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Can You Make a Living Book Reviewing?

In answer to a query from a visitor asking if you could make a living as a book reviewer both Paul Lappen and Nigel responded. Their replies formed the basis of this article.

How do you get paid for your reviews? Did you start out reviewing for free then received free books to review? And do you review enough books to make a living?

Hi Paul

We had the above question from a visitor, who originally sent in the 'How to Become a Book Reviewer' question. We did a quick answer from our point of view (see below). He seems to think we get vast amounts of money for our reviews... I'm not sure about your good self but I know we don't!

You may like to answer as well if you can suggest a way of making a living from reviewing (any tips you can send our way greatly appreciated:)

The short answer to your question is: I wish I knew.

A few sites have some sort of express reviewing service, where the author pays a certain amount of money for a fast review. The webmaster will usually assign the book to one of the reviewers, assuming the reviewer is interested in that particular book. The reviewer's job is to get a review back to the webmaster within some short period of time, usually 15 days. Then a cheque for a portion of that author's payment will be on its way to the reviewer.

I have done such express reviews in the past for a particular site ( But I haven't been assigned any books to read for a long time (with a struggling economy, few authors are going to pay extra for a fast review).

The best I can tell you is to become a reviewer for a site that does express reviews. When things improve, maybe more authors will be willing to pay for a fast review of their books. Until then, I keep telling myself that I do this for the free books, not the money.

Hope this helps.

Paul Lappen

BookLore Response

Hmmm, good question. We don't actually make any money. The site is done as a labour of love. Very few people pay for reviews (I think Kirkus do, but the reviewers are professionals). We do get 'free' books from authors and publishers though and let reviewers keep whichever copy they review, as a 'payment' for their time.

Simply, we are all book lovers and just want to spread the word of any good book we read. Same as seeing a good film, you can't stop talking about it. We are the same with books and the website is a simple way of reaching more people.

The biggest benefit is that we build up contacts with actual real live authors (some quite well known) and this would never happen without the site.

Hope this answers your question. Unfortunately you can't make a living but you do get to read a lot....


Paul Lappen & Nigel - 31st January 2005

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