My Thoughts On Star Ratings!!

Hey everyone!!

A while ago I saw a post on Dellybird about the pros and cons of star ratings and I thought it was a really interesting post and it made me want to write a post based on what I thought.

Please check out the post on Dellybird as it is great and covers some things that I didn’t think about like what it depends on. I am not going into all the pros and cons as I’m talking about my personal opinion so I do advise checking it out beforehand for more information.

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I use star ratings here on my blog and on goodreads. They are widely recognised and used which is probably why I started using them as everyone knows what it means– you don’t need to explain it.

But I actually like them. I like organising my books into groups so I know where all my favourites are, where the average books are etc. I love the organisation and it just feels right.

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Also when writing/reading a review it is a great place to end on as its gives an overall impression what you thought of the book. So readers aren’t left wondering so what did you think of the book in the end. It feels like a satisfying point to end on.

 

HOWEVER, I don’t like star ratings because….

 

In theory star ratings are a great way to show a quick opinion of a book. They seem like a fair, universal measurement to showcase how good the book is or isn’t. But it actually isn’t that fair as it depends on so many things– what my favourite genre is, had I read anything like it before, did I know any spoilers, what were my expectations going in, my personal tastes. I think it is easy to see them as a simple thing that you should take solely on their own when actually they are dependent on so many variables. They are a personal opinion which is why I think star ratings are kind of meaningless without the review.

Sometimes I think we see star ratings and reviews as telling you how good a book is when I don’t think that is the point at all. It is to share your opinion on a book– they are supposed to tell readers if they might enjoy the book, not to pass on their opinion on said book. For example I have read a review where the book was lowly rated but it made me what to pick up the book as the reason they didn’t like it felt like reasons that I might like it. Again it is all opinion based and I don’t think you should just ingest other opinions as your own. You should use them to educate yourself and form your own opinion. Therefore star ratings to me, only have a value with the review as it explains the reasoning behind it.

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As I mentioned before star ratings are universal, everyone knows them but it also means everyone has decided which each rating means. When it isn’t so clear cut– I don’t give away 5 stars that often so 4 stars are a really good book for me but for someone else a 4 star could just be a good book to them so it may make them think I only thought this book was good but I mean it is really good. A lot of people (and me) describe what each rating means to them on their blog etc. so people know this when reading a review to avoid misunderstandings.

I think a common thing is that people think 3 stars isn’t very good when it is more than average. I have done it, I’ve seen something rated as 3 star and thought that’s a shame but it isn’t a bad rating. Ratings can lead to snap judgements is what I am trying to say which is a downside. So again, I am going to say it is why ratings need reviews with them so people can explain why this rating and you can get a more valuable insight into the book and the reviewer’s opinion.

 

“Ratings are just a snapshot of an opinion– you need to the review for the full picture.”

 

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I like star ratings for me and my organisation and I definitely think they have their uses– it is why I still use them but I think for readers it can have a downside. I’d love to know, what do you think??

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Let’s chat…. 

Do you use star ratings? Do you like it when other people use star ratings? Do you like them? Do you prefer alternatives?

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60 thoughts on “My Thoughts On Star Ratings!!

  1. I never actually put much thought into this before, but these points make so much sense! I generally try to do it in my head and ask myself about characters, plot, and how much I enjoyed it! I heavily base my rating around my opinion of the book, but do let those other two factors have a minimal say.
    -Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t really thought about it before reading Dellybird’s post and I thought it was really interesting!! I think it is good to base it around your opinion as I think that will make it the most authentic to you and resemble your thoughts but good to consider other factors as well!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never really thought about this topic, but you make a really good argument!! I do use star rating mostly, just so I can wrap my head around a book a bit better. I also prefer when others use some sort of rating system because, like you said, I understand their overall takeout better.
    Mostly my rating is just a gut feeling since I haven’t officially announced anything 😂 sooo whoops!! This post is awesome! I love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t thought about it before reading Dellybird’s post but I thought it was interesting!! Yes I think it helps me to think about what I thought about the book overall as well– instead of just a bunch of random thoughts!!
      I think it is helpful to see people’s overall thoughts too— some have their own system (like not stars) which I like as well!!
      I think gut feeling is good as it shows your thoughts and feelings!! I did a rating system for myself so I could try and get a distinction between each one 😂😂
      Thank you so much Aditi– I’m so happy to hear that!! 💙💙

