Today’s question: Do you use a rating system on your blog? How do you feel about using the rating system provided on sites like Library Thing and Amazon? When looking up information on a book you are interested in, do you use the ratings provided by these sites (or similar sites) to help you make the decision on purchasing the book?
This is a very good question for me because I’ve always wondered if I should institute some sort of rating system around here. I’ve seen number ratings, letter ratings, and star ratings around the blogosphere. Something in me, however, has always resisted just giving a book a number or a letter. They are complex and I think almost all of them have bits that are good and bits that are bad. It’s very hard to categorize, especially after I’ve given my review, and sometimes I’m not sure the star rating I’d give a book matches what I’m trying to get across. This is why I don’t use them here.
That said, I do use star ratings on LT. Half the time, it’s a month or more before my review gets over there, and I know that I’m always a bit irritated by people who write reviews and then don’t put a star rating in. Maybe that’s hypocritical of me given my policy here, and given that I never miss it on other blogs if they lack a rating system, but since the mechanism is there, I like to see both, and I like to add my opinion to the little graph on the side so that it is the most accurate possible. I have a system for these. 5-star books are perfect, 4-star books I really liked, 3-star books are okay, 2-star books I disliked, and 1-star books I either didn’t finish or I hated the whole way through.
I hate the star system on Amazon, though. It seems there is something wrong with you there if you use anything less than 4 or 5 stars for a book that perhaps deserves only 3 stars. 3 stars is not bad, in fact, it usually means that the book is fine but it’s not really my cup of tea or didn’t draw me in for some reason. On Amazon, however, it seems that if you like a book, you must give it a 5 star rating. As such, it has lost its meaning. I’ve more or less stopped posting reviews there and only do so for review copies and books that have no reviews but mine.
I’d say I use the star ratings on LT to help me evaluate eventual books to be purchased, but most of my choices are spur-of-the-moment, buying a book I’ve heard of before. Since I don’t read reviews before I read a book myself (or I put sufficient time between the review and the reading to forget what the plot is about), I don’t have many other choices.