What: US Review of Books pays freelancers to read books and review them

Expected pay: $25 to $75 per review

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: NA

Where: National/remote

Requirements: Resume, samples and references. Write a sample review

Review:

U.S. Review of Books is one of a handful of sites that will pay you to read and provide brief reviews of independently published books and authors. The site doesn’t pay much, unfortunately. But it also has reasonable rules about what ought to be in a review — half summary; half commentary — and length.

Reviews generally run 250 to 300 words and pay $25. Longer reviews of 500-600 words pay more — up to $75.

The site receives about a dozen review applications each day, says senior editor Christopher Klim. “An applicant’s first review is essentially the interview,” he adds. Applicants are paid for that review, regardless of whether or not they’re hired, he says.

Naturally, if you account for the hours it might take you to read the book, the hourly pay here is paltry. However, if you’re an avid reader, this side hustle provides free books and pocket change for what you’re likely doing anyway. The typical reviewer here will read and review 8 to 10 books a month, says Klim. That would bring in somewhere between $200 and $750 a month.

Unlike competitor OnlineBookClub, which can find a myriad of reasons to deny pay to reviewers, there are no tricks involved in getting paid here. if you complete a review, you get paid, says Klim. The only reason a reviewer wouldn’t be paid for a review is if they don’t complete it. That happens, but it’s rare.

Added benefit

US Review of Books also provides a public forum for people who want to develop a reputation as a book reviewer for their own sites. The site publishes author biographies of all of its reviewers, including links back to their own sites. 

What their reviewers say: 

We talked with Kat Kennedy, author of Flamigo Funeral, a blogger at TeaCakesandWhiskey, and a regular reviewer on this site. A semi-retired school teacher, Kennedy likes everything about reviewing for this site. The editors are nice; the deadlines are reasonable; and she’s able to regularly earn $200 to $300 a month. She acknowledges that’s no fortune. But, since she’s reading books constantly anyway, she says it works nicely for her. 

“You have to love to read,” she says. “This is not a full-time job. But, compared with the other reviewing sites out there, this pays pretty well.”