What: OnlineBookClub will pay you to read and review books, but the pay is a relative pittance when you get paid at all

Expected pay: $0 to $60 per review

Husl$core: $$

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: Nationwide

Requirements: none

Review:

OnlineBookClub will pay you to read books and review them for the site. However, the first review you do is free. After that, the pay is miserable given the amount of detail the site requires from reviewers. 

To meet the site’s requirements, for instance, you must make note of whether the author uses any vulgar or profane language in the book and the page on which it is first used. If there are spelling or grammatical errors, you need to jot down the error or errors and the pages where these errors appeared. If the book has more than 10 errors, as some self-published manuscripts do, you have to note the first ten and provide the details to the site.  The same holds true for “erotic scenes.” You note where they appear and how erotic they are on a scale of 0-5. 

Thus, unlike reviewing books on Amazon, you need to be taking notes as you read. In addition, the site has a specific format that you must follow when submitting a review. If you deviate from the format, your review can be rejected, which means you don’t get paid. There are no do-overs. Reviews are expected to be at least 500 words for adult literature and at least 300 for children’s books.

Pay formula

Rejected reviews can also hurt your “reviewer score.” This score determines how much you earn for each review. 

The pay formula is not transparent, but the site says you’ll earn between $5 and $60 for each accepted review. Your payment will start low, but rise based on your reviewer score. This score is calculated based on how many reviews you’ve completed, how many (unpaid) reader forums you’ve participated in, and whether you’re posting about the books you’ve read on social media, among other things.

A blogger named Tracey Madeley says she’s been on the site for two years, has submitted a dozen reviews but has yet to get paid. Why? Her reviewer score (0-100) has never gone above the 35-point mark where they begin to pay. 

Another reviewer said she earned $806 for reviewing 42 books — about $19 a book. Given that each book is likely to take several hours to read and then at least an hour to review, we rate this as a poor way to make money. It’s also worth noting that while this “club” doesn’t pay reviewers much, it charges hefty fees ($100 – $300) to authors, who want to have their books reviewed. 

Social media contests

The other way you can make money with this site is by participating in contests that involve sharing OnlineBookClub books on social media. Since these are contests not pay, any earnings here are speculative.

Recommendations

If you’re an avid reader and don’t mind proofreading self-published books, consider Reedsy. Reedsy allows you to set your own rates and choose the genre of book you’d like to read. If you want to review books, US Review of Books, has more reasonable rules and more predictable pay.

What their users say (from Quora)

“I think the Club is fine for people who simply love to read, enjoy a very wide assortment of genres, and are happy with the pocket change and gift cards as a bonus. Nothing in the world wrong with that. If you’re approaching it from the angle of wanting to do something you enjoy as a way to make some meaningful side income, it’s not a productive use of your time. Just my opinion, of course.”

“They have all these ridiculous formatting rules that have nothing to do with writing content. They promise to pay you if you submit an acceptable review, but the rules are so stringent that you can make editorial mistakes that have no bearing on the quality of the review and your submission gets rejected.”

“Yes, Online Book Club for Readers is legitimate. I received $10 through Paypal for the 2 books I had reviewed. I was also paid $24 for the retweets, $20 Amazon gift card for the Book of the Day giveaway, and a while ago $25 Amazon gift card for the First Ten program.”