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Get Paid to Read: Four Strategies You Can Pursue

Get Paid to Read

There are many websites that claim to pay people to read, and there are many that do.  However it's important to understand what you're trying to accomplish when starting your journey to becoming a paid book reviewer or reader.

Are you trying to become a better writer? Do you want to be able to read books for free? Do you care which books they are?  Do you want to write shorter, blurb-style book reviews, or longer form criticism?  

Depending on what your goals are, there are four different strategies you can consider pursuing that fall under the umbrella of "getting paid to read."

1. Freelancing

Websites like ACX will enable you to freelance as a book narrator for authors and publishers looking to make audiobooks.  This is a competitive process and requires you to put in the sales work of a regular freelancer, so that's something to consider.  

Obviously you can go on if you want to apply for freelance book review roles, but you'd better be prepared with a portfolio - freelancing is a very competitive process, and some clients can have very exacting standards.  It's very much a long term commitment, and we would only recommend this route to writers who want to build a long term career or side hustle as a freelance writer, moreso than someone who simply "gets paid to read."

2. Easy to Apply Review Sites

These sites are relatively easy to review for, and work more on a "more is more" model.  Reedsy and Online Book Club are two examples.  Reedsy operates on a tip model that caps at $5 - we weren't able to find any online feedback on reviewing for them, but we'll update this post as we learn more.

With Online Book Club, you can make up to $60 per review, but it might take you a while to work your way up to that point.

We'd recommend checking out these sites if you're into indie titles, reading diamonds in the rough, and comfortable with their payment models.

3. High Quality Capsule Style Review Sites

These sites include Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.  For Kirkus, reviews cap out at roughly 350 words - just enough to summarize the book and give a few sentences of criticism.  Similarly, Publishers Weekly starts at $25 for a roughly 200 word review, and Booklist pays roughly $15 for a review of 175 words. 

These review sites are competitive to get into, and you should only apply if you've read many of their reviews to understand the format they're looking for.  You probably won't be a good fit as a casual reader, but if you're serious about publishing and / or writing, these sites are for you.

4. Longer Form Literary Criticism Style Reviews

BookBrowse belongs to this category, as do sites like Women's Review of Books.  At BookBrowse, we pay reviewers an average of $60 per review, but we're looking for a review of 1,000 words, and we ask our reviewers to write a Beyond the Book article accompanying their review in order to showcase a specific fact, setting, theme, etc. of the book that enables our readers to learn something new while they read.

If you enjoy reading closely and aren't afraid to share your opinion, then sites like BookBrowse are a great fit to earn money from reading.

At BookBrowse, we receive hundreds of applications a month, and accept less than 1%.  However, most of the applications we receive are low quality.  Our suggestion to aspiring reviewers is to read as many reviews in the style you're planning to apply for, so that you tailor your submitted pieces to fall within the same style and guidelines.  If you'd like to apply to review for us, you can do so here. Please submit quality, original work that fits our style and the type of books we feature, and we look forward to reading it!


As you can see from this overview, each site has its own expectations for review length, and what they expect to see in the review.  Understanding what the site you're applying to review for is looking for is key to getting your application accepted (assuming it's a competitive process to review).

The good news is that there are many different opportunities to get paid to read.  There's even NetGalley, where you can get "paid" in the sense that you're getting a copy of the book for free.  When deciding what strategies to pursue in order to make money reading, keep in mind your end goals, what reviews you'd be excited to write, and best of luck!


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