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How many of us buy books with the hopes of reading them. Somehow life always manages to get in the way? You are not alone, one of our goals this year was to read more. This could be a page a day, a book a week or even chapter a month.

Well one group of people who managing to sink their teeth into plenty of books, are those who work in the publishing world.

We caught up with Tom Walker, Publishing Director at The Folio Society. For over 70 years, The Folio Society has been publishing beautifully illustrated editions of the world’s greatest books. Matching book’s literary content to a heightened and stunning physical form.

With specially commissioned illustrations, many of its editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship, and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions last for generations.

Read on to find out how to get paid to read books – from someone who does.

How to get paid to read books - from someone who does

What is your job title?

Well, formally it’s ‘Publishing Director’. So I select and direct work on the sixty or so books The Folio Society creates each year.

What does your day to day look like?

It looks like somebody always trying to find space away from meetings so I can read and think of new ideas for the list! In actuality, I’m in meetings with editors, designers, illustrators; with marketing and PR people; with The Folio Society’s strategic team. I’m generally to be found trying to enthuse people about our books.

 How many books do you read a month?

That number very much depends on whether you count half-finished books? Finishing any book is a luxury I’m rarely allowed, but I probably read more tenths of a book than most people on the planet as I try to assess what might work for The Folio Society list.

Why did you choose this career path?

It was not a hard decision. Books are totally my bag – I love storytelling in all its forms but there is something deeply affecting in the private experience of reading which makes it the best of forms. I’ve found working in publishing – and in particular, for The Folio Society – a wonderful career which allows me to collaborate creatively with an amazing range of people.

What is your favourite book?

It changes almost weekly. You can’t beat Chekhov’s stories, but the book I am most thrilled by at the moment is The Folio Society’s Anansi Boys. It’s everything I hope for from a Folio edition and is the result of years of exceptional creative endeavour from everyone involved. From the author to the editor; from the introducer to, crucially, the illustrator Frances Vallejo. It’s stunning and has set the bar for The Folio Society exactly where I want it to be!How to get paid to read books - from someone who does

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, The Folio Society edition 2019. Available from The Folio Society.

All images courtesy of the Folio Society

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