sound bite

I tweaked the tags for our ratings a little bit yesterday so it made me really think about ratings. The most common ratings (judging from the tag size) on our blog are 3 and 4 stars. My rating average on Goodreads is 2.98, it’s pretty evenly spread out across 2, 3, and 4s. Here is my thought process for ratings:

1 star – I probably felt at some point I’m wasting my time.
2 stars – Eh.
3 stars – Enjoyable! I liked it with some minor qualms.
4 stars – I’m really into it!!
5 stars – I’m living for it, hearts in my eyes!

and half stars are somewhere in between those reactions! I rarely give out five stars. They’re usually books that stuck with me through years and I can re-read it constantly without getting tired of it. BASICALLY: HARRY POTTER. I remember there was some drama back because some people thought 3 stars were bad which is….weird to me. 3 stars is in the middle, it generally means the person enjoyed it but something stopped them from loving it. 3 stars means I would probably recommend the book! I’ve thought about taking ratings off the blog before because I feel like sometimes ratings can already have a preconceived notion of how the review will go. I mean, ratings are an indicator but I don’t think they’re everything. I’ve read a review before where someone rated a book 2 stars but it seemed to be a favorable review, it just depends! Ratings are subjective, some people rate based solely on gut instinct/enjoyment factor while others are more critical.

Questions for you!

1. Do you use ratings on your blog? Why or why not?
2. If yes, how do you use ratings on your blog?
3. Do you pay attention to ratings? Do you think they matter?

I’d love it if you answered because I’m really curious about this, ha.

27 Responses to “sound bite: review ratings”

  1. I use ratings. It’s helpful to put a number to a book, but not all the time. When I’m so conflicted over a book that a number won’t do, I leave it out. I think after starting the whole ‘reviewing’ thing on Goodreads, my ratings are basically an echo of the system up there. The majority of the books I have rated are 3 stars – which isn’t a bad thing, as the majority of the books I have read were good books. I believe 3 stars on Goodeads is ‘I liked it’ and 2 stars is ‘It was okay’. Though what people will consider a ‘good’ rating is very subjective.
    Sam @ Realm of Fiction recently posted..Book Extract: Slated by Teri Terry (#3)My Profile

    • Elena says:

      It is helpful! I’ve definitely used GR before when I couldn’t remember how I felt about a book but I am also constantly changing the ratings on my GR. Lately I haven’t really been using ratings on GR though. A ‘good’ rating is so subjective! I think that’s why it’s important to see why or why didn’t the person like the book.

  2. Karen says:

    Ahhh- the star rating. It drives me crazy because I’m not always happy with my own rating system. I rate 1-4 stars.
    3 is my average and a definite recommend (I just have a minor thing that didn’t work for me & kept it from a 4) so it bums me out when readers and authors think that’s a bad rating.
    I toyed with the idea of not using ratings at all but I like them when I read other people’s reviews. It’s not a perfect system but I add a little quick summary with my rating so people hopefully get to see what worked and what didn’t.
    Karen recently posted..Review: What A Boy Wants by Nyrae DawnMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      It bums me out when people think 3 stars is a bad rating too! I mean, it’s not a shining recommendation but it still means you enjoy the book, I think. I do like to see them on other people’s reviews too since sometimes I’m not sure if they liked the book or not in their review.

  3. Leanna says:

    I use ratings, but I have changed my system a couple times. I’m pretty happy with the one I have now. Three stars for me is an OK read but nothing really special. I only give five stars to the books I really, really, really love. And I give half stars a lot. Goodreads drives me crazy with the no half stars thing!
    Leanna recently posted..Book Review: When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle.My Profile

    • Elena says:

      Three stars means the same thing to me too. oh gosh, I KNOW ABOUT THE HALF STARS! I like half stars because sometimes I’m conflicted about a book. I really wish GR gave half stars too, it would be so easy to do. :(

  4. Hilda K says:

    I use ratings in my blog, but sometimes the ratings just don’t do book the justice. People seem to think that 3 stars are bad. Well, I admit that I won’t instantly pick the book if the reviewer just give it the decent stars. I usually give 3-4 stars, but I’m conflicted because I love some of the 4 stars books much more than the other 4 stars. It is really hard to give rating to a book, so I think I just follow my heart when I rate it. 3 stars? It’s okay with some flaws. 4 stars? I’m willing to forgive the blemish. 5 stars? I don’t even care about the stain if there is even any! :D

    Great discussion post, Elena! :)

    • Elena says:

      I agree about loving more 4 stars books than other 4 stars! That’s usually when I alter it to make it a 3.5 stars instead, ha. Unfortunately, that’s not possible on GR. Sometimes I wish I was more generous with 5 stars because there are a lot of 4 stars books I love a lot but I just can’t bring myself to give it 5 stars since it’s a big deal to me.

