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Summarizing Books Can Be Profitable

As early as my childhood days, I have already seen book summaries of famous classic books. 2021 is drawing to a close and I’m in my fifties now, I guess you can reasonably guess the years when I first saw book summaries.

As the years went by, I saw the book summary industry progress as well. This is very easy to conclude since more and more books are being written each year especially with the advent of ebooks and audiobooks.

It seems that as long as there is a book, there is a big chance that a person can write a summary for it and sell it. When I was a child, I only saw book summaries of classic works of English literature.

As my years progressed however, I saw many non-fiction books being summarized. Imagine my pleasant surprise for example when I found my favorite school textbook of biology having a summarized version.


Make no mistake, the book summary industry has become very competitive. I don’t need to do the talking. For a sample of what competition is out there, I would refer you to the small list compiled by the website Design Epic Life:

Website Article: Book Summaries: The Best Book Summary Websites & Apps (2021) As you can see, this list is pretty long already but is still incomplete. I can for example name MentorBox, the company owned by the quote and unquote “media personality” Tai Lopez.

If you have plans on entering the book summary market, take note of this strict competition from more established and better funded companies and individuals. Anyone can summarize a book given time, but to get people to pay you for your book summary is another thing.

One of the things you need to consider is that book summaries have become mostly a digital product. As the nature of digital product goes, it is very easy to create and market them, but expect a lot of competition. To be more precise, business crushing competition.


I can name two words why book summaries are popular: TIME and WILL. There are simply too many people with not enough time and will to read a book in its entirety. If most people can’t even read the entirety of a newspaper, then what about books especially the long ones?

Not Enough Time

It is a simple fact of life that people’s time for books would become shorter and shorter and may even boil down to nothing. Statistics in America for example show that book reading is on a downward trend as far as volumes go.

More and more Americans are not reading books anymore. On the upside, Americans who do read books actually read more books per person. This means as fewer Americans read books, those that do read books read more books.

This might not actually be entirely the fault of the people who don’t read books anymore. It is a given fact that more and more people are spending their time working in not only a single job but another job as well, leaving them with almost no time to read books.

Another factor would be the propensity of entertainment. During the old days, the competition of books were only television, radio and sports. Now, you have the internet, video games, streaming platforms and so on which are arguably more entertaining.

These are the competition of books and it would be wise to study why these other forms of entertainment are more popular than reading books. You can for example offer audiobook summaries for people who are able to listen to them while doing their work or chores.

Not Enough Will

This probably is the more compelling reason why book summaries are getting popular. A person may have the time to read a 100 page book or a three hour audiobook, but might not do so. Why? Maybe he just doesn’t want to read a 100 page book or spend three hours listening to an audiobook.

There could be varied reasons why a person does not have the will to read a book or ebook, or listen to an audiobook. One of the reasons I can think of especially if the person is a highly educated person, is because they have become jaded.

They essentially know what the story of a novel or what the non-fiction book is trying to tell and are just interested in the exciting parts of the story or the new information they can learn from a non-fiction book.

And this is where books summaries excel. They get down to only the essential parts of the story or information of a book. And for the most part, many people are reasonably satisfied with the summaries only of the book.

And this seems to be the direction that digital media is going into. There are now many books especially ebooks and audiobooks that sell well despite being only composed of a few words or pages.


If you regularly check the online job sites for digital work, you might come across a job advertisement from book summary companies. These are usually contract jobs where you are paid on a per book summary basis.

You might say: “Why work for someone else when I can offer book summaries myself?” I have a simple answer: “Hitting Two Birds With One Stone.” By getting to read a book and making a summary of it, you retain the information of the book whether or not you are reading for someone else.

This essentially means that you only need to read a book once to infinitely multiply your knowledge of it as many times as you want. Let’s say that you read a book for one company, what’s stopping you from creating a summary of that book for another company?

And what’s stopping you from creating your own summaries of the book a company just contracted you to summarize? You should consider this whenever you are planning to apply as a book reader in one of these book summary companies.

Another advantage of working for these book summary companies is that depending on the arrangement you have with the company, you can work right in your own home and read at your own leisure.


Non-fiction books especially the self-help category are increasingly being targeted by book summary companies because the people who read these books are usually time constrained individuals with a voracious book reading habit.

One interesting information is this: Non-fiction books are getting more and more popular and their sales per unit percentage has consistently beaten fiction books on an annual basis. Although fiction books still outsell non-fiction books, the gap is getting narrower.

In fact, when you look at the job ads for book readers from book summary companies, one of the frequently mentioned information is that the book reader would most likely read a non-fiction book.

If you are looking for a job as a book reader or are aspiring to offer book summaries in your website or app, I suggest you look closely at the market for non-fiction book summaries. But does this mean that there is not much market if any for book summaries of fiction books?

For the most part, there are already a lot of book summaries for classic books and it seems that book summaries for newer fiction books can be had freely from such sites as YouTube. I suggest you visit YouTube and other book sites for what kinds of summaries are being written for fiction books.


Considering that reading books take time, you must ensure that you make maximum potential income from the time you spent reading a book. You must also take note that not all books can be understood in one reading, many in fact require you to pause and first understand a word, sentence, paragraph or a chapter.

In short, reading a book because you want to read the book is very much different from reading a book because you have to understand it and make a good summary of it. There is a huge difference between the two.

In effect, what you are selling is your knowledge of the book. As has been previously said, anyone can make a book summary, but only a few can make people to actually pay for their book summary.

The good news is that knowledge can be sold in a variety of ways unlike a physical product. Sure, you can make a printout or a digital file of your book summary and call it a physical product, but the actual product is the product that is inside your head.

By Quality

You can sell your knowledge by quality. The same thing goes for book summary. You can read one book and then offer varying quality summaries for that one book you read. You can for example offer a one page, two page, … ten page summary and so on.

You can also offer five minute, thirty minutes, one hour audiobook summaries and so on. This is especially very marketable for people who listen to audiobooks during their breaks such as lunch time breaks.

As you can see, you can offer a very short summary and as more of your customers demand more information, you could offer longer or much more “meatier” information. This is the beauty of selling the knowledge inside your brain.

Additional Information

Depending on your customers, you could add additional information not found in the book you just summarized. You can cite for example another book whenever you find something similar or different to the information contained in the book you just read.

You could even rate the quality of the book you just summarized. You can be some sort of a critic and advise your customers whether or not the book was written with high quality or is just plain garbage.

Of course you have to prepare for the feedback that you would get from the followers of the author. One of the best way to prepare from any harsh feedback is to establish a reputation of being an expert on the subject of the book you just read.


One of the best ways to maximize your chances that your book summary would be read is to study the kinds of books that people are actually reading. Check the bestseller lists of online book sellers for example to see which books are being bought.

If you have a way to contact your customers, ask for their feedback regarding which books they wanted to be summarized. It could be as simple as an online submission form or an online survey.


The sheer numbers of websites and apps offering book summaries are proof that there is a healthy demand for such products or services. Watching or reading a self-help video or website about wellness, business and finance for example is a sure guarantee to get ads from such companies.

The answer to this is simple, there are many people who pay for book summaries especially for the self-help non-fiction book category. This is because there are simply too many people who are short on time and will not read or listen to a complete book, ebook or audiobook.

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