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome post, love! ❤ I definitely agree that star ratings are convenient from organization (if you have ever seen my room, is abundantly clear that I don't do well when things aren't in their proper place lol), but they can be misguiding at times too. We all have various criteria for what each star rating means, so it's incredibly hard to compare how we perceive different ratings. I really like what you brought up regarding 3 stars. For me, that's actually a decent rating, but for others, I've seen that's not quite the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Kelly!! ❤ I do love organisation so everything can have its proper place (and I love that your room is organised– that is goals 😂) !!
      Yes that is the problem as people take different things away from each rating so it can make it hard to get your thoughts across!! Yes I noticed that with 3 stars as someone said its a shame you didn't like it when I rated something 3 stars but I thought it was pretty decent!! It's personal opinion on what each rating means!!
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I had written a post like this a while back, because I saw so many people abandoning the star rating. Like you, I feel I don’t give or get the whole picture with out both the review and some numeric evaluation. I have read reviews, where I honestly couldn’t gauge the person’s feelings about the book, but had it been accompanied by a rating, I may have been able to figure that out.

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    1. I’m glad we have similar thoughts— I do like some kind of numeric value or rating at the end to help me see what they thought of the book as a whole– it makes it much clearly to determine their views but you need the review to see more in depth thoughts and the why!! So ratings can be really useful especially with the review!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah it is great to see your opinion on star ratings! I find it such an interesting topic. Three stars is a really difficult rating to understand without a review to back it up because, as you say, it is not a bad rating. Thank you for linking back, I am so pleased you found my post interesting enough to continue the discussion ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh.. thank you!! I find it an interesting topic as well!! Yes I think three stars is one why you want to explain what was good and bad so you get all your thoughts across and then people can make a judgement from that!!
      Of course, I really loved your post and it covered so many things– it was very interesting. It definitely inspired me!! ❤

      Like

  6. I feel as if nearly every single comment I leave on any of your posts is just me screaming about how wonderful your posts are and how much I love your blog. And, yet again, this post is SO lovely!

    Star ratings are super arbitrary to me, and I think that I’ve been totally inconsistent over the years with them. I also feel like they place me in somewhat of a bubble. If I didn’t exactly love a book or even like it, I feel absolutely horrible giving it anywhere around two stars and, because of that, I end up bumping up my rating (which is not at all how star ratings are supposed to work by any stretch of the imagination).

    I also really loved what you said about how star ratings should act as a snapshot of a full review, and I totally agree. Unfortunately, I’m a horrible human being and if I’m deciding between two books I randomly found at the bookstore, I’ll look them up and typically pick up whichever has the highest reviews. But, I will say, I have read some low-rated books that I loved and some high-rated books that I didn’t.

    Star ratings are crazy to grasp a hold of and even understanding them, but this post it SO good and I loved every second of it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh… thank you so much!! 😭 You always leave such amazing comments so thank you I appreciate it so much!! ❤

      I know what you mean actually– sometimes I find ratings hard to give, firstly because I’m unsure and secondly I do feel guilty about giving bad ratings but you want to give an honest view so I can understand that!! I think you have to do what’s best for you and if they are not for you that’s fine!!

      Yes star ratings don’t allow much room for explanations so the full review should be taken in account!! I’ve done the same if I have to decide between some books star ratings can be really useful and as goodreads puts so many together they can be quite useful as it includes so many different opinions. So they are useful but I think it is good to consider that your opinion won’t always be the same as the star ratings so you can pick up some low rated books if you are interested or don’t pick up high rated books!

