Book Club. But if it’s a more lucrative side gig you want, maybe look elsewhere.
Sign up to review books with Online Book Club.
9. Publisher’s Weekly
Publisher’s Weekly has been around for a while — since 1872. With a long-standing positive reputation, this weekly trade news magazine primarily has an audience of booksellers, librarians, literary agents, and publishers.
If you’re really interested in pursuing writing, Publisher’s Weekly is the cream of the crop. It’s a great way to get your byline in front of the people that really matter.
PW’s call for reviewers includes reviews in several categories: Comics & Graphic Novels, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, American History (Colonial and Civil War eras, and the 20th Century), Christian Living, Occult, Indigenous Spirituality, Sports, Entertainment/Pop Culture, Memoir, Psychology, and Nature/Ecology.
They’re also looking for the following from Canadian writers (to be published in Canada): Mystery and Crime Fiction, Poetry, Science and Math, and Health.
Publisher’s Weekly also specifically encourages LGBTQ+ people and people of color to apply.
How much PW pays is up for debate. Some writers say PW pays an honorarium only (that’s essentially no monetary pay; only payment in the opportunity and clout). Other writers say the payment is, in fact, $25 per review. And still others say payment is up to the individual editor’s discretion.
Take a peek at their job openings for writers in Publisher Weekly’s Job Zone.
10. Reedsy Discovery
While Reedsy Discovery doesn’t seem to have a big budget for book reviews, they do offer some other fun perks. For example, one of the best parts of working with this book review site is that you get access to books before they’re even published. That way, book reviews are timed to the actual release date, making the reviews all the more relevant and timely.
So how is that possible? Authors make it possible! They’ll actually submit their books directly to Reedsy in the hopes that it will be reviewed. Now, you don’t actually get paid from Reedsy itself. As readers buy the book, they leave what Reedsy calls a “tip.” That money goes to you. It’s hardly a large amount (maybe $1 to $5), but the more people buy the book as a direct result of your review, the more you can make.
Apply to become a reviewer with Reedsy Discovery.
11. Tyndale Blog Network
Over at Tyndale Blog Network, you’ll find a book review program called My Reader Rewards Club. MYRC pays on a freelance basis by rewards system. The more earnable actions you do with the site, the more you earn.
While some of the actions include writing book reviews on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (both get you 10 points), inviting a friend to join or sharing on social media can get you just as many points. You also get 25 points just for signing up.
However, there’s one major caveat: you can only make a max of 50 points in a span of 30 days.
Unfortunately, points can’t be cashed in for literal cash. Those points can be used to redeem eligible books from Tyndale (kind of like a Chuck E. Cheese or a Dave & Busters-esque system).
Grab more information on the Tyndale Blog Network.
12. Women’s Review of Book
Women’s Review of Book is one of the highest paying book review sites, as they’re on par with Instareads, paying $100 per review. It’s also a very respected publication, so the byline recognition alone is a big deal.
Genres that Women’s Review of Book focuses on include biographies, fiction, poetry, and visual books as well.
Before you think you can jump right into writing for WRB and getting paid $100 per review, you should know that this site prefers experienced reviewers. You may want to start at some of these smaller pubs (with smaller pay) before you graduate to WRB.
Send an application and proposal through their website.
13. Writerful Books
Writerful Books pays anywhere from $10 to $50 per review. But before applying, you have to be able to show examples of past reviews you’ve had published. Again, this might not be a good one for anybody who’s just getting started.
If this sounds like you, though, one of the greatest advantages to working with Writerful isn’t necessarily the pay. Instead it’s the fact that you can personally choose the books you review. No assignments doled out here!
Check out Writerful Books’ job listings for openings.
Other Ways to Get Paid Reading Books
14. Writing e-books
One way to get paid for “reading books” is to actually write them yourself. It’s tangentially related, of course, but it’s still a way to make a buck from literature.
You don’t have to write a full-length novel, a 100,000-word memoir, or a book distributed by a publishing house, either. There’s enough demand for e-books that you can actually make some good money writing them.
Essentially, writing e-books is a form of self-publishing. There is no need for a physical copy, so you cut costs in production and you don’t need an agent or editor either. Some e-book distributors to look into include Amazon KDP, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble Press, Rakuten Kobo, and Draft Digital.
How much you make from writing an e-book (or e-books) depends on how successful your sales are and which distributor you work with. Apple Books, for example, doesn’t charge you a fee to upload and pays you 70% of royalties; Amazon KDP, which is kind of known as the big dog ’round here, offers 70% royalties on e-books sold for $2.99 to $9.99, or 35% royalties for e-books priced below $2.99.
Can you spot a typo at the drop of a hat? Do you have an incomparable understanding of grammar? Then proofreading might be the perfect fit for you.
Getting into the proofreading biz might be a bit easier if you start with self-publishing authors first. Anyone who’s looking to upload their book themselves (see the above ebook info) will probably want a proofreader. This is a professional eagle-eyed reader who can spot mistakes, typos, and even discrepancies in plot.
With proofreading, you can set up your own rates. Make a profile on freelancing sites like Upwork or Fiverr so you can get the most eyes on your call-out. According to one article published on LinkedIn, the average range for proofreaders is about $25 to $45 per hour.
If you have the passion and the time to dedicate to it, proofreading could be rather lucrative.
16. Start a blog
We know, we know — everyone (and their mother) has a blog right now. While you may have missed the height of blogdom (ie before IG and TikTok influencers were even a thing) there’s still hope for your book review blog.
Blogging is easy and pretty inexpensive besides setting up an account and a domain. However, it can be difficult to gain traction with readers when you’re starting out. Use social media to your advantage and promote, promote, promote.
How much you make blogging varies wildly, and it depends on so many different factors. If you run a successful blog, the opportunities are endless. You could make as much as $5K a month. Other bloggers with smaller readerships might make $500 or, well, nothing at all.
The key is to monetize your blog with tools like Adsense and advertisers. While it’s possible to make money reading books this way, blogging is more of a long game.
17. Create a YouTube account
In the same vein as blogging, you can use social media to your advantage by creating a book-reviewing YouTube account. Some of these accounts don’t even have a blog to go with it. They simply rely on monetizing their YouTube account on its own or pairing it with other social media outlets.
Again, advertising is a crucial factor in being successful on YouTube. Many YouTubers use Adsense to make money passively through ads. In addition to that, the CPM (cost per thousand) is generally anywhere from $1 to $20 based on viewers.
18. Work in the publishing industry
Don’t get it twisted — getting into the publishing industry isn’t easy. A lot of it is who you know, what you went to school for, and where you interned. Even then, it isn’t the easiest world to break into.
But there are plenty of different routes to go once you’re in. Publishing industry opportunities include everything from publicists and designers to copy editors and literary agents.
Unlike some of these other paid-per-gig options, a job in the publishing industry is usually a salaried, full-time position.
19. Translate books
If you are lucky enough to be bilingual, it’s time to take advantage of that skill and put it toward your own book-related career. Books need translators all the time. Translating is a highly coveted skill that could be extremely profitable.
Translations are usually paid on a per-word basis, so how much dough you take home depends on how long the manuscript is. Typically translators can make anywhere between $0.08 to $0.18 per word. The longer the book, the more you walk away with.
You can get started translating books by starting work profiles on LinkedIn, Upwork, Ulatus, Guru, Bablecube, and more. These jobs usually hire on a freelance basis.