Book Ratings

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As someone who reads or writes reviews, you know that most people use some sort of rating system to give a book an overall score. Many sites like Amazon, LibraryThing and Goodreads use a five star rating system, while bloggers may choose to make up their own.

Personally, I understand the usefulness of assigning a book a number or grade, but I often have a hard time deciding how many stars to rate a book. I used to put the star rating on my blog as well, but I stopped that, because I try to focus more on what I enjoyed and didn’t, and who I think may also enjoy the book. But if I leave a review on other sites, sometimes the star rating is required. I do like that LibraryThing allows for half stars and I wish other sites would get on board with that.

I feel like a 10 point scale is too high though and a letter grade just seems silly. I know some bloggers choose to rate certain elements in a book separately, like plot, characters, writing style, etc., but when it comes down to it, you know someone out there just wants to know how many damn stars you’d give it.

The star rating might not always be helpful. For instance, I think I tend to give many books I read 4 or 5 stars. I know what I like and most times when I think I’ll enjoy a book, I do. I do my best to analyze what I like or dislike about a book, but I’m not thinking critically about the content or looking for the moral of the story when I read. I read for fun and honestly, it doesn’t take much to impress me. So is it really helpful to others if the majority of the books I read are rated 4 or 5 stars?

I usually prefer to read a written review – though I usually only read reviews when I’m not quite sure if I’ll like a book or not – to find out what elements people enjoyed or didn’t. It gives me more insight than just seeing that it has a 3.5 average on Goodreads or something.

What do you think? If you’re someone who reads reviews, do you even care about a star rating? Do you like a written review and stars? Has coming up with your own rating system been beneficial? Or do you just want to see the star average of a book to get an idea of what people think overall?

5 thoughts on “Book Ratings

  1. When I first started blogging, I fell into this problem as well. When I first started I used a system out of ten, but what I figured out is the results weren’t consistent. That’s when I started to use a system out of 5, backed by an elaborate formula to rate my reviews. I average together plot, dialogue, description, and narrative voice to come up with a truly unique score for my books.
    But most other websites like Goodreads and Amazon irk me without having the half star ratings. Nice post! 🙂

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