Perhaps you've just graduated with a degree in English or Creative Writing. Or perhaps you're looking to switch careers to something that involves a lot more reading. Or you already spend all of your time reading, and you're wondering if you can do that and still buy food. Well I have good news for you, book-lovers: you don't have to starve to death in a room full of brand new hardcovers. You can get a job working with books! I'm not saying all of these industries are easy to break into, but here are some excellent careers for book lovers.
After all, despite all you've heard about how millennials have ruined every conceivable industry and how the only jobs out there are in computer programming or getting coffee for computer programmers, young people actually read more than any previous generation. Readers have more choices than ever before. The publishing industry has survived the advent of the internet, and the world still needs books (if only to turn them into prestige HBO dramas).
So, whether you see yourself in the offices of a major publishing house or living in the woods working on your poetry chapbook, here are some of the top careers for book lovers everywhere:
Librarians are the people keeping society afloat, you guys. They don't just organize books and wear cool glasses—they're experts in the field of library science, and they make sure art and information stay free and public. Become a librarian, and you can be surrounded by books while also doing your part to save the world.
There wouldn't be much of a book industry without editors to clean up everyone's mess. Copy editors comb through a text to improve the style, clarity, grammar, and accuracy. Content editors and developmental editors take an author's ramblings and turn it into an actual story. Become an editor, and you'll get to spend your workday saving manuscripts and inserting Oxford commas to your heart's delight.
"Archivist" sounds like some kind of wizard job out of a George R.R. Martin novel, but it's a real career that you can be a part of. Archivists work to assess and preserve archives, which can be anything from ancient manuscripts to postcards and diaries to digital files and analog film. Archivists are in demand in museums, universities, hospitals, libraries, corporations, and everywhere in between.
Literary agents and managers sell their authors' books to publishers, and without them, the publishing industry just doesn't happen. If you're a people person who loves to read and then tell everyone about the great thing you just read, you might be a high-power literary agent in the making.
Yes, there is a real job called "book scout," and yes, you get to run around scouting for books. Book scouts will work for agents, publishers, or film studios. Basically, their job is to scout out the next big thing, so foreign publishers can pick up the rights.
If you've ever tried to run a whole paragraph through Google Translate, you know just how invaluable a human translator is. Literary translators aren't just foreign language dictionaries, they're storytellers who reinterpret a text in a whole new language. It's a creative profession, especially when it comes to idioms that have no translation (or figuring out Voldemort's middle name in other languages).
This is not a career for the faint of heart, but someone has to sit down and write all those novels and short stories and memoirs to begin with. And why not you? The only problem is that, unless you're a reality TV star, you probably have to write a whole manuscript before you can hope to get a book deal. So if you want to be an author, get to writing!
Yes, your parents lied to you: you can make a living by writing your feelings on the internet. I won't pretend that it's not a hustle, at least at first, but you can write freelance, apply for staff writer positions at existing blogs and online magazines, or become wildly famous for your personal book blog and start raking in ad-sale money.
You might not land a job reviewing books for The New York Times right away, but a lot of websites and smaller publications are always looking for a fresh take on the newest releases. Getting paid to read a book and then talk about that book is pretty much the dream.
A lot of people think that proofreaders and editors are one and the same (and sometimes they are, at smaller set-ups). But large publishing companies have editors to make edits and proofreaders to check for errors. If you're a master at catching typos, you could get a job reading all day long.
Designing book covers is basically the coolest job on this plane of reality. (And let's be honest, we all judge books by their covers.) If you're artistically inclined, you might want to consider throwing together a portfolio and pursuing a career in creating beautiful book covers.
Do you love reading aloud? Do you like playing different characters? Do you have the voice of an angel? You might have what it takes to narrate audiobooks. The audiobook industry is booming right now—and while voice over work of any kind can be challenging to break into, it might be worth your while to look into audiobook acting training and see if this is the dream job for you.
Somehow, indie bookstores have clawed their way back from near-extinction, and are now thriving. Working in a bookstore, you're going to be around books and the people who love them at all times. If your dream job involves being surrounded by books and owning your own company, then a career in a bookstore is the way to go.
You love books. Why not pass that love of books along to the next generation? As a teacher, you get to read and share your passion for reading. And almost every book lover can remember at least one teacher who inspired their own passion for literature, way back when.