      Thanks! <3

  5. LOL HARRY!!! I’ve seriously got to meet this 5-star worthy boy soon — he’s at the top of my why-haven’t-I-read-this-series-yet/people-will-hunt-me-down-if-I-don’t-read-them-soon list! x)

    This is super funny because I was actually just planning a discussion post about ratings and stuff, but I think I’ll just pour my heart out in your comments instead! (If you don’t mind haha! <3) I always include a rating in my reviews because sometimes it makes it easier for other bloggers to compare how much we liked a book, and sometimes they just want to know the rating when they're browsing. And I love to see them around too! But sometimes it's just SO FRUSTRATING to rate books! Not only that everyone rates differently which I really don't mind, but that some books I rate a 4 are clearly better than other 4s but I don't feel quite right giving them a 5 because I don't think they deserve a 5… and etcetera! It makes it so much harder to find the right book LOL! You know what I mean? x)

    And I'm starting to be a little less generous with my fives, so that sets off balance all the reviews I used to write too! I'm going to have to go back and fix some one day, but I feel kind of bad doing that haha…

    My basic thoughts: I USE RATINGS. I LOVE RATINGS. I HATE RATINGS. Grrr!

    LOL excuse my rant! Awesome post, Elena! <3 :')
    Mimi Valentine recently posted..Masquerade Read-Along Week 4!My Profile

    • Elena says:

      MIMI, ADD ME TO THE LIST OF PEOPLE WHO WILL HUNT YOU DOWN! Actually, in all honesty, I worry that people who read it now won’t be as into HP because it was such a formative part of people’s childhood and that’s a part of why people love it so intensely. However, Kendra read HP around last year (I think?) and she still LOVED it so I hope you will too. :D

      Haha, of course I don’t mind! I’m always up for long comments! Oh, you make a good point about people browsing. I’ve definitely skipped some reviews before because I saw they didn’t have the same rating as I did for certain books so they probably didn’t feel the same way. Also, there are certain books I judge people by their rating of it. I do love difference of opinions but these are very certain books, haha. It is SO FRUSTRATING to rate books, it’s such a tricky thing! I agree about some 4 stars being better, Hilda made the same point and it’s so true. That’s why I have half stars, hee. I totally get what you mean though.

      oh dear, I am guilty of going back and fixing my ratings. I do that on GR a lot and I’ve done it a few times on here too because once I think more about a book, I might not like it as much.

      Thanks, Mimi! ♥ I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  6. I actually added a rating system to my blog fairly recently. I ended up adding it because I felt like sometimes my reviews don’t completely match what I would actually rate the book–like I focused on the things that annoyed me about the book in my review, but really the book wasn’t too bad, or something along those lines.

    • Elena says:

      Yeah, I think that’s when ratings are handy because sometimes I’ve read a review and were unsure if they liked it or not. Ratings can help a review, I think.

  7. My thoughts on ratings are almost EXACTLY the same as you! I don’t get the 3 star hating. For me? It was GOOD. I LIKED it. In fact, I may have even liked it a lot. A couple of minor issues? Sure. Or maybe despite my enjoyment, I just didn’t think it was a masterpiece of literature, but fun fluffy enjoyment, if you know what I mean?

    I’m with what Mimi said, though: “Some books I rate a 4 are clearly better than other 4s but I don’t feel quite right giving them a 5 because I don’t think they deserve a 5.” This is true, and it’s the frustrating thing about a rating system… but I wouldn’t necessarily think they’re less than a four… mo well. GREAT post :D
    Sarah (saz101) recently posted..Insurgent (Divergent #2), Veronica RothMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      Yes! 3 stars means I enjoyed it! I think people look at the negative more that it’s close to a 2 but it’s also close to a 4 so. I totally get what you mean about fun fluffy enjoyment. There are books I enjoyed a lot but I wouldn’t give a 4 for that reason.

      It really is frustrating! It’s hard to find a balance between that. Merci, Sarah! <3

  8. VeganYANerds says:

    This is such a great post because I have been thinking we need a rating guide on our site too. I gave a book 3.5 and the comments from readers made me think they thought I hated when 3 stars for me, means a good read!
    VeganYANerds recently posted..A Temptation of Angels by Michelle ZinkMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      Oh really? 3.5 stars is closer to a 4 though! 3 stars means a good read for me too. From what I’ve seen around and what people say, generally 3 stars means enjoyment so I’m confused when people say it’s a bad thing. Eh.

