Using a Rating System?

This has been a topic discussed quite a bit in the book blogging community, for good reason! A rating system is there to give a general impression to the reader what you thought of the book… Now, I read a lot of reviews for books online, as a reader that’s what we tend to do, to make sure the book your about to invest your time in is something you’d enjoy. What I realised was that once I saw the rating I kind of disregarded the review part. As someone who writes reviews I know how different my opinion of a book can be from someone else’s. An example would be my experience reading Throne of Glass, I weren’t particularly the biggest fan of the book and if I rated it I would’ve probably given it a 2/5. BUT that’s only because I felt like I was lead in a different direction in terms of who the main protagonists was going to  be and I didn’t particularly enjoy that version.

In my opinion if I would’ve plastered that rating at the top of the review I don’t know how many people are going to read on and see how I justify my opinion! I also feel like it’s a bit unfair to the author, to summarise their work into a few numbers and I want to do the book justice by highlighting what the author did very well. Again I seem to have started rambling so I’ll cut this post short.

At the time being I will stop rating my reviews and see how it goes, that may change in the future. Also if you’re really interested in seeing my ratings I might actually start to become a bit more active on my Goodreads account. I find Goodreads a bit daunting, I still haven’t figured my way around it yet but when I do write short reviews on there of course I have to include a rating. Anyway let me know what you think of a rating system down below! Is it something you use?

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71 thoughts on “Using a Rating System?

  1. inawordweb says:

    What about putting a rating at the end of a review? I suppose people could just skip to the end, but it’s always possible that they would take the time to at least skim over the post on the way down.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. simonpetrie says:

    One of the best reviews I’ve had (in terms of the review content) was a three-star review on Amazon — to which I thought, ‘if you liked the book so much, why did you only give it three stars?’ Some people just systematically grade things lower than other people, and there’s nothing wrong with that (but if you’re not aware of a reviewer’s grading pattern, you could misinterpret the rating). This is one of the reasons I don’t use ratings on my own site, and one of the reasons I don’t (much) use Goodreads for reviews.
    Goodreads (and Amazon, and lots of other places) seem to place more importance on the rating than on the review, I guess because ratings can be quickly aggregated and averaged in a way that a few in-depth reviews can’t. I’ve heard, though, that it is possible to post a review on Goodreads without an accompanying rating. (Mind you, I haven’t actually tried this myself, so I can’t vouch for this.)
    I reckon that a detailed review is worth 10 or more ratings, because it’s much more likely to give you an idea of whether the book will mesh with your own reading interests. (And since books generally take several hours to read, what’s a few extra minutes spent reading a review?)

    Liked by 4 people

    • abooknation says:

      Oh as you can tell I’m not that great at using Goodreads! But yeah I definitely see what you’re coming from, and people tend to always look for the ratings before reading a review. I completely agree with you’re last point! If you’ve invested your time in reading the book why not invest time in writing a detailed review.

      Like

  3. Kitty Maschan says:

    I’ve gotten used to rating the books I review because the ones I’m given to review require it. I completely agree though that having the rating at the top might diminish someone’s willingness to read through my justification of that rating. Now I’m torn whether or not to include ratings on my blog as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      It’s also because I’m someone who I feel like gives stricter ratings. Even if I thoroughly enjoyed a book I would never give 5/5. So my ratings are usually lower but I don’t get the chance to justify why with the rest of the review! But it all depends on you, if ratings have worked for you then that’d absolutely fine!

      Liked by 1 person

      • hardcoverlover says:

        I try to be fair. I like to be generous and not be too harsh on the story or author, but then I remember that I have a responsibility to my readers and that in their place I would want a balanced, fair, and earned rating/review. So that’s why I am honest and though I will express my point of view, I will elaborate on the whys. Then the reader can make his/her own decision using those whys, according to their preferences.

