For many, reading is a great way to spend leisure time. Whether you love fiction and fantasy, non-fiction books like self-help manuscripts, or even more serious crime novels and thrillers, there are literally endless possibilities out there that you can dive into during your free time. For the avid book-reader, there is never a dull moment.
However, since you dedicate so much time to books, why not make a little money along the way? That’s right! There are platforms and opportunities that will pay you to do the very thing you already do for free. But how does one get started in finding such opportunities, and where should you start looking if you do want to earn money for reading books?
If reading and earning is something that you may be interested in, let’s take a look at the 10 sites that pay you to read and review various written works!
Get Paid in Cash to Write Book Reviews
1. Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus (or Kirkus Reviews/Kirkus Media) is arguably one of the most well-known book reviews website on this list. With a clean user interface, exciting fresh takes on new books, and a writer’s center for those aspiring to become published in the future, it is easy to see why Kirkus has gained the reputation it has.
The only problem with the first entry on this list is that it does not openly list the rates that it pays for reviews or that it even accepts reviews from outside sources at all. Additionally, you’ll find that the careers hyperlink at the bottom of the website only takes you back to the top of your current page.
If that deters you from wanting to write for them, there are plenty of other excellent options on this list. Most book reviews are approximately 350 words, and while pay is not listed, it is reported that Kirkus pays about $50 per book review with every review due two weeks after it has been assigned.
2. The US Review of Books
The US Review of Books is another viable source of income for voracious readers looking to earn money while reading some new books being sent in for review by various authors. As it is with most review sites, those who sign up with The US Review of Books will be able to choose from a list of pending titles. These titles will then be assigned to the respective writers and writers will be given around 2-3 weeks to complete their 250-300 word summaries (make sure that you know the Chicago Manual of Style ahead of time).
This is another website that does not state exactly how much you could make reviewing books through their platform. That said, pay for your time and efforts is assured as they do state that they send out checks every 5th of the month for all of the reviews that writers have completed the previous month. This can be an excellent way to pad your monthly income when you first start out a new month!
3. Online Book Club
Looking to work with a book review website that is a bit more transparent about the writing and payment process? Consider writing for Online Book Club! Online Book Club is a free website for book reviewers that has been around for 10 years and boasts having had over 10,000 book submissions thus far, which means that there is a high and steady demand for book reviews on this website.
Besides the free books you will receive to review, you can also expect a payment of anywhere from $5 to $60 per book review, with the website stating that you could realistically earn a couple of hundred dollars per month. The sign-up process is easy and you can get started right away!
4. Reedsy Discovery
Reedsy is a platform that is dedicated to helping indie authors access the tools and resources they need to grow as a writer, establish connections with other professionals in the industry, and, over time, get their work published. As such, you can imagine that they would have a platform where they can get their work discovered.
Reedsy Discovery is a book review platform where passionate readers can gain the opportunity to read indie books before they have even managed to make it into the sites of other readers. Where it differs from other platforms is that Reedsy Discovery gives you the opportunity to brand yourself as a high-quality book reviewer, giving you the ability to build your brand and connect with even more authors.
Now, the most important thing to know when using this platform is that payment is not guaranteed. Rather, Reedsy Discovery runs on a reward system where readers of your reviews can tip you in $1, $3, or $5 to reward you for your hard work. If you want to make sure that you are getting paid for the work you do, Reedsy Discovery may not be the right platform for you. (That said, Reedsy does have other platforms where you can offer editing services, if you have experience going over and editing books. This will provide you with guaranteed payment in return for your hard work.)
Booklist is a bit different from other recommendations on this list as it offers a more traditional pitching experience. Rather than signing up for Booklist as a reviewer, Booklist asks that you send a query expressing your interest in reviewing a book for them. They assign all freelance book reviews, so if you pique their interest, they will be assigning you the book for the 175-word review that you will be writing. (If you have other writing talents, they also pay for blog posts and featured articles.)
As they state on their website, reviews pay $15 (with book rejections paying $5 and appended YA recommendations paying $5 more), while blog posts will pay $12.50 and featured articles will be paid out based on the negotiated rate between you and their head editor. If you have a passion for reading and experience writing, this may be a great opportunity for you to build your reviewing resume and get your foot in the door of other publications.
