Saturday 11 June 2011

Should I Use A Rating System?

I read plenty of other book related blogs and I note that the vast majority of them seem to have some sort of rating system for book reviews. On my blog I don't post any sort of rating and I wonder if it would add anything to my reviews to actually do so. As it is, I do currently post shortened versions of my reviews on Smashreads, Goodreads and Amazon UK and use their 5 star rating systems but that is mainly just because the option is there when I post my review.

Currently I try to actually detail my actual thoughts and opinions of a book in any of my reviews. My aim has always been to try and point out what I think is good or bad in a novel and why I reached that opinion. I don't post a rating because I sometimes think that putting a rating down can almost limit what you are actually trying to say in your review.

However, I do know some people who like to quickly check out a rating first if they are skimming for something to read. It will grab their attention so that they decide to read the review or not. This works for both good and bad ratings as some I suspect some people also enjoy looking out and reading low rated reviews and ignore the high rated.

In the end though, I suppose the best people to ask are the people who read this blog. What do you all think? Should I add some sort of rating system to my review or is this not needed?


  1. When I look at my friend's feed on goodreads, the first thing I see is the number of stars they gave a book. There are a lot of books out there, and a lot of reviews, and so I tend to think more about reading books with 4 or 5 stars from the people whose opinions I follow. I will also usually look at a review if I have read the book, regardless of the rating, out of curiosity and in case I have something to add to the discussion. Otherwise, I only tend to read the reviews with 1, 2, and 3 stars if I'm thinking of reading the book and I see friends' opinions.

    With blogs, it is a whole different process. I follow a number of them, and I have the feed come up through google reader. Every day, I search post titles for likely looking posts and reviews. Again, I am attracted to books I have read myself, out of curiosity. After that, book titles often grab my attention -- both because they are instantly interesting, because I've heard of them, or because I've been seeing it reviewed at many different places.

    Once I begin to read your review, I am immediately looking for your experience reading it. I can get a summary anywhere, so if there is summary information I skim to where the "real" review begins.

    If you have a rating at the top of the review, then I am likely to be less interested unless the book has 4 or 5 whatevers. (On my site, I don't even define it...I just say 4/5, 4.5/5, or 5/5.)

    If you have a rating at the bottom of your review, it begins a point of interest only, and usually confirms what I've already read, although sometimes I've found myself surprised..."You've been gushing about this book for 5 paragraphs and now you've given it a 3? We must have a different definition of a 3!"

    Because of all this, I personally only review on my website books that I can either honestly give 3.5 or more stars to (usually 4, but I've made exceptions), or else popular books that it seems the world is discussing (like Twilight, which I didn't care for at all).

    I show a rating for clarification, and because I often find myself between stars on goodreads. On my own site, I can give 4.5 thingamabobs if I want. :)

    So, to make a long story short (too late) -- I think you should do what feels right. Numbers make some people feel good, but as an avid reader myself, I know that a book is far, far more than a number.

  2. Christine,

    Thanks for you comment, I think it is longer than my actual Blog Post :-)

    Several people have spoken to me and said the same thing as you. I suspect I am going to stick with avoiding any star rating system on my blog and just let people read my written opinions.