        Liked by 1 person

      • abooknation says:

        I completely agree! I’m against giving low reviews without justifying it with your reasons. That way at least the author can benefit from it in some way. As you said they can use it to improve their future work, especially if it’s a recurring problem.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. twolittlebibliophiles says:

    We don’t rate the books. We find it quite difficult to brake down our Review to a few points which are generalised for every review. Since no opinion and no book is the same it doesn’t seem possible. Also most people rate a book lower because they don’t like the Charakteres. But what if those unusual Charakters are the reason why I like the Book. I think it difficult to convey such things through a rating system. That’s why I actually as a reader don’t read amazon-reviews and look for ratings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I completely agree! When I’m considering reading a book I actually check out Goodreads. Before when I used to decide which book to read based on the rating I actually didn’t end up enjoying the books I read. So now I actually read through the reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. piratepatty says:

    Hate the star system
    On Goodreads I just don’t press them. My job is to review it not rate it. I know authors who consistently give books 5 stars. They also charge for it. I’m just going to tell you what I liked about it and how it made me feel.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jamie Wu says:

    Personally I dislike a rating system. Everyone’s three and four stars are going to be different. I usually end my reviews with one or two sentences to summarize my thoughts on the book, for the readers that want to skip the bulk and get to the point. Sometimes it does its job, other times I don’t think it’s good enough but I still think it beats just giving it a rating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Today-Will-Die-Tomorrow says:

    I find my opinions in a book tend to be a little to nuanced to simply reduce them to a numerical score – though I can see the appeal if you have, for instance, a lot of small positive things to say about a book you really didn’t like, and you wanted to be really clear where you stood on it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      There are definitely those benefits depending on book you’ve read. For example there are some books I’ve read that I would feel quite comfortable with rating. But it’s just that the majority of books I read don’t fit into that category! And what I find enjoyable is subjective, someone reading the review may not agree.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. luvtoread says:

    On my blog I typically do not give a rating. I try to gather my thoughts into a short sentence or two to describe how I feel about the book, calling it my “bottom line”, which is at the end of my review. Every once in awhile I will put my star rating in, but it’s rare.
    I do however use star ratings on Goodreads, Instagram, & Twitter. I find that those platforms are better for the star ratings. I do not typically write reviews on Goodreads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I do the same thing! Just to kind of sum up my thoughts into a few sentences! For me that’s much better than a rating. If you want a summarised version of the review you could always scroll to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. aploplexy says:

    I struggle with the ratings myself. I like different kinds of books for different reasons and a simple numerical system seems too narrow to apply universally. But I tried not rating books once and then read a bunch of really good books I wanted to paint in piles of stars and slipped back into rating again.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. reviewsbyruckie says:

    I don’t rate my reviews numerically on my blog. I rate them on Amazon or Goodreads and I base that rating on my overall feel for the book. I know what you mean about minimizing an author’s work – in fact, I’m a little hesitant to negatively review at all. I mean just because it wasn’t necessarily to my taste doesn’t mean that it isn’t to someone else’s taste…but I do my best to reflect that even in the very few negative reviews that I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I completely agree! What I try to do is perhaps offer some constructive criticism as to why I didn’t enjoy that particular element and I’ve actually had a few others tell me that was quite useful!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. theherdlesswitch says:

    I prefer the review over the rating when it comes to books. If I’m looking at books on a website and trying to tell if they’re any good to read or not I rarely take the rating into consideration. Instead I keep clicking to find reviews, if I don’t find any I won’t be very inclined to read.
    So I guess for me stars mean nothing, impressions everything. I haven’t personally used ratings in my book reviews yet and don’t think I will in the future either.

    Meno

    Liked by 1 person

  12. berryvillelibrary says:

    I don’t mind the ratings, but I also don’t require them. I do agree with everyone that it can be hard to convey more complex/nuanced opinions about a book with just the numbers, but I also like seeing people’s reasons for giving out the numbers they do.

    Personally, I don’t use them on my reviews because I feel uncomfortable formally rating books since I’m running a blog on behalf of a library. For that reason, I don’t review everything I read and I also avoid reviewing books I’d give lower ratings.

    But I like to rate books on Goodreads, which is where I actually do keep track of everything I read, for work and pleasure. There, I see it as less of an objective rating of a book’s quality and more about whether I enjoyed it, so 5 stars means I loved it, 4 stars means I really liked it, 3 stars meant it was good, 2 stars means “meh” or “I understand why people like this, but it’s not for me,” and 1 star means I hated it and am actively resentful that I wasted my time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I guess if you’re blogging on behalf of a library it does change your review formats a bit! I still haven’t quite got the hang of Goodreads😅 I know that once I do I’ll get addicted but I’m not there yet!