      Star ratings can be quite complex haha!! Thank you so much Lauren– that’s so sweet. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly!! I want to be able to quickly inform other readers about the books that I liked through my star ratings, but I’ve somehow managed to attach emotions behind the five little gold stars on goodreads. Giving a book anything lower than three stars, even if I think it is deserved, hurts my soul a little bit because of it. And I TOTALLY agree in doing what’s best for you! Especially when you can further describe your feelings about the book in the full review. And yes, yes, YES! You wrote that so well, and I agree with everything 😊

        Like

  7. I think this is a really thoughtful post. I have trouble with assigning a star rating sometimes because my feelings are complicated and I know some people won’t read through the review. Sometimes I love a book I know just wasn’t a very good book. Sometimes reading bad things/hate-reading is fun….reviews are complicated and you have to parse it all out into 5 tiny stars.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much– I tried to get all my thoughts across!! Yes I understand that so much as you have so many thoughts you’re not even sure where you would rate it and people might look at the rating on their own and not get your complicated thoughts!! I love books that aren’t the best as well but sometimes they are fun to read and a star rating can’t cover all that, you’re right!! It can be hard to put all your thoughts in one rating!! Thank you for you comment– you made a really interesting point!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a super insightful discussion! I’m with you on that star ratings mean a lot more if they’re accompanied by a review so that you can truly get a feel for what the reviewer is saying. After all, different star ratings mean a different thing for every reviewer! For some people, 5 stars may be practically unattainable, while other reviewers might hand them out more frequently. Alternately, a 3 star could mean bad things from one reviewer’s mouth, but could mean the book was good based on another reviewer’s opinion!

    I try not to overthink things like this because then I kind of start to have an existential crisis.😂But I love everything you said here, and I definitely agree that it’s so important to take the review into account, too! Additionally, sometimes it’s better to not always go off the ratings other people gave and just take a chance on a book you want to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you– I really tried to think about it and get my thought across so I am happy to hear that!! 🙂
      Yes star ratings don’t allow for reviewers to share all their potentially complicated thoughts so you need a review to understand everything. Exactly the meaning of each star ratings differs between people so it can lead to misunderstandings without the review or explanation.
      Yes I know what you mean– once you start thinking about it, it gets complicated!! 😂😂 Thank you!! I think reviews show people’s feeling so much better than a rating ever could. So true– just because some people didn’t enjoy the book doesn’t mean you will be the same– you have to reach for the books you want still!!
      Thanks for the lovely comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I totally agree with this. Sometimes, for me, a 3-star reading can mean two different things. It is either I liked it, it was entertaining but not much was happening and a lot of stuff bothered me in it. Or nice read but not memorable. So it’s definitely tricky. I like seeing the ratings but followed with the review so it’s easier to know where the person stands 🙂
    Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh.. I’m so glad to hear you agree!! Yes that’s so true– one rating can cover so many different thoughts for the reviewer so you need to read the review to see why or why not to get a deeper understanding of everything!! It is quite complicated when you think about it! I agree ratings are useful but so much more so with the review as well!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! 🙂

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  10. I definitely agree with everything you’ve said! I’m a very opinionated person, so I probably started writing reviews for almost every book I’ve read a month or something after joining Goodreads. Ratings do depend on so many things! Maybe something that would knock a star off your rating isn’t something that would necessarily bother other people, so it’s really lovely letting people know particularly why you’d put a book in a certain category. Thanks for your lovely thoughts, Sophie! 🙂

    – Aimee @ Aimee, Always

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh.. I’m glad you agree with what I said!! Yes reviews are so good to get all your thoughts about a book across. And ratings do have many factors so reviews help to explain why it was said rating. And like you said– something that one reviewer didn’t like, doesn’t mean everyone won’t like it as well so it is could to explain the thought process behind a rating as it is most useful to the potential reader!! Aw.. you’re welcome– I think it is a interesting topic!! Thank you for your wonderful comment Aimee ❤ !!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t put star ratings on my blog, I don’t really have a reason for it, I just never have. But I do on goodreads & like you, I love the organisation it gives you!
    I don’t really let other people’s reviews or ratings change if I’ll read a book but they’ll definitely change my expectations & how quickly I’ll get to the book. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes star ratings aren’t for everyone and I think you should definitely do it on personal preference, not just because they are commonly used!! Yes goodreads has it right there for you so it is easy to use and the organisation is great!!
      That’s good that people reviews don’t change if you’ll read a book and sometimes having lower expectations can work quite well as it has a high chance of exceeding your expectations!! Thank you for the great comment!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes, yes, yes to this post, Sophie! I do agree that star ratings are basically a quick way of conveying your thoughts on a book. That is why I still use it now no matter how much I don’t think it is fair. Like you said, it really depends on preferred genre, your personal opinions, mindset while reading and so on. And I haven’t even defined my rating system on my blog yet because even I don’t know what it is. For me, two five star books aren’t really the same, but they still *feel* like five stars? idk if i’m making sense. Like there are some three star books that are really average to me, but The Bone Witch is a book I rated three stars but still really liked. In general, the rating system is just very flawed, and don’t even get me started on half stars, or .25 stars and the like. All I’m gonna say about that topic is that goodreads should really just give us our half stars no matter the fact that it will affect average ratings or whatever

