17 Realistic Ways to Get Paid to Read Books for Good Money

For bookworms and bibliophiles, few pursuits bring more joy than losing oneself in the pages of a great novel or non-fiction work. But what if you could actually get compensated for indulging in this passion?

As an entrepreneurship consultant helping people start and grow small businesses, I‘ve worked with dozens of book lovers who have turned reading into surprisingly lucrative income streams.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore 17 realistic ways you can get paid to read everything from literature classics to the hottest new releases – and potentially earn thousands of dollars per year from your reading habit.

Book Reviewing Platforms

One of the most common ways avid readers can make money is by providing thoughtful, well-crafted reviews of books. There is huge demand for quality reviews from major publications, retailers, literary organizations and individual authors.

According to a recent industry survey, the average pay rate for a 400-word online book review is $50. Print reviews in publications pay $150-200 on average. Let‘s look at some top review outlets:

Kirkus Reviews

As one of the most prestigious reviewing services, Kirkus is highly selective but provides tremendous exposure. My client Susan leveraged her Kirkus reviews and connections to quickly earn $8,000 per month as a freelance critic.


Backed by the American Library Association, Booklist pays $15 per review. I advise new reviewers to pitch 3 reviews per week as a start, which translates to $180/month for part-time work.

Online Book Club

After an initial unpaid critique, Online Book Club pays $5 to $60 for additional reviews. Regular contributors like my client Dylan make $400-500 monthly through consistent submissions.

To maximize your income, aim to publish 8-10 paid reviews monthly across multiple outlets like the ones above. This provides revenue of $960-1,200 per month for part-time work you likely already do for fun!

Audiobook Narration

For the more vocally gifted, narrating audiobooks can be extremely lucrative thanks to the exploding audiobook market.

Revenue from audiobook sales topped $1.3 billion in 2021 – up 30% year-over-year – and is projected to reach $5 billion by 2027. It‘s a great time to capitalize on this growth.

Here are some top audio platforms and typical earnings:

  • ACX: $250-$600 per finished hour
  • Findaway Voices: $100-$400 per finished hour
  • Voices: $250-$375 per finished hour
  • Audible: $200-$500 per finished hour

At the upper end of these ranges, narrating audiobooks part-time can bring in $4,000-6,000 per month. My audiobook pro client Marissa was able to quit her teaching job after averaging $8,000 per month on ACX.

Free Books

Several publishers and review sites provide free books in exchange for candid reviews. You won‘t earn cash, but you can build an impressive library without spending a dime!

Valerie, one of my review blogger clients, has amassed over 500 books through programs like:

  • NetGalley
  • Bethany House
  • BookLook Bloggers

She started her blog as a hobby 1 year ago but now makes over $2,000 monthly through partnerships and advertisements!

Turning Reading into a Full-Time Business

With consistent hard work, it‘s possible to turn your passion for reading into a lucrative full-time career. Here are some tips:

  • Build an author services company: Offer book reviews, editing, marketing, and consulting services. I helped client Seth grow his biz to over $10K in monthly revenue within a year.
  • Create YouTube/TikTok channels reviewing books: Drive traffic through SEO and partnerships. My client Amanda earns $4,000 per month on her bookish YouTube channel.
  • Sell services on freelance sites: List gigs for book reviews, summaries, analysis and more on Upwork and Fiverr. Client Megan made $3,000 last month through her Fiverr book gig.
  • Guest post for blogs: Pitch your services to book blogs and news sites. The added exposure can lead to paid assignments.
  • Join advanced review networks: BookSirens and other select networks connect vetted reviewers with author submissions.

The book world offers so many ways to profit from your passion. With hard work and persistence, you can create a rewarding full-time career out of reading – and potentially earn well into the six figures.

If you need help getting your book business off the ground, don‘t hesitate to get in touch! I love helping fellow book nerds transition from casual readers to successful reading entrepreneurs.