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 can make a living from reading. And 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.
So, if you’re serious about turning your passion for reading into a lifelong profession, then here are a few cool choices you may want to consider.
1. Book Reviewer
If there’s one job that will allow you to work in pyjamas and within the comforts of your own home, it's a book reviewer. To get this as a regular gig, however, you have to be a prolific reader and writer. Similar to how other 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 even retailer shops like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Once you’ve built a substantial following, you can offer your services by contacting an editor or a publication.
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2. Book Scout
In essence, book scouts are responsible for finding manuscripts that are being sold or published in one market so that they can pitch and publish them in a foreign market. For example, if the manuscript for Crazy Rich Asians was being shopped or considered by American publishing companies, 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!
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3. Literary Translator
If you’re one of the lucky few who can speak more than one language and love reading as well, one cool job you can consider is 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 as a translator. This job also requires a flair for storytelling, as some words simply can’t be translated into other languages. It’s the translator’s responsibility to find something that closely resembles what the author is trying to say, which can be very challenging. And even if the publishers approve you as the translator, they won’t hire you if the author doesn’t like you.
Average Salary: $47,190 / £29,000
Believe it or not, a large number of people still read traditional books (yes, the thing that has pages made of paper), so don’t be too quick to dismiss this job as 'obsolete'. In fact, studies show that it’s highly unlikely 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 and prefer the company of books over annoying people, then this job is perfect for you! Besides, libraries are one of the last remaining bastions for the democratisation of knowledge, and what’s a better job than being the so-called (lib) guardians of that?
Average Salary: $58,520 / £30,250
5. Script Reader
Even the best writers know the importance of having a second set of eyes to check your 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.
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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 perhaps you should consider becoming an editor. Apart from having impeccable writing 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 extra talent who can improve their writers’ works.
Average Salary: $58,770 / £30 per hour
7. Literary Agent
If you’re the type to read different books simultaneously and love 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 have 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 are typically 10% to 20% of the book sale. They can also earn from other things like overseas sales, royalties and film rights.
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8. Book Cover Designer
There’s a saying that goes, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but when it comes to getting your work noticed, a carefully designed cover can be just as important as perfecting that first chapter. It’s the first thing that draws readers in, especially if the book is written by a new author. A designer must be able to capture what the book stands for through the clever and creative use of images. So, in the eyes of a publisher, finding a talented artist who also happens to love books is most definitely a win-win.
Average Salary: $48,700 / £33,000
9. Book Packager
Book packagers mainly have two functions. First, they’re responsible for making labour-intensive books come to life. These include almanacks, coffee books, children books, gardening books and many others. Book packagers make sure that all production elements run smoothly so that the author or publisher’s idea turns out just like 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. 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.
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If you like 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, for future purposes. Sometimes, they’re also asked to authenticate documents that claim to have historical significance, making their job crucial to museums and auction houses.
Average Salary: $47,360 / £40,000
Nowadays, it’s not impossible to find a job that’s both finically rewarding and fulfilling. Building your career around your passion for reading shouldn’t be any different. Even if you're the most introverted candidate on the planet, there are still a lot of opportunities available for you. So, take a page from your favourite protagonist's book and get that reading career today!
Which of these reading jobs do you like the most? Let us know in the comment section below.
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by the National Careers Service and the BLS's Occupational Outlook Handbook.