10 ways to make money from reading books

If you’re an avid reader with your nose perpetually buried in a book, you’re in good company. We share your passion for reading, and that’s why we’ve explored avenues to transform this wonderful hobby into a source of income. Keep reading to discover how you can get paid to read books.

While getting lost in a captivating book is a delightful experience, it’s remarkable to realize that you can actually enjoy your favorite stories and earn money in the process.

The avenues for making money from reading are diverse, from becoming a part of BookTok, to launching a literary blog, to narrating audiobooks. These options cater to a range of preferences, whether you’re seeking a side hustle to complement your studies or aiming for a full-time career. In the list provided below, you’ll discover money-making ideas that suit your interests and goals.

How to make money by reading books

Here are the best ways to read books for money:

1. Join BookTok

In the UK and various parts of the world, TikTok has exerted a profound impact on the reading habits of numerous individuals. The platform has witnessed a surge in book sales attributed to book recommendations featured on BookTok, a term used to describe book-focused content on TikTok.

Additionally, you might encounter book-related content referred to as ‘Bookstagram’ on Instagram and ‘BookTube’ on YouTube. By joining BookTok, you can conveniently share similar content on Bookstagram and BookTube, thereby expanding your online presence across multiple platforms.

For those aspiring to establish themselves as book reviewers, launching a BookTok account is an excellent starting point. It allows you to transform your reading hobby into a potential income source.

In the initial stages, generating substantial earnings from BookTok may prove challenging, especially for newcomers. However, as you amass a sizable following, you can explore opportunities in brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing.

At this juncture, there exists the potential to earn a significant income through reading books. In an article by The Guardian about BookTok, an anonymous content creator revealed that they could command fees of up to £8,000 for two videos.

Nonetheless, it’s important to be mindful that not all sponsored content on BookTok necessarily entails genuine recommendations. It’s entirely possible to earn income while authentically reflecting your feelings about books, ensuring that viewers can place their trust in your content.

How to start a BookTok account

woman on phone

To become part of the BookTok community, start by creating a dedicated TikTok account centered around reading. Opt for a username and profile picture that relate to books. Afterward, follow other BookTokers to gain insights into the books they’re reading and the trends they incorporate into their videos.

Creating compelling BookTok content hinges on understanding the books and TikTok trends that currently hold sway in the community. Take inspiration from these, but also inject your unique creative flair into your videos, ensuring they reflect your personality.

In your videos, aim to review a mix of both popular BookTok books and lesser-known titles. This approach allows your audience to identify with your reading preferences while also discovering new books to explore.

When you share your videos, remember to use relevant hashtags, especially #BookTok, to connect with the right audience for your content.

Popular BookTok books

Here are some books that are popular right now on BookTok:

2. Write book reviews as a freelancer

If you have a deep love for books and possess a knack for writing, exploring the path of a freelance writer can be a lucrative endeavor.

As a budding freelancer, securing paid commissions can be challenging, but it’s entirely achievable. To bolster your pitches, having a portfolio of previously written articles can be immensely helpful. These articles could be published on your personal website or even in publications such as a university student paper.

When you commence pitching your ideas, it’s advisable to target newspapers and magazines that align with your literary interests. For instance, if your passion lies in nineteenth-century classics, a magazine dedicated to contemporary bestsellers might not be the right fit.

You might also consider delving into the realm of book reviews by contributing to platforms like Reedsy Discovery. Payments here are based on a tipping system. If readers appreciate your work, they have the option to send you tips of $1 (approximately £0.80), $3 (around £2.50), or $5 (about £4.10).

3. Start a book blog

Creating a blog offers the freedom to express your thoughts and ideas at your convenience, making it a wonderful platform for self-expression. Moreover, it has the potential to generate income, making it an appealing side hustle.

Much like the previously mentioned tips, earning an income through blogging requires time and dedication. Over time, your blog’s growth can translate into a steady stream of earnings.

One effective method to monetize your blog is through affiliate marketing. In essence, this involves you, the blogger, endorsing a product or service. When your readers make a purchase or subscribe to a service based on your recommendation, you receive a modest commission.

There are also alternative avenues for generating income from your blog, such as on-site advertising and accepting paid guest posts. For a more comprehensive understanding of how to make money through blogging, consult our detailed guide on the subject.

4. Run a book club

books

Book clubs offer a wonderful opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and engage in discussions about books. But did you know that you can take this experience a step further by making money through book club organization?

Whether you choose to host the book club online or in person, you have the option to charge a nominal fee to your members. These individuals appreciate that organizing and managing a book club requires time and effort, and they are likely to be willing to compensate you for your role as the organizer.

To succeed in this endeavor, it’s essential to ensure that your book club is enjoyable and well-organized. Members should look forward to returning week after week. Additionally, having a strong grasp of books and literary analysis can be a valuable asset. If you are currently studying English Literature at university, for instance, highlighting this in your book club’s advertisements can be beneficial.

