Being a Reader for Inkspand
One Sentence Summary
Inkspand has now closed.
I recently saw a banner ad for something called "Inkspand", and I thought I would check it out. It looked like you could get paid for reading books. Various forum threads started questioning whether this was a scam, and whether you would really get paid. Well, I went ahead and signed up as a reader, and this is what I found:
*Scroll down for later updates.
Inkspand is a site where authors can post their manuscripts in order to receive feedback from readers. The idea is that the author can use this information to edit and/or promote their book
Being a Reader for Inkspand
If you wish to provide feedback you need to:
1) Create a "reader" account on Inkspand. You can sign on using your Facebook account.
2) Look for books marked with the green "available" button.
3) Select a book and read it within 45 days.
4) Provide honest feedback (at least 250 words and a suggested price).
If the review is not glowing the author may not choose to display it in the Inkspand site under their book. On the other hand if it is pretty good, they may request that you post the review on Amazon. If you do this, remember to follow Amazon rules and disclose that you were not a cash-paying customer.
For every review you received ten dollars minus the 30c Paypal fee. How does this work? Well the author pays $30 per review, and the reader gets $10. So... it is pretty clear where most of the money goes. But from my point of view, it is ten dollars for doing something I would probably be doing anyway (reading books, that is).
I have reviewed many of books now (around 20), and I have received payment each time. And I assure you I gave honest reviews, so you clearly are not required to blow smoke for the author. On one occasion it seems the author disputed the review but the site owner cleared it.
What are the Books Like?
As far as I can tell all of the books are self-published and most of them are already available on Amazon. I rated most of the either 2 or 4 out of 5. So... pretty bad or pretty good, with a notable absence of terrible, wonderful or "meh".
I mean these are authors either looking for feedback or fishing for reviews. I think this puts them in the "independent and trying hard to make it work" category that tends to divide neatly into the categories of 1) gifted but quirky, or 2) slightly delusional. But that's just my take on it and I can be pretty judgmental.
The books are sometimes available as a downloadable pdf, but the author can choose to set it so you have to log into the website to read them online. If you find you really cannot finish reading a book, for whatever reason, you can return it (in which case, you won't get paid).
Paying for Reviews
As an author I would not be in a hurry to pay for a review. In fact I've never done it and don't think I ever would. But my part of this deal is just to read the book and give the best feedback I can. And I kind of enjoy doing it.
Am I doing some ethical calisthenics there? Probably.
But at the end of the day I am in charge of me. And I enjoy being paid to read books. If other people want to pay for that to happen, that's their business.
If you are willing to read some eclectic books,and could use $10, Inkspand is exactly what they say it is. And you do get paid. I now use an alert system that emails me then there are updates so I can see whether they are paid opportunities.
May 2013 Update
Since Inkspand opened to free reviews (the reviewer gets a copy of book only) the paid offerings have dwindled too one man's religious ramblings. I just hope things will turn around otherwise this site has pretty much ceased to be an earning opportunity.
June 2013 Update
More books that pay $10 have appeared, yay! They seem to be mostly fantasy, erotica and one very dogmatic latter day prophet. So, we are back in business.
July 2014 Update
Very occasionally paid opportunities are posted. At the moment mainly longer fiction in the fantasy genre.
October 2016 Update
Inkspand has closed.