Books, Feedback, Opinion

The sticky business of rating books

I blogged about rating books last month, but I’d like to revisit that topic today. In the last week, I’ve read at least three blog posts about rating books, which have caused me to wonder if my criteria is too strict. Since I started an account at Goodreads, I’ve been giving most books a 3-stars rating, but now I know many people see that as a thumbs down.

Currently, this is what my ratings mean:
•    5 stars = I loved the book and will read it again … possibly more than once.

•    4 stars = I really liked the book and most likely will read it again.

•    3 stars = I liked the book and enjoyed the read, but might not read it again. You never know. Sometimes a 3 star turns into a 4 star for me.

•    2 stars = Reading it wasn’t a waste of time, but I had problems with it. I doubt I’d read it again.

•    1 star = For me, reading it was a waste of time, and I might not have finished it.

Often, I just rate the book, not write a review, so it’s likely my 3-stars has been seen as a negative. I’m probably bringing down the average rating, when that was not my intent. I’m wondering if I should spend time re-evaluating my posted ratings.

Your turn, a lot of questions today: What does a 3-stars rating mean to you? Do you have a personal rating system? In a five-star system, what percentage of books do you rate 5-stars? Do you consider the average rating on a book before you rate it, or stick to your standards no matter what?

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68 thoughts on “The sticky business of rating books”

  1. Linda,

    I agree with you. I don’t think it’s up to us to pad a rating, we’d be slighting other readers. Ratings are opinions in the end, and we all take a book from a personal perspective. I’m going to rave about a book to give it 5 stars, and be enthralled and entertained to give it 4. A 3 star rating is still good to me, but I may have been a little let down. 2 stars means I wouldn’t recommend it and 1, well, I don’t even have to say.

    In all, I’d rather not read reviews before I pick up a book. I like a story to become my own experience and to that end, I take my own sweet time.


    1. Thanks for sharing, Victoria. I don’t read reviews before I read the book either. I do often look at the star rating though. If it’s a favorite author, I know I’m going to read the book anyway so I don’t bother with either.

      But I don’t want to pad my ratings either. But I think occasionally, my 3-stars rating is more heavily influenced by the editor me than the reader me. 😉


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