6 Jobs for People Who Love Books
It’s the thought that will cross many a reader’s minds after being torn away prematurely from the pages of their latest book, forced to return to reality:
I wish I could get paid to read.
Have I got some news for you! There is a wide range of careers out there that are built for book lovers like yourself. You’ve probably thought of some of the obvious ones — author, proofreading and editing, etc. — but you’re not thinking big enough, my friend. Just as books come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and genres, so too do jobs that require a passion for the written word.
If you want to put your bibliophilic tendencies to good use, take a look at some of the best jobs for people who love reading.
Have a lot of opinions? Are your friends sick of listening to you rant about how much you hated that ending or how the characters fell flat? Why not share your views with the world?
Reviewing books is not the ‘get rich quick and quit your day job’ scheme a lot of people think it is, but it can be a great way to earn a little cash on the side and build up a name for yourself, which could lead to some more opportunities down the line.
(Plus, many publishers will send you advanced copies of their books for free and some other goodies in exchange for a review! Score!)
There are lots of websites out there that will pay you for reviews — Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, or Online Book Club, for example — though most will require you to submit a resume and a few writing samples to make sure you’re right for the job. Along with writing experience, you’ll need a good grasp on self-proofreading to make sure that your work is up to scratch for these publications.
If writing’s not really your forte, don’t worry! Nowadays, the written review is one of many forms. The success of podcasts like Overdue shows that all you need is a passion for books and sharing your thoughts (and maybe a book-loving friend too).
BookTube, a community of book-related creators on YouTube, is also a great place to start. Make a video on your favourite book or a hot new release and see what happens!
2. Book Designer
When it comes to the limited shelf space in physical bookstores and the even smaller thumbnails on sites like Amazon, people do in fact judge a book by their cover.
If you’ve got a keen eye for design, you may want to consider a career in book design. This doesn’t just include the cover art, as you might think: book designers carefully craft every visual aspect of a book’s final layout, including the type of fonts used, the spacing of lines, and pages. Any unique visual elements that you see in a book — maps, letters, photos, illustrations — are typically created and organised by the designer.
Book designers can either work in-house or on a freelance basis. They also often lend their services to self-publishing clients.
3. Product Coordinator
If you picture a publishing house, what comes to mind? Editors poring over manuscripts with red pens and cold cups of coffee left abandoned on their desk? Piles and piles of unread pages?
Well, besides being a little more high-tech, there’s a lot more to a publishing house than you think (though the coffee thing is true — trust me).
If you have more of an analytical mind, the product department is right for you. This involves stock management, maintaining a database of all the publisher’s back titles and future books, as well as identifying opportunities and priorities for the market. For global publishers, product coordinators also pitch international titles to the rest of the departments to be promoted in the region.
When books are published, they don’t become bestsellers overnight. Publicists play a crucial role in championing the books under their wing.
This job is all about building relationships with people in the world of publishing: authors, bookshop owners, librarians, teachers, journalists, producers, reviewers — you name it! Publicists plan events, push for media opportunities and basically put their books (and authors) out there wherever they can.
If you are a confident speaker, love to talk books all day and are incredibly organised, publicity is perfect for you.
Books make you feel better, don’t they? Why shouldn’t they be able to help others?
This is the rationale behind bibliotherapy, a long-lasting treatment that is quite effective against depression, mood disorders, trauma, addiction or grief.
Bibliotherapy is a concept that originated in societies like Ancient Greece and Egypt, with libraries being seen as sacred healing spaces, and was used for veterans after both World Wars as a cheaper treatment alternative. When used alongside other methods, this form of therapy can help people make sense of their experiences and work through their struggles.
After a first consultation, bibliotherapists prescribe a tailored list of reading material to help their patient based on individual circumstances.
6. Book Butler
Yes, this is actually a thing. The Savoy in London has a dedicated Book Butler program, with Book Butlers on hand at all times to cater to the literary needs of guests. Overseeing an exclusive bespoke library, you need to be able to recommend the perfect book for each visitor based on their own personal tastes and continually update the collection each season.
There are tons more careers out there for book readers — you’ll find the perfect one that suits you. Polish your CV and put yourself out there!
Personally, I used my love of reading and passion for words to start my own editing business after working as a freelance proofreader and editor for several years. Being a proofreader and spending my days on structural editing, copyediting and proofreading is dream come true for me — I know you’ll find your dream job too.
Have any more career ideas for book lovers? Leave a comment below!