April 2024
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TT: Ratings

ttToday’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.


8 comments to TT: Ratings

  • I agree with the amazon rating system for sure. 3 stars is good in my book but people act like it’s saying the book was crap.

    lenore’s last blog post..Win a Triple Shot Bettys Prize Pack!

  • I’ve thought about using a rating system, too, but decided against it. To me, 3 stars means it’s average.

  • We have very similar approaches, with no ratings on the blog, but including them on LibraryThing.

    I know you’ve read it, Meghan; anyone else who wants to read my full answer can find it here.

    Dawn (sheIsTooFondOfBooks)’s last blog post..Tuesday Thingers: How Important are Ratings?

  • I like to use ratings, though I take others’ ratings with a grain of salt. I have peculiar tastes, I think. But I definitely agree about Amazon ratings. I’m afraid of posting anywhere on Amazon for fear of being dragged into a literary alley somewhere and mugged for spare stars.

    Lana’s last blog post..Tuesday Thingers – Ratings

  • hmmm…I commented here before but it seems to have gotten lost. My error no doubt. I forget what I said, except I know that I shared you dislike of the Amazon ratings. I give a lot more attention to the ratings and reviews on Library Thing.

    caite’s last blog post..I give 5 Stars to Tuesday Thinger!!

  • I am not so ready to praise rating systems. I am not even sure I would rely on review content. In my experience as a writer and a reader I find reviews and ratings at best contradictory and worse downright inaccurate. My own book has been both criticized for too much dialogue and for having marvellous and involving dialogue. The ratings depend on these generally too subjective opinions.

    I just read a review of Cornwell’s Azincourt the other day. The reviewer stated that the author did not show how cold and miserable the day was for those in the battle. I wondered if he was reading a different book.. as thee scene very definitely did describe it.

    So if I had to depend on ratings and reviews, I probably would not read some quite lovely books.

    No rating system on my blog.

    Nan Hawthorne
    “An Involuntary King; A Tale of Anglo Saxon England”

  • I don’t include a rating system on my blog either, although I’ve thought about it. I just think ratings are so subjective. I do rate books as I read them on Shelfari, but that’s about it.

    Yvonne’s last blog post..Tuesday Thingers

  • I find that I really struggle with the rating system on sites sometimes. As you say, a 3 star would mean that I like it, and that it was an average book. So what makes it a four or five star? Plus, the rating system will be a little different for each person. I value the comments more than the number of stars or letters a book gets!

    Thanks for stopping by and participating in Thingers last week! I’ve got the post up for this week. ~ Wendi