10 Ways to Get Paid to Read Books

If you enjoy reading, there are ways you can make money from reading books. Several companies will pay you to read books and then write reviews on them. 

That means that along with reading, it helps if you also enjoy writing. I’ve compiled a list of 10 companies below that will pay you for book reviews. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy doing, read on to learn more about a unique at-home hustle.

(and if you want to double dip, you can read while you donate blood plasma!)

Table of Contents
  1. 1. Kirkus Media
  2. 2. BookBrowse
  3. 3. Reedsy Discovery
  4. 4. U.S. Review of Books
  5. 5. Women’s Review of Books
  6. 6. Online Book Club
  7. 7. Upwork
  8. 8. ACX
  9. 9. Booklist 
  10. 10. Writerful Books
  11. Final Thoughts

The companies and websites mentioned below offer legit ways to get paid to read books. Every site works differently, so I’ve outlined the basic details and an estimated pay rate in each section.

1. Kirkus Media

Pay rate: $40 to $75

Kirkus Media is a longstanding book review company in business since 1933. The company hires people to review books from several genres, including Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance, Nonfiction, etc.

If you read the Careers page at Kirkus, you’ll see that the company wants “experienced” reviewers. 

However, they don’t specify at all what that means. Of course, if you have experience writing reviews for one of the other sites mentioned here, that can qualify. 

If you lack experience, you may want to start a blog about book reviews or publish your own book reviews elsewhere on social media to give Kirkus an idea of your writing style.

Kirkus expects reviews to be roughly 350 words long, and the review is due two weeks after the book is issued to you. 

Kirkus doesn’t publish their pay rates, but rumor has it that it’s between $40 and $75, depending on the book.

2. BookBrowse

Pay rate: Not specified

BookBrowse has been in business for over two decades, publishing book reviews for both fiction and nonfiction adult books, as well as young adult books. 

If you go to the BookBrowse hiring page, the website clearly states that they only hire proficient reviewers. There are links to sample reviews to give you an idea of what they are looking for. 

The company also sticks primarily to U.S.-based reviewers. This is because the publishers they work with are largely U.S. based and will only ship books within the U.S. However, it does state that they will occasionally hire reviewers based outside the U.S.. 

Regardless of location, you must have a computer/mobile device and be comfortable reading ebooks.

You’ll likely get about one review a month if you’re hired. You can be hired to write book reviews or “Beyond the Book” articles. 

Beyond the Book articles are similar in length to the reviews but are meant to expand knowledge of a particular subject the book broaches. 

You’ll be expected to write reviews of at least 300 words. The BookBrowse hiring page doesn’t state the pay except to say that you’ll be awarded a published byline and given modest pay.

3. Reedsy Discovery

Pay rate: Tip-based

Reedsy Discovery focuses on reviewing indie (independently published) books. After you are approved to review for the site by applying here, you can browse the site’s library and choose the books you want to review. 

Reedsy works differently than many other sites on our list because they give you a chance to build your brand by completing a profile directly on the site.

Once you’ve built up some review experience, you can work directly with indie authors. 

The pay for writing reviews is based solely on tips. Readers of the reviews are prompted to send you a $1, $3, or $5 tip after they read your review. 

Of course, readers aren’t required to tip, so you may not earn anything. That said, you could make quite a bit if your reviews are widely read and well-liked.

4. U.S. Review of Books

Pay rate: Freelance, unspecified 

The U.S. Review of Books is a company that connects authors with professional reviewers. The site has tens of thousands of subscribers that read its reviews. 

If you want to get paid by The U.S. Review of Books, you can find out how to send your resume to the editor here.

You must include some work samples and at least two professional references. Your sample work must be similar to what The U.S. Review of Books expects from its reviewers. 

Your review should be at least 250-300 words long and include a summary of the book and your personal insights.

You can include short quotes from the book and compare the book with similar titles. If you get hired to work for The U.S. Review of Books, you’ll have 2-3 weeks to complete each review you’re hired to write.

Unfortunately, The U.S. Review of Books does not specify what you are paid per review. You will work as a freelancer and not as an actual company employee.

5. Women’s Review of Books

Pay rate: $100 per review

Women’s Review of Books is run by the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). Since 1974, the organization has been championing rights for women.

It also publishes its Women’s Review of Books magazine. Note that the WCW has high standards for its editors. 

Formal training in writing and editing will give you a leg up if you want to write reviews for this publication. 

You will have a better chance of being hired if you’re an educator or journalist or have sufficient reviewer experience on your resume. 

