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Feb 19, 2024

10 Passive Income Ideas for Book Lovers: Turn Your Love for Reading Into Profit


We could all do with some extra cash in our pockets at the moment. Even better if you don’t have to work for it! Passive income allows you to earn extra money with minimum effort, so you can spend your time (and extra money) doing the things you love.

There are plenty of passive income ideas out there, but they often require a large investment to start; like renting out a property or investing in stocks. But what if we told you there was a way to turn your love of reading into a source of passive income?

Believe it or not, reading and comprehension is a marketable skill! Your thoughts and feelings about a book could be earning you money. So could the actual books you are reading and your unique understanding of readers’ needs.

Check out our best passive income ideas for book lovers and turn your love of reading into cash.

What is Passive Income?

Passive income is defined as regular earnings from a source other than an employer or contractor. Basically, it is money earned without the need for action. Passive income may require some action at the beginning to set it up, but after that the money is generated automatically. Common examples of passive income are renting out a property or investing in stocks.

Passive Income Ideas for Book Lovers

Want to make more money for minimum effort? Here are some passive income ideas to turn the resources at hand into extra cash

1. Start a Private Library

1. Start a Private Library.jpg If you’re an avid reader, you’ve probably amassed quite a few books over the years. Turn your collection into a private library, renting out novels to fellow bookworms for a cost.

Public libraries are great, but they often don’t have the book you’re looking for or only have damaged copies. This can be frustrating to readers who want to get their hands on the latest novel, but don’t want to buy it.

Rent out your pristine copies to readers instead! You can do this on established websites or start your own private library. If you decide to start your own library, create a BookTok account on TikTok so people can learn about your service. Once this is up and running, it will be a nice source of passive income.

To make your private library a success, you should add a little extra personal touch. For example, you could ask every reader to leave a handwritten review in an envelope at the end of the book. That way readers can see if they felt that same and get excited to share their thoughts with the next reader!

2. Create a Book Review Blog

Blogging is a great source of passive income, as you can still make money from articles written years ago. A book review blog is an even better source of passive income, as it tends to have more evergreen content. That means content stays relevant for longer, as people may not have read a book when it came out, but heard about it a few years later.

You can make money on your book review blog from display ads, affiliate marketing and sponsorships. Display ads are those adverts that show when you visit a website, at the top or on the sides. To start showing display ads, simply sign up to Google AdSense and you can make money every time someone clicks an ad on your site

Affiliate marketing is another easy way to earn passive income from a blog. Affiliate marketing lets you link a product on your website and earn a small commission every time someone buys it from a click your site.

If your book blog is big enough, companies may even request to sponsor you. For example, a publishing house may pay you in return for an honest review of a new book. However, you must clearly state that this is a sponsored post, which may lead some of your audience to doubt its credibility. We’d suggest doing sponsored posts with snack, drink or scented candle companies instead - something that’s still relevant to your audience, but doesn’t compromise your impartiality.

3. Book Recommendation Affiliate Marketing

3. Book Recommendation Affiliate Marketing.jpg

Do you run a successful book review blog, YouTube channel or BookTok? Start making money from your posts with affiliate marketing!

Affiliate marketing is easy to do! You simply add a link to a product on your website or social media profile. Then, you earn a small commission every time there is a sale from this link. It must be an affiliate link to do this, not just a regular link. Popular affiliate marketing programs include Linktree and Amazon’s Affilliate Program.

Go back through your previous posts and add affiliate links. Even add links for bad reviews - you never know, someone might still buy them! Market across all your social platforms to maximise profit.

4. Self-Publish an E-Book

After reading so many books, you’re sure to have picked up a knack for writing! Publishing an e-Book is another great source of passive income, as you can earn money from downloads for years to come.

The idea of writing a book may be daunting, but it’s all about finding the right topic. All of us are experts in our own little niche. It could be a fiction or non-fiction; a travel guide or tax guide; a self-help or baby names book. The possibilities are endless, it’s all about what you feel confident and competent writing. Remember, it doesn’t have to be war and peace.

Once you’ve self-published your e-Book on Amazon, you should focus on marketing it. You could pay for an ad on Amazon, so your book shows up in related searches. You could also send out a free copy to influencers, in return for a shoutout or review. The more organic content you can get about your e-Book, the better. Encourage more UGC by engaging and replying.

5. Sell Rare or Collectible Books

5. Sell Rare or Collectible Books.jpg

If you spend hours at car boot sales and second hand stores, start looking for rare or collectible books whilst you’re there. This can become an impressive source of income, as some rare books sell for thousands of pounds.