In addition to traditional book club sessions where everyone reads the same book and discusses it together, you can also organize author events. This involves inviting an author to participate in a Q&A session with your book club members.

To attract members to your book club, consider using platforms like Meetup. This website enables individuals in your local area (or from anywhere in the world if your sessions are virtual) to discover your book club when they are seeking new reading groups.

5. Proofread books for money

If you’re passionate about reading and enjoy spending your spare time with novels and non-fiction books, you can turn this passion into a source of income by becoming a proofreader for authors.

Proofreading books can be a potential source of income even while you’re still in university. Websites like Fiverr offer a platform for freelance book proofreaders to advertise their services, with basic plans starting from as little as £4.10. These basic plans often include proofreading a small sample of text. As you gain experience, you can gradually increase your fees, with some experienced proofreaders charging £600 or more for editing and proofreading an entire book.

To excel in this role, you should possess excellent attention to detail and have a strong command of spelling and grammar. The ability to meet tight deadlines is crucial, so being a quick reader can be an advantage.

If you’re new to freelancing, you can refer to our beginner’s guide to freelancing for answers to your questions and helpful tips to get started.

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6. Become a book podcaster

Starting a podcast about literature is an excellent way to turn your passion for books into a potential source of income. Here are the steps to consider:

  1. Create Your Podcast: Choose a theme or niche for your podcast, whether it’s book reviews, author interviews, literary discussions, or any other literary-related content. Plan your episodes and create a content schedule.
  2. Recording Equipment: You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment when you’re just starting. Use your smartphone and a good-quality microphone to record your episodes. As your podcast grows, consider upgrading your equipment.
  3. Editing and Post-Production: Edit your podcast episodes to ensure high-quality audio. Free or affordable editing software is available for beginners. Take the time to learn basic editing techniques.
  4. Hosting and Distribution: Select a podcast hosting platform to upload your episodes. Platforms like Libsyn, Podbean, or Anchor offer easy distribution to podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
  5. Building an Audience: Promote your podcast through social media, your website, and other platforms. Engage with your audience and encourage them to subscribe and leave reviews.
  6. Monetization: Once your podcast gains traction and a consistent audience, you can explore monetization options. This may include advertising, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, or even offering premium content for paid subscribers.
  7. Costs and Investments: While podcasting can be started on a budget, you may eventually need to invest in better recording equipment, audio editing software, and marketing efforts to grow your audience.

Remember that podcasting is a long-term endeavor, and success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes dedication, consistency, and quality content to build a loyal audience and monetize your podcast effectively. For more in-depth tips and strategies, you can refer to our guide on the best ways to make money from a podcast.

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7. Get paid to narrate audiobooks

Becoming an audiobook narrator can be a rewarding way to earn money while indulging your passion for books. Here are the steps to consider if you want to become an audiobook narrator:

  1. Develop Your Narration Skills: Narrating an audiobook requires excellent diction, pronunciation, and the ability to convey the emotions and tone of the text. If you have a background in drama, voice-over work, or public speaking, it can be an advantage.
  2. Equipment and Space: You’ll need a quiet and acoustically sound space for recording. Invest in a good-quality microphone, headphones, and audio recording and editing software. Consider soundproofing or acoustic treatments for your recording space to reduce background noise.
  3. Portfolio and Audition: Create a narration demo that showcases your skills and different vocal styles. You can include excerpts from various types of books, such as fiction, non-fiction, and genres you’re comfortable with. Join platforms like ACX, Findaway Voices, or other audiobook production services to find audition opportunities.
  4. Networking: Connect with authors, publishers, or self-published authors who are looking for narrators for their audiobooks. Attend voice-over events, conferences, and online forums to network and find potential collaborations.
  5. Copyright and Payment: Negotiate a contract with the author or publisher, specifying the payment structure. You may receive a one-time fee or a royalty share, depending on the agreement.
  6. Recording and Editing: Record your narration using professional equipment. Edit and master the audio to meet industry standards.
  7. Submitting and Publishing: Once the audiobook is complete and meets quality standards, it can be submitted to platforms like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, and others for distribution. You can work directly with audiobook publishers or use self-publishing platforms.
  8. Marketing: Help promote the audiobook through your network, social media, and other channels. Positive reviews and ratings can boost sales.

Becoming an audiobook narrator can be a competitive field, but it offers a unique way to combine your love for literature with earning income. Building a strong portfolio and developing your narration skills are essential steps to success in this career.