      Liked by 1 person

      • berryvillelibrary says:

        I understand completely about Goodreads! I’ve been using the site for a few years and still am puzzled by some basic things, though I do really enjoy it. Like, I see people recommending things formally for people and adding “recommended for” tags on their reviews. I can’t figure out how to do that, and my efforts to learn how have failed. I’ve just decided that I was not meant to recommend anything on there. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Emily | RoseRead says:

    I use a 5-star system like Goodreads, and I have liked doing that. I totally get your concern about people not reading a full review because they just look at the rating and are done with it. For me, if I see a rating that is a 2, I’m more inclined to read the review b/c I think they are more interesting than a 5-star which just gushes about a book. I write pretty long reviews, but I also include my rating at the bottom for people who just would rather skim and see the rating. Another problem I have with ratings though is that my feelings about a book might change over time (I actually wrote a whole post about that), so sometimes they aren’t the most reliable measures. Lots to consider; great discussion post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I do see where you’re coming from, I’ve also heard that a lot of publishers/authors much prefer you include a rating in the review so that’s why I decided to put up a post to see what both sides of the argument are! Also I agree with the 2 star ratings, I tend to read their reviews more to see why they felt that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. elnadesbookchat says:

    This has been a very interesting discussion. As a librarian I do use the rate system to help guide me when I am choosing books to purchase, especially Journal reviews that give stars to the really good books. I also look for books that have mixed reviews and like looking at the lower rated reviews to see why that person didn’t like the book. I don’t rate books myself, except on Goodreads, which I don’t use often either. A lot of the comments here have made me start thinking about ratings and books, which is good. Thanks for the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I agree, but I also feel like because I read a bit of every genre it’d be quite difficult to come up with a rating system that would work across them all! Thank you for taking part in this discussion! I’ve come across a lot of interesting points on both sides of the argument, I’m glad my post was helpful 😊

      Like

  15. bookninja says:

    Rating is very subjective. I always rate my books but I have been thinking of not doing that anymore. As a reviewer I obviously have a lot to say about a book but sometimes I can’t put my opinion in terms of the number of stars for that book. The stars don’t give justice to my reviews. I think since Goodreads was born people went more towards the rating instead of the reviews. But after a few misleads, I also read the reviews of the books before buying it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The Past Due Book Review says:

    I agree with waiting to put my rating until the end of the review. People, myself included, will often look for the rating rather than the review if they are short on time or simply looking for a general consensus for a book. I personally use a scale of 1 to 5 and tailor each to make it appropriate to the book’s subject matter. For example, for my review of the fourth Harry Potter book, I used 4 blast-ended skrewts out of five. This way it keeps things interesting and is something for the reader to get as a reward for reading all my words. I also use “recommended for” and “not recommended for” sections that often include characters from the books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      Oh, see that makes everything clearer! I have seen a lot of people get creative with their rating system and some actually have a key. I definitely see where you’re coming from though, but your method seems a little more structured so it makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Past Due Book Review says:

        I try to keep to an “out of 5” rating system to avoid any confusion (I was really tempted to break it in order to give 7 horcruxes out of 7 for The Deathly Hallows) and I think it just adds a little bit of personality to the review.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. memorymeetsimagination says:

    I’m new to book blogging but I haven’t given ratings in my reviews. I kind of like to just discuss my thoughts and feelings, what I liked or didn’t, etc. I feel like it would be hard to give an objective rating that applies to other books…like, is this 4-star book equivalent to this 4-star book?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    It is something I use, but I as I’ve always said, my rating system is entirely subjective- so if I gave something 2/5, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad book- it means I didn’t like it. But I see that a lot of reviewers don’t like it, which is fair enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      Oh I see! I agree with the 2/5 thing, but sometimes when you review popular books and give them low ratings people just jump at your throat without reading on. That’s just been something I’ve worried about but if the rating system works for you then that’s absolutely fine!

      Like

  19. The Genre Minx Book Reviews says:

    Just chiming in 😀. I use a rating system and I clearly define what that system is on both my blog and on Goodreads. I love the rating system for my own use. If I am looking at reading a book I will always jump over to Goodreads to see what the overall rating is but then I will filter the ratings to read the 1, 2, and 3 star reviews because I usually find that they will give the reasons that I may not like a book.

    Those reviews are really helpful. Example, not a huge fan of books that include rape especially graphic detailing of, reviewers that rate 3 or less are more likely to also be upset by this and that would be a reason for the lower reviews which helps me weigh whether or not to read that book.