There are a few factors that make a book rare or collectible:

  • First Edition - First editions are generally more valuable because of their historical significance or edits that might have been made since. You can find out how to tell a book’s edition in our guide.
  • Signed - An author’s signature can make a book rare, as it adds value to the book. Even an actor’s signature can make a book rare, like Daniel Radcliffe signing a Harry Potter book.
  • Provenance - Has the book been owned by someone of significance? This can make the book more valuable because of its influence on that person, be it celebrity, politician or writer.
  • Special Interest - Is the book a special edition? Does it have a unique front cover? Ornate binding? Or illustrations from a prominent artist? All of this can make a book rare or collectible.

Keep an eye out for items at car boot sales and set up notifications for matching items on eBay. If you find a rare book, you can sell it to an auctioneer, list it at auction yourself or list it online. If you choose to sell it yourself, make sure you do your research to sell it at the right price.

6. Create a Book Subscription Box

This takes a little more effort than our other passive income ideas, but it could be outsourced or automated as the business grows. It’s also one of our more creative ideas that really lets you express your love of reading.

Create your own book subscription box, with everything a book lover could need delivered to their door. For example, a Halloween book box could include the latest horror release or a classic like The Exorcist. It could also include a pumpkin spice scented candle, fluffy socks, a mug and Halloween sweets.

There are already a number of successful book box subscriptions out there. To make your subscription box stand out, you could run a book club alongside it. This will really build a sense of community around it, so people don’t cancel their subscription. Members could even be able to vote on a poll for next month’s read, to make them feel more involved.

You should market your book subscription box on social media. Create a BookTok where you share book reviews and other UGC sent in by subscribers. Create an unboxing video showing what readers can expect each month. Send a sample box to influencers and ask them to share on their social media too.

7. Audio Book Narration

7. Audio Book Narration.jpg

Audio books are a rapidly growing media. Many people love the convenience of audio books, which allow them to listen at the gym, on the morning commute or as they work. Lend your voice to an audio book narration and earn royalties every time someone listens.

Audio book narration isn’t as easy as it sounds: it takes hours of reading aloud, trying to convey emotions and events in a convincing way. For this reason, people with a background in drama are usually chosen. Make sure you include any and all theatre qualifications and experience in your application. You should also include a recorded sample of you reading too.

Narrators can be paid upfront or with royalties. Upfront payment guarantees the money, but you could be at a loss if the book goes on to be a smash hit. Royalties, on the other hand, are a better source of passive income. However, you're relying on the book becoming a success.

8. Invest in Publishing Houses or Bookstores

Investing can seem daunting, but it is a great source of passive income. Basically, the investor buys a small share of a company and then sells it at a higher price to make money. You often need to buy a large number of shares to make it worthwhile. For example, if shares cost £1 each and go up by 10%, if you bought 10 shares you would only make £1, whereas if you bought 1,000 shares you would make £100.

There are lots of morally dubious companies on the stock market, which often gives investing a bad reputation. However, you can invest your money in companies that comply with your ethics, like your favourite publishing houses and bookstores. Do your research about the market and find out which shares look set to go up.

Remember, investment is never guaranteed and you could lose your money. Investment is a long term game, so you shouldn’t invest money you may need in the next few years. Try not to sell when share prices are lower than you bought them for, as the market will often bounce back, even if it takes years.

9. Rent Space to Book Clubs and Literary Events

9. Rent Space to Book Clubs and Literary Events.jpg

If you have a large space which is not being used, you could be missing out on an opportunity to make money. Rent out your space to book clubs and literary events for a reliable source of passive income.

A lot of book clubs meet in pubs, town halls or bookstores. You need to make your space stand out to draw them away from these spots. One way to do this is with interior decor. You could make your space nice and cosy, with a woodburner, comfy sofas and fluffy throws. Another way to attract book clubs is with facilities, like a free coffee machine. Of course, another way to attract book clubs is with price. Make your space cheaper than other places.

10. Develop Book-Related Apps or Services

If you discover a gap in the market, think about how you can fill it. Use your unique knowledge of readers’ needs to develop an app or a service that meets this need. If you find the right idea, you could strike gold.

Are you tired of reading a book and having to Google the meaning of words? You might develop an app that scans the word through your camera and tells you the meaning. If you want to develop your vocabulary, perhaps the app tests you on the meaning of the word at a later date, to make sure you remember it.

Of course, app development is no picnic. You will have to work with a developer or learn how to code yourself. However, if the app is good enough, it will be a brilliant source of passive income for years to come.

We hope this blog has shown you how to turn your love of reading into a source of passive income. There are a range of ideas to suit different talents, budgets and resources. If you have a knack for writing, you could start a book blog and earn money from advertising and affiliate marketing. If you own an unused space, you could start renting it out to book clubs and events. If you have a lot of excess cash, you could invest in bookstores and publishing houses. Find the right option for you and start earning money.

Of course, if you just want to make some quick cash, you could always sell your old books to us. We'll give you an instant cash offer and pay you the next day, as soon as we've receive you books. Start selling today!

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