6. Writerful Books
Writerful Books is another excellent platform to sign up for if you’re hoping to make money with your book reviews. While they state that you can review anything you like, they do clarify that, “we prefer contemporary novels from American, Australian, British, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand authors”. Once you fill out their brief and simple application form (and are approved), you can begin to write reviews for them.
It is important to note that they do list compensation but this only applies to their trusted book reviewers. If you write in-depth, insightful book reviews and catch their attention, they offer their paid reviewers anywhere from $10 to $50 per book review. Want more? They also state that the top reviewer on their website will be rewarded with a $100 Amazon gift voucher!
7. Wellesley Centers for Women
Aptly named, the Wellesley Centers for Women’s Women’s Review of Books is, “… the premier feminist book review and remains proudly a print publication. WRB reviews scholarship as well as fiction, graphic novels, poetry, and memoir usually (but not always) by women. We strive to review a diverse array of books in many fields, genres, and styles for each issue. Edited by feminist author Jennifer Baumgardner and published by the Wellesley Centers for Women in partnership with Old City Publishing, WRB provides a unique perspective on today’s literary world.”
Although this publication may be a little bit harder to get into, they do accept queries and assign reviews, which will be much higher in the 1500-word range. They do not explicitly list payment, but they do recommend that you reach out to their editor in order to learn more about how they pay (the deadlines will be provided with the assignments). If you want to make sure that you query them successfully, go over their writer’s guidelines to make sure that you get a successful response the first time around.
In our busy society, having information summarized and made easily-digestible helps us learn what we need to know without having to through the entire book. As you can imagine, these types of products and services have become quite popular in today’s world, and one opportunity for you to make money doing just this is by visiting Instaread.
While Instaread does not currently have any requests for summaries at the moment, they do pay you handsomely, offering readers $100 for each successful summary between 1,000 and 1,500 words (with titles mostly featuring non-fiction books). If this is an opportunity you want to take advantage of, make sure to keep an eye on their submittable page and check frequently for summary opportunities.
getAbstract is another popular summary platform that translates whole books into 10-minute, bite-sized summaries. However, this is not a platform where you can submit a pitch. Rather, they seem to hire workers on a freelance basis, with some of the advertised freelancing jobs right now being for English/Mandarin summarizers and science writers. Pay will vary depending upon the job and its expectations, but this may provide you with the same flexibility you would be getting by doing traditional book reviews (and at a much larger profit).
Shortform is a summary company that has recently been making its way around job boards as they are looking for readers, editors, and other literary professionals. This is not a guaranteed source of income, but if you have experience writing and love reading, you could make money summarizing your favorite non-fiction books this way as well!
There are always alternative ways to get paid for the things you love doing without having to use the traditional channels like those seen above. If you want to make further income doing what you love, you may want to look into:
- Starting Your Own Blog: If you are someone who writes excellent book reviews and can build an audience of dedicated readers who love what you have to say about certain series, you may want to consider starting a blog of your own. Although starting a blog will require some time and effort, you can begin to monetize your existing traffic by using affiliate marketing, partnering with authors or publications, and even offering exclusive memberships to your dedicated readers to connect them with excellent books before they are even on the market!
- Starting a Book Review Channel: Starting your own blog can be fun, but starting your own vlog can make things a little more personal between you and your audience. Why not take to the air when you’ve finished a book and let everyone know how great it was? With time, you can grow your audience and monetize your platform with sponsorships and ads. (You may even want to transition into reading for audiobooks).
- Offering Your Review Services on a Freelance Basis: Some authors may not go through websites like those above but may instead look for freelancers looking to do review work. If you know how to pitch and catch the attention of clients, consider freelancing and offering your review services to authors who want to ensure that their book is the best it can be before it is published.
- Go a Step Beyond and Offer to Edit Books: If you have a good eye for grammar, tone, flow, and storytelling, you can easily build upon your review efforts by helping writers edit their manuscripts. Although this is a bit more time-consuming (and you will certainly need to prove not only your talent but have a portfolio and experience as well), it can pay far better money than reviewing alone!
Almost every passion can be turned into profit, and this holds true for people who love to read. If you want to make money reviewing books in some of your favorite genres (and gain access to books that others may not even know exist yet), use the guide above to tap into some of the best paying websites for book reviews and expand upon your reviewing prowess as you move forward!