How to Get Paid for Reading Books
Reading books is a relaxing hobby, but it's also an ideal way to earn money. Most jobs that involve reading books also require writing assignments or related proofreading tasks. Some employees who read books as part of their daily responsibilities work for companies or agencies, while others outsource their services as freelance agents. As a book reviewer or a freelancer, you might be asked to read fiction or non-fiction materials, depending on the organization's needs and your skills and expertise.
Book reviewers read books and critique them based on the employer's criteria, such as the believability of the characters, setting, plot, conflict, resolution, tone, mood and message. Visit the websites of companies such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews or Library Journal to see if they're hiring people to read books and write reviews on them. Companies that hire freelance book reviewers often send one or two books at a time and give writers several weeks to read the books and write reviews. Permanent, full-time staff are typically paid salaries and benefits. Freelance book reviewers are typically paid by the review.
Publishers hire editors to read manuscripts and edit them for grammatical mistakes, spelling errors, punctuation problems, content inconsistencies, factual errors and poor sentence structure. For example, an editor might catch a mistake such as a character who's described as having brown hair later being described as a blond. Some editors work as full-time, permanent, onsite staff and are paid salaries. Others work as freelance agents and get paid by the book. Visit the website of publishers such as McGraw-Hill, Scholastic, Houghton Mifflin and Harper Collins to see if they're currently hiring editors. Or, visit freelance websites, such as Elance, Guru and ODesk to locate available editor jobs.
Although it is not their main duty, librarians often are paid to read as part of their jobs. For example, some might host book clubs where participants read and discuss different types of books. Others work in library juvenile departments and read books aloud to youngsters. Those who work at circulation and reference desks often read an assortment of books so they can better serve patrons. Full-time librarians are typically paid salaries, while part-timers are often paid by the hour.
Most book publishers and companies that produce book reviews require entry-level writers to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in journalism, communications, English or a related field. Book editors who edit and proofread specific types of content may need expertise in a particular topic before getting hired. For example, a degree in history might help an editor who typically proofreads biographies or history books. Librarians typically have degrees in library science or information science, but associate library staff aren't always required to have academic degrees to apply for available positions.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.