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    1. Thank you so much Caitlin!! Yes I think they can give an overall brief opinion about your thoughts on the book so I do think they are useful!!
      But they do depend on so many things so people should remember this was seeing someone’s rating.
      Yes I didn’t do it straight anyway but then I got a rating system so I knew the difference in my head 😂 yes I know exactly what you mean– it is a feeling that 5 stars gives off but it isn’t the same for every book!!
      Yes the rating system is flawed I agree!! I really wish goodreads had half stars as well — I need them!! 😂 Thank you for your lovely comment Caitlin!! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great discussion, Sophie! I’ve always used star ratings automatically, it just feels right to me. Plus, when I read a review and I get to the bottom and there’s no rating, I start to feel a bit panicked, get sweaty palms, and frantically scroll up and down the page to see if I’ve missed it. LOL. It’s funny how disconcerted I am by reviews that don’t have an overall rating, despite the fact that they are completely subjective!

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    1. Thank you so much Becky!! 😊 Yes I am happy using star ratings– I love the organisation and it helps me consolidate my thoughts at the end of a review!!
      Yes I quite like them at the end of a review so I know the overall feelings!! Haha I love that!! 😂 I think it is good to know in the back of your head that they depend on so many things when seeing other people’s ratings though!! 😊
      Thank you for the lovely comment!! 💛

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  14. I had to click this post and read it as soon as I saw it on my reader… it’s so true! a star rating system is pretty amazing (and helps you organize your books !) butttt, it’s kind of meaningless without a review, because obviously you’re going to like / dislike a book for different reasons that are not all the same. plus, everyone has their own versions of star ratings.. I use goodreads’s, but I know many others who have their own system. love the discussion ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh.. I’m so glad– I think it is a really interesting topic and I have loved hearing everyone’s thoughts!!
      I’m glad you agree– I love the organisation they provide and find it a useful system!!! But you really need the review with it to understand more and get to see the explanation behind a rating. Yes you are right we all have different reasons for liking a book which is why a review is so useful.
      Yes I have seen other people’s rating system and I think they are really cool!!
      Thank you ❤ !!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ahh this is such an interesting discussion, I love it so much! I use star ratings because I like how they are… well, sort of a point of reference, in a way. Yet, they’re also SO complex and I feel like we can never really stop and judge something from a star rating only, because there are so many other elements and arguments coming into account to really express our thoughts on books, it can’t really just stop at stars ratings 🙂
    Great post!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Marie!! I think it is an interesting topic and I have loved hearing everyone’s thoughts!! ❤
      Yes I think star ratings get you thinking about how good this book was and how much you enjoyed it. But they're complex like you said as it depends on so many things so you can't take them on their own but should read this review to understand the reviewer's opinion– it really can't stop at star ratings I agree!!
      Thank you!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Me and my co-blogger were discussing this quite recently. We were trying to decide whether or not to keep star ratings or to go completely with just the princess rating system. We had the exact same thoughts and concepts. There are so many pros and cons to keeping them. They are easy to see and understand. I find myself scrolling through a review to see what kind of star rating I’m getting into. However, like with Goodreads, if I see a bunch of 1 star reviews, I’m usually exiting out of that tab so quick. It definitely leads me to give the book not as much of a chance had I read the reviews more intensely. Wonderful post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh really that’s so cool!! Ahh… I absolutely love your princess rating system– it is so unique I love it!!! There are pros and cons to them– they are quite complex really. They are so convenient and useful and I do like to see some kind of rating to get an idea of the overall thoughts on the book but I do think the review can be so much more helpful as it covers all the thoughts in depth. Yes seeing a low ratings does make you feel nervous about said book especially on goodreads as it has so many different people’s opinion. But if you are interested in the book I think you should give the book a chance as you never know!! Thank you so much!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Sophie!! ❤ And yes! Ratings definitely give you a nice way to easily figure out the overall feel, but without the rating, you really just let the review stand on its own. But for sure! I've definitely tried to look far more at the reviews to explain why for certain reasons instead of just that straight rating. 🙂