    As for blog reviewers, if I value their opinion then their rating (stars or whatever) actually is an incentive to read further. If I was looking forward to a book and you rate is say a 2, then I want to know why you think that. What was it that turned you off? Would I feel the same way? The opposite is if I disliked a book but you rated a book 4 stars. Then I want to know what it is that you really liked. It helps me to know you as a book reviewer better.

    With that said, no ratings are fine too. People are going to listen to your opinion either way. For me though ratings are used for filtering and I find them to be useful. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I definitely see where your coming from and I also do check out ratings that are different from the general consensus! Sometimes I tend to agree with them but either way it gives me a little more insight into the book!

      Like

  20. Melanie Noell Bernard says:

    Hmm… Now that is an interesting concept and I think it really depends on what reasons people are using to give their ratings. For me, personally I don’t know my rating of the book until I’ve written my review. My review is a way of clarifying how I feel about it, what I liked, what I didn’t, etc, and I base my rating on that. However, I place my rating all the way at the bottom of my review, making it the last thing people see (unless they’re cheating -.-). However, I think ratings are important because they give other people an idea of what they’re getting themselves into. It’s an easy way to pick out the people with differing opinions. Though, personally I don’t read reviews before I read a book. I like to be unbiased. So, perhaps the ratings mean more to readers who are looking to see whether they want to read a book or not. This is an interesting idea. Thank you for bringing it up. ^.^

    Liked by 1 person

    • abooknation says:

      I definitely see where you’re coming from! I don’t read detailed reviews on the books I’m going to read 😅, it’s just sometimes I’m a bit skeptical about picking up a book so I just quickly go online to see if it’s something I’ll enjoy! I’m just really worried about falling into a reading slump, which tends to happen when I’ve read a book I haven’t enjoyed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Melanie Noell Bernard says:

        Ah! Yes, reading slumps can be rather difficult, but I think that’s why having TBRs planned are important because it gives you the next book ready to read. You don’t have to think about it. You can just push the bad book away and start the new one. That’s what I’ve been trying to do at least.

        Like

  21. authorjanebnight says:

    Book rating is so hard. I use a system that is not great but the most fair I could devise. If I didn’t like a story but there was nothing really wrong with it I will go for a 3/5 which to me is basically the author tried but this wasn’t for me. I reserve my 1/5 and 2/5 for books that are really poor written and I think provide a poor experience for me and many other readers. It is rare for me to rate a 1 or 2 so when I do it means I really thought the book was bad.
    On the other hand I don’t give out 5 liberally either. A book really has to earn it.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. david the Christian says:

    The essence of rating is for the one who wants to read the book to know whether it will be something enjoyable or not. A numerical system is not ideal because of vast diversity. But a clear and conclusive summary is needed.

    So, make a table with two sides. On one side is what the book is, on the other side is what the book is not. The things written on ‘what the book is’ are called golden eggs, while ‘what the book is not’ are called brown eggs.

    So a book can be rated 5 golden eggs and 2 brown eggs. Someone who is really considering the book will look at your table to see what the golden eggs are and what the brown is. And the brown eggs in your review can be what is golden in another person’s perspective. I believe this will solve the problem if you think possibilities on it and give it a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. makingsenseofcomplications says:

    While I don’t rate books all that often, I rate what I watch pretty obsessively using the imdb.com app for ios. I have found the following problems with ratings using their 10-point system:
    1. The vast majority of my reviews are crammed into the 7-10 range as I will stop watching most items if I feel it is going to be a waste of my time. I have trudged through a few 5s and 6s but only because completion would fill in holes in highly considered old films, some of which are just too dated to appreciate in the context of their time (I have no problem appreciating old books though);
    2. Given the above, I find myself wanting to assign tenths of points between 7 and 10 – and there is no method for doing this individually, although the averages are stated to one decimal point.
    3. I don’ really like lists in general. I don’t make them (even for groceries) and when I do I know they are an artificial way of articulating my appreciation. For me, there is no “#1 film,” there are only great films in various genres, but I would never suggest that one excellent drama is equivalent in some way to an excellent comedy or documentary; they all have different functions and different intentions, thus different effects on my hopelessly (and by definition) subjective noodle.
    4. When I was a kid growing up in a small town with one theatre I would keep up with film releases through The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The New Republic reviews. I could pretty much always tell, whatever the reviewer was saying, that I would like or dislike the film based on my puny-but-ever-growing set of criteria.
    Anyway, I like that you just say what you think. There is an inescapable place in the world for numbers and reviews may not be that place.
    MSOC

    Liked by 1 person

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