You’ll get paid $100 per review if hired to work here, and the publication is often eager to hire additional reviewers. Contact the editor here if you’re interested in writing reviews for Women’s Review of Books. 

Submit your pitch, and attach copies of your previous reviews if applicable. 

6. Online Book Club

Pay rate: Between $5 and $60 per review

Online Book Club is a free online community for those who love to read. The site is a very basic website, but it’s filled with useful information for book readers. 

If you become an email subscriber, you’ll get a daily email sharing information about a book that is either free or temporarily priced at a deep discount. 

The site quickly clarifies that these discounted books are not obscure, mediocre books. Instead, they’re great reads you can get at insider deals. 

The main purpose of this site is to share book reviews. And as such, the site is always searching for reviewers. 

If you are chosen to review for this site, you’ll get a free copy of the book you’re reviewing and a payment of between $5 and $60 for your review. 

The more experience you gain as a reviewer, the higher your pay rate will be. The Online Book Club website says experienced reviewers can make a couple of hundred dollars monthly. 

Go here to apply to be a reviewer for the Online Book Club website. 

7. Upwork

Pay rate: 10% of earnings

Upwork is a freelance marketplace that connects freelancers with those who need their services. You could get paid to read books with Upwork in a few different ways. 

You can advertise your services in the following ways:

  • Book editing
  • Ghostwriting
  • Content creation
  • Translation of books

One cool thing about Upwork is that the site lets you decide your pay rate.

You begin by creating a profile on Upwork, then list your talents on your profile. People searching for help with books can search your profile to see if you’re a good fit.

You can also search for available freelancer needs and apply for work that appeals to you. 

Another nice thing about creating a profile on Upwork is that you can also earn money in other ways. Upwork hires freelancers for work in different fields besides writing and translation. For instance, you can find work in bookkeeping, software development, and IT. 

You can also find work in sales and marketing, administration and support, and creative fields such as graphic design. 

In other words, Upwork opportunities extend way beyond writing book reviews. You can find jobs in various fields that fit your skill set.

Note that you’ll pay Upwork a 10% fee on your earnings through the site. 

Related: Fun Jobs that Pay Surprisingly Well

8. ACX

Pay rate: Varies based on the author you work with

ACX hires people to narrate books. When you work with ACX, you collaborate with authors and help them create audiobooks of their written publications. 

Similar to Upwork, you start by creating a profile on ACX. From there, authors find you, interview you, and then work with you to narrate their published book. 

Keep in mind that you’ll probably have to submit an audition file before you’re hired. 

You and the author work together to determine your pay rate, whether an hourly wage, a royalty percentage, or a per-project amount. 

9. Booklist 

Pay rate: $15 per review

Booklist is a publication/website of the American Library Association. Its first issue ran in 1905. The publication guides school librarians about which books to buy for the libraries they run.

Booklist helps librarians get quality books into schools by publishing reviews of popular books. You can apply to be a reviewer on Booklist by visiting this web page.  

Booklist publishes reviews for newly released books and prefers to hire reviewers familiar with both books and libraries. 

The site expects its reviewers to be timely and professional, avoid plagiarism, be socially conscious, and read the books they review with an open mind.

Most reviews you write for Booklist will be expected to run between 175 and 225 words. 

As a reviewer for Booklist, you’ll be paid $15 per review. Note that you will be charged a $5 “reject fee” if you refuse to review a book sent to you for review.

10. Writerful Books

Pay rate: Up to $50 per review

Writerful Books is a company that focuses on helping authors make their books the best they can be. Authors can find help with editing, manuscript assessment, and more. 

Writerful Books often searches for book reviewers so that they can have help writing book reviews for the authors they work with. 

When writing for Writerful books, you can expect to review books with a group of reviewers with diverse perspectives and reading backgrounds. The company wants to hire reviewers that truly appreciate the immersive emotions that can come when you read a book.

They want your true opinion on how a book lands with you. Genres include chick-lit, horror, mystery and crime, contemporary fiction, inspirational and more. 

You can expect to be paid up to $50 per review when you sign up with Writerful Books. See the Writerful Books website for more information.

Final Thoughts

Like many side hustles, you won’t get rich by getting paid to read books. However, if you’re an avid reader, it’s a great way to get paid for something you’d otherwise be doing all the time.

And while there’s an additional time requirement for writing reviews, most reviews are short, less than 500 words. The more practice you get, the faster you can work.

You may want to consider signing up for multiple sites to increase your earning potential. Also, you never know where a small side hustle will lead. If you enjoy the writing component, you may be able to expand into other areas, such as freelance writing or editing.

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