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8. Work as a book editor

Man reading

Working as a book editor is a rewarding career for those who have a passion for literature and a keen eye for detail. Here are some steps to consider if you want to become a book editor:

  1. Educational Background: Having a degree in English, literature, or a related field is beneficial, as it provides a strong foundation in language and literature. Some editors may also hold degrees in journalism, communication, or creative writing.
  2. Gain Relevant Experience: Consider internships, part-time positions, or freelance work that involves editing. This could include working for a university press, a publishing house, or an online publication. Building a portfolio of editing projects can showcase your skills.
  3. Develop Strong Editing Skills: Being an editor requires proficiency in grammar, punctuation, and style guides like The Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press (AP) Stylebook. Practice editing various types of content to improve your skills.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep up with industry trends, changes in publishing, and developments in digital publishing. This knowledge can help you adapt to evolving editing requirements.
  5. Networking: Connect with authors, publishers, and fellow editors through writing and editing associations. Attending conferences and workshops can also help you build a network of professional contacts.
  6. Apply for Editor Positions: Look for job openings at publishing houses, literary agencies, magazines, and online publications. Tailor your applications to highlight your relevant skills and experience.
  7. Develop a Portfolio: Create a portfolio of edited works to demonstrate your expertise to potential employers. Include different types of content such as book excerpts, articles, or academic papers.
  8. Continuous Improvement: Consider further training and professional development to enhance your editing skills. Courses and certifications can add credibility to your profile.

Book editing is a competitive field, but the demand for skilled editors remains high in the publishing industry. As you gain experience and build a reputation, you can progress in your career as an editor.

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9. Pursue a career as a literary agent

Becoming a literary agent is a career that requires a deep love for literature, strong negotiation skills, and an understanding of the publishing industry. Here’s how you can work towards becoming a literary agent:

  1. Education: Consider earning a relevant degree, such as English Literature or Creative Writing, to develop your understanding of literature and writing.
  2. Gain Industry Experience: Start by working in the publishing industry to gain an understanding of how it operates. Entry-level positions in publishing houses, literary agencies, or as editorial assistants can provide valuable experience.
  3. Read Extensively: Develop a deep love for reading and a keen eye for promising manuscripts. Aspiring literary agents should be well-versed in a wide range of genres and have a strong sense of what makes a book marketable.
  4. Build a Network: Establish connections with authors, publishers, and professionals in the literary world. Attend literary events, book fairs, and writers’ conferences to expand your network.
  5. Learn about Literary Markets: Stay informed about trends in the publishing industry, book sales, and popular genres. Understanding the market is crucial for identifying marketable manuscripts.
  6. Develop Editing Skills: Literary agents often provide feedback on manuscripts to help authors improve their work. Strong editorial skills are essential.
  7. Internships: Consider internships at literary agencies or publishing houses to gain insight into the agenting profession and build your resume.
  8. Create a Strong Submission Record: As you develop your career, focus on building a record of successful manuscript submissions and author representation.
  9. Agency Employment: Seek employment at a literary agency or start as an assistant to established literary agents. This is a common path to becoming a full-fledged literary agent.
  10. Representation: Once you have enough experience, authors may approach you for representation. Negotiating book deals on behalf of your clients is a crucial part of the job.

Becoming a literary agent takes time and dedication. A successful literary agent is someone who is passionate about books and dedicated to helping authors achieve their goals. With the right skills and experience, you can make a significant impact on the literary world.

10. Design book covers

Designing book covers can be a rewarding career for artists who love both books and visual arts. Here’s how you can pursue a career in book cover design:

  1. Build a Strong Portfolio: Start by creating a portfolio of your best design work. Include book cover designs that showcase your skills and style.
  2. Study Design: Consider studying graphic design, illustration, or a related field to gain the technical skills and knowledge necessary for book cover design.
  3. Develop Your Style: Develop a unique artistic style that sets you apart from other designers. Your style should be adaptable to different genres and target audiences.
  4. Join Design Communities: Connect with design communities and organizations to learn from experienced designers and get feedback on your work. This can help you improve your skills and make valuable connections.
  5. Freelance: Begin your career by offering your services as a freelance book cover designer on platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, or even your own website. Build a client base and gain experience.
  6. Network with Authors and Publishers: Attend book-related events, writing conferences, or join literary organizations to network with authors, self-publishers, and publishers.
  7. Understand Genre and Audience: Familiarize yourself with the different book genres and their specific design expectations. Understanding the target audience is crucial for creating effective book covers.
  8. Keep Up with Trends: Stay updated on design trends and technology to ensure your work is contemporary and competitive.
  9. Promote Your Services: Use social media and online platforms to showcase your portfolio, share your design process, and attract potential clients.
  10. Collaborate with Publishers: Reach out to publishing houses, both traditional and independent, to inquire about design opportunities. Many publishing houses work with freelance cover designers.
  11. Specialize: Consider specializing in a particular genre or style to build a niche reputation.
  12. Licensing Artwork: If you create original illustrations for book covers, you can license your artwork to authors and publishers. This can provide additional income.

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For this undertaking, it proves advantageous to possess at least a bachelor’s degree in a secondary language.

According to insights offered by the Society of Authors, translators typically command a fee of approximately £100 or more for every one thousand words. Nonetheless, it is imperative to note that this rate is subject to fluctuations based on the individualized contractual agreements established between the translators and the publishing houses.

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