  9. We struggled with the whole ratings thing. SO much. Which is why we decided to do the skip it, borrow it, or buy it rating instead. We have SO many more borrows than we do buys. I guess I want my bookshelves filled with books that I absolutely love, and those are the ones I’d most recommend to a friend. The ones that are worth their money.
    Magan @ Rather Be Reading recently posted..Estelle: Supergirl Mixtapes by Meagan BrothersMy Profile

    • Elena says:

      I was wondering about that! At first, I thought that was your source but it didn’t make any sense. Eventually, I figured out that was your rating and it was an “ohhh” moment, ha. I love what you said about the bookshelves, I absolutely agree! I’ve been trying to get better at buying books and definitely borrow more from the library now.

  10. “3 stars is in the middle, it generally means the person enjoyed it but something stopped them from loving it. 3 stars means I would probably recommend the book!”

    This is what I’ve always thought to, but apparently that’s not always the case. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I do use rating on my blog on a 1-5 scale. Like you though, I rarely give out 5s. I think my Goodreads average reading is somewhere around the 3.3 range.
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    • Elena says:

      I think we both have the same view on this. I wish other people would realise a 3 isn’t a bad thing too.

  11. I personally love rating systems because if I don’t have time to read a whole entire review I can see at a glance by the number of stars how much they liked it. Your rating system is pretty similar to mine. Some of my favorite books are 3 stars! I don’t think it’s a bad rating at all. I rate based on how I feel at the end. It I’m just blown away when I close the book, it gets 5 stars. If I liked it a lot it gets 4. If I shut the book and don’t feel like I totally loved it or hated it, it gets 3. If it had things that got on my nerves it gets 2 stars and if it gets 1 star I tell people flat out not to read it.
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    • Elena says:

      I have the same thought process too! Especially concerning 3s, that’s why I often give them out. I don’t think it’s a bad rating either and it’s frustrating that people do.

  12. Kim says:

    Ratings are a tricky thing for me, because sometimes I really can’t define how I felt about a book through numbers! Plus some people generally tend to get the wrong idea if I rate a book 3.5 stars when that just means it’s somewhere between “liked” and “really liked” as on goodreads. I mean, you’re so right about the whole three stars thing! I usually really enjoy books that I rate three stars, however perhaps it just had a plot that was somewhat uneven in pacing or it was one of those books to read between all the action-y ones etc. They’re usually books that I’d still like sequels too though!

    You know, this actually prompted me to write up a rating system after so long without one! So yeah, amazing post, Elena :)

    PS. Is it just me or is it normal to sign up for e-mail updates and then get no updates? *cries* I never know when you’ve posted something new until I remember to check your blog :(

    • Elena says:

      Seriously! I think 3.5 stars is a pretty good rating, it’s much closer to a 4 than a 2, you know? I agree about the sequel thing, plenty of books I would read the sequel to with 3 stars because I did enjoy the book.

      Thank you, Kim!

      PS. ahahaha, it was just not you! I forgot to click the ticky box that said to notify subscribers, oops. Thanks for bringing it up to my attention. :D

  13. Lu says:

    I did a rating system for years – all based on where you would put the book in your TBR list. But I have stopped doing it. Sometimes it seems like books never keep the rating I give them. They get better with age or worse. And it seems so arbitrary, ha. I still rate everything on GoodReads since it’s so easy to go in and change my mind, but on a blog post that’s a little bit harder. I totally understand why rating systems are useful, though. I think they matter in the sense that they are a good summary of a post, but I’m much more interested in the content of the review.
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  14. Many blogs have gotten rid of star ratings, which of course is their choice. I don’t think I ever will. I read book blogs for about a year or so before I started one myself. I wouldn’t read a review unless it had a star rating because I didn’t want to read a review where the reviewer didn’t like the book. I’m always afraid of getting that reader’s thoughts into my head. Since as a book blogger reader I wanted the star ratings, I’m keeping them around for my readers who aren’t bloggers…I personally think they want them. I do admit I struggle with what to rate a book at times, but I get over it. :)
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  15. I actually don’t usually put ratings on my blog, which is more a personal choice than anything else. I do enjoy trying to explain why I did or didn’t like a book, and I prefer that people see that more than the rating.

    That having been said, I am reconsidering, as having ratings makes it easier to sort your reviews. Some people really respond to that sort of thing, so I’m probably going to have to reconsider now…
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