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If your idea of a great Saturday night involves dressing down in your pyjamas while curling up with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa, then you’ve probably fantasised about building a career around your love for reading.
The good news is that your dream job doesn’t have to remain a fantasy – you really can make a living from reading. But while we can’t promise you’ll be allowed to work in your jammies, there are a few jobs out there that will pay good money for you to keep doing what you love most.
If you’re serious about turning your passion for reading into a lifelong profession, read on!
Here are 10 amazing jobs for people who like to read.
1. Book critic
Average salary: $63,200 (£45,690)
If there’s one job that will allow you to work in your pyjamas and from the comfort of your home, it’s that of a book critic.
To get this as a regular gig, however, you have to be a prolific reader and writer.
Similar to how makeup or fashion influencers got their start, book reviewers usually begin by creating a blog to build their market. You can promote your site by joining a local book club or leaving reviews and creating a network on sites like Goodreads and retailer shops like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Once you’ve built a substantial following, you can offer your services to editors and various publications.
2. Literary scout
Average salary: $69,600 (£50,330)
In essence, literary scouts are responsible for finding manuscripts that they can pitch and publish in a foreign market.
For example, if the manuscript for Crazy Rich Asians [paid link] was being considered for publication by an American publishing house, a book scout can pitch it to another publishing company based in Asia.
Apart from scouting manuscripts, book scouts also shop around for novels or manuscripts that they believe will make a big splash on screen. Producers usually rely on their taste and judgement for picking book-to-screen adaptations, and when their choices end up becoming successful (we’re talking Gone Girl Oscar-buzz level of success here), book scouts make a hefty commission out of it, too!
3. Literary translator
Average salary: $51,830 (£37,490)
If you’re a bookworm and also speak more than one language, then you could consider becoming a translator.
Literary translators are often hired part time by international publishing houses to translate foreign bestsellers.
However, being bilingual doesn’t automatically qualify you for this role. This job also requires a flair for storytelling, as some words simply can’t be translated directly. It’s the translator’s responsibility to find something that closely resembles what the author is trying to say, which can be a challenging endeavour.
Average salary: $59,500 (£43,010)
Believe it or not but many people still read traditional books, so don’t be too quick to think of librarians as ‘obsolete’. In fact, studies show that it’s highly unlikely that the mighty paperback will ever go away, which is great news for librarians (and humankind, in general).
So, if you’re a true-blue introvert who prefers the company of books over people, then this job is perfect for you!
Despite popular belief, meanwhile, librarians aren’t just tasked with stacking books on bookshelves. Indeed, this role may also require you to teach information literacy skills to students and assist academics with certain aspects of their research.
5. Script reader
Average salary: $40–$60 (£29–£43) per script
Even the best writers know the importance of having a second set of eyes to check their work. And when it comes to script reading, you’ll do a lot more than correcting grammar and spelling errors.
A script reader must be able to think and imagine as a director or a producer would while keeping the scriptwriter’s original idea intact. It’s a delicate task that requires precision, diligence and considerable attention to detail. Script readers are also expected to work quickly but efficiently, as they get hundreds of pages for review on a daily basis.
Average salary: $61,370 (£44,360)
If you’ve ever scribbled notes on the pages of your most prized books or have written alternate endings on some of your favourite stories, then you should consider becoming an editor.
Apart from having and grammar skills, editors must also be patient and collaborative, mainly because authors are known to have reclusive and temperamental natures.
Plus, editors are always in demand, especially in local newspapers and bigtime publishing houses that are always on the lookout for talent who can improve their writers’ works.
7. Literary agent
Average salary: $59,430 (£42,950)
If you’re the type who reads different books simultaneously and loves discovering new authors, then you can probably make a killing as a literary agent.
Literary agents make it possible for aspiring writers and novelists to get their works published. They’re also responsible for pitching, negotiating and making sure that the book gets the right kind of publicity.
Literary agents usually have fixed salaries, but they get a bulk of their earnings from commissions, which typically range between 10% and 20% of book sales. They can also earn from other things like overseas sales, royalties and film rights.
8. English literature professor
Average salary: $79,540 (£57,480)
If you’re an avid reader and learner, then you could choose to follow a career within academia as a university professor.
As an academic, your duties will range from conducting research and reading new material to teaching and delivering lectures within your faculty.
From Medieval to Victorian to postmodern and contemporary texts, you’ll have the freedom to choose the period and type of literature you want to concentrate on, and you’ll have the opportunity to study your favourite authors or literary genres in depth.
To rise through the ranks, you’ll first need to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree, followed by a PhD in your chosen area of study.
9. Book packager
Average salary: $50,990 (£36,850)
Book packagers mainly have two functions: making labour-intensive books come to life (including almanacks, coffee books, children books and gardening books), and ensuring that all production elements run smoothly so that the author’s or the publisher’s idea turns out just how they imagined it would be.
You might have noticed that some popular books follow the same template, like Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew and Goosebumps [paid links]. These books were created with the help of book packagers who were able to continue the work of the original author by finding a writer who can write the same way.
Average salary: $49,850 (£36,030)
If you’re interested in preserving history and making sure that information of real value is passed on from one generation to another, then your reading skills might be better served by working as an archivist.
Archivists are tasked with verifying and protecting important documents across all genres, from the original Dead Sea Scrolls to the first copies of the Harry Potter series [paid link], for future purposes.
Sometimes, they’re also tasked with authenticating documents that may have historical significance, making their job crucial to museums and auction houses.
Nowadays, it’s not impossible to find a job that’s both financially rewarding and fulfilling.
Building your career around your love for books shouldn’t be any different. Even if you’re the most introverted candidate on the planet, there are still a lot of opportunities available to you.
So, take a page out of your favourite protagonist’s book and kickstart that reading career!
Are you quite the bookworm? Join the conversation below and let us know which of these jobs you like the most!
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale and ZipRecruiter. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 30 June 2020.
This article is an updated version of another article originally published on 17 September 2018 and contains contributions from staff writer Melina Theodorou.