Thursday, May 19, 2011

Think About It Thursday (16): Star Ratings

Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady

Many bloggers, websites, magazines, and newspaper articles employ star ratings when it comes to book reviews, but do we like them? Are star ratings a good or bad thing when it comes to book reviews?

I currently use star ratings (or little out-house looking ratings, really) and I have since I first started this blog. It's the easiest and most in-your-face way to show your overall feelings about a book, but sometimes I want to toss my ratings system out the window. My feeling is that star ratings are wonderful, at a glance, but not really all that dependable, even for the reviewer who uses them.
See, there are many books that I give 3, 4, or even 5 star ratings to, but they really do not measure up against one another. I have completely different feelings towards one book I've rated with 5 stars, than I do to another. Oftentimes, I'll finish a book and immediately put it down as a 5 star book because it was that good. Then I'll read another and I feel that it tops the last, but I can't go higher than 5 stars, so...

Many books deserve the great ratings I give them, but just a glance at the rating is never a proper interpretation of how a book made me feel. For now, I still plan on keeping the star ratings because it's helpful to get the teensiest idea of how much I enjoyed a book, but my review - you know that huge thing I write in between the book's description and the picture of houses, at the end? - is the place to go to see just why a book deserved the rating I gave it.

Give a shout in the comments! Let me know your feelings about star ratings. If you blog, do you use them or not? Why? If you like to read reviews, do the star ratings make a difference to you?


The Zealous Reader said...

First let me say your house icons are awesome!

I love it when bloggers give a rating system mostly for novels they didn't like. Usually if they give 1 or 2 stars I know not to read it, but sometimes when it's 3 stars I read the review more critically to see their stance on it. When bloggers don't give a rating I usually can't gather whether they actually liked it or not.

I use a rating system but it's just 2/5 stars or something like that. I wish I could have awesome icons like you!

Marce said...

I think ratings are great, love that you have unique ones, I like when ratings capture a bloggers personal style.

1, 2 and 5 are the ones I really look at but 3 and 4 ratings I think are personal and then it only really matters if I know the reviewer enough to say if we have similar interest.

I considered a more than 5 rating before but it is still personal really.

Great post

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

The Zealous Reader - Aww, you are too sweet! Thanks for the input, as well. I never really thought about ratings the way you do, but I can see it now. Sometimes it is a little bit harder to discern someone's feelings about a book unless they gush about it. Otherwise, it could seem like a meh either way.

Marce - Your viewpoint is also very interesting, but makes sense in my head. The three and four star ratings are usually much more a personal opinion. In fact, they're are the ratings that I always find difficult to use because I if I like a book, it's getting at least a three, but if I liked it a little more, but not in love with it, it's more difficult to rate it a 3 or a 4. When I use those ratings, I'll try to put more thought into my review as to why.

Thank you both for your input!

Angel said...

I just use the five star rating but I'm fairly new to reviewing. I like reading the low rated reviews to see what they didnt like about a book and the higher rated ones to see what they did like.

Its wierd for me when I find a book i reviewed rated high when i rated it low but its also intereting to see another point of view. I think the rating system is good.

Angel's Cove Book Reviews

Bere said...

Fantastic post, Nikki! I read tons of reviews and I do admit that I always check out the star ratings but, what really makes it or breaks it for me is the actual review. I love reading the book reviewer's thoughts on the book. You can always tell if they enjoyed the book or not. =)

Michelle said...

I haven't used them before but I'm just about to and hope you dont mind me using your rating scale! I like the simplicity of it and think it shows at a glance whether it is a good read or not!

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