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  17. you explained it soooooo well and i related so much to your thoughts! i think reading the entire review is always important, and i disagree a lot on making decisions based solely on star ratings. i’ve seen other discussions going around of people who feel insecure of a diverse book two stars because they’re afraid others may think this is coming from a prejucided perspective, so let’s say, if i give a book with a LGBTQ+ character 2-stars, people may assume i’m homophobic. and i’ve always thought that’s kinda crazy, because how much do you know about a person’s interests and, moreover, their character, just by a star rating?? i don’t know if there were such instances in the bookish community before, but if it has, i legit hope these people come to read your post, because you put very well how ratings are just *a part* of the review and do not express our entire feelings about any book.
    thank you so much for sharing, sophie! amazing post! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh… I’m so glad you felt like it was explained well– I was worried I contradicted myself too much or something 😂 Yay I’m happy you can relate!!
      Yes reviews are so important as people get to explain their thoughts and opinions in depth!! I don’t think star ratings should be taken on their own at all!!
      Oh really– that does sound crazy as a star rating doesn’t cover everything like you said and they can be so many reasons why you don’t like a book. It is a shame if people feel like they can’t express their true thoughts because of what someone has said.
      Ahh.. thank you– I do think it is important for people to remember that star ratings are a short snapshot of the review and never capture all of a person’s thoughts!!
      Thank you so much Lais!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Ahhh this is such a great discussion post, Sophie! I personally like having a rating system because I want to separate the “Wow this was really great!” books from “This book was so good that it killed me” ones, and attaching numbers to them help me do that. But gosh, there are SO MANY instances where I spent more time trying to figure out which rating to give than writing the actual review. 😂 ALSO, I’m loving your new blog layout!!

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    1. Thank you so much Kathy!! Yes I’m the same as I love the organisation and I have them all grouped together so I know what each book means to me! I do love books that are so good they killed me 😂😂 I agree star ratings do let you group them really easily!! But the pain of deciding a star rating can be real! 😂
      Thank you so much– I was playing around with it and I couldn’t decide if I liked it so thank you for saying that– it makes me feel better!! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes they are hard!! 😂 I relate to that so much– I am such a procrastinator!! . 😂 It can always happen tomorrow instead of today!! I hope when you get around to doing the changes you want you enjoy it!! 😂
        I’ve left another comment instead of replying before as well!! 😂😂

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    1. Yes so true– each star rating a book receives is different in some way and like you said some are really close to another rating or you liked different things in each one but overall they have the same rating. Star ratings can really depend on so many things!!

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  19. I do use star ratings but I like it much better when you can rate it out of ten or give “half” stars. Sometimes a book is a bad three, sometimes it’s a really good three, but I can’t differentiate and it frustrates me 😅

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    1. Yes star ratings can be really useful!! 😊 Same I really like half ratings or out of 10 as it covers a wider range!! Books can have a the same rating but mean something quite different to me as a reader. It is hard as rating can’t show your whole opinion so I totally get that. That’s why review are so great at explaining your thoughts in detail!! 😊

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  20. I really like the star rating system, but I agree that most of the times a review is necessary. For me I think that 1 star and 5 star reads are pretty obvious on their own, even though my reasons might be unusual they get the message across clearly about whether or not I enjoyed a book. But 2, 3, and 4 stars are trickier because it’s the little things that cause me to give books lower ratings, which is why I think reviews are more necessary for those middle ratings.

    Great post though! It’s given me so much to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I personally like the star rating system as I find it so useful and easy but I can see why others might not like it.
      That is so true about what you said though– the 2,3 and 4 stars are the trickier ones as they are little reasons that affect the rating and aren’t so clear cut between each rating so there needs to be more explanation so that’s when the review is so useful. But it really is the little things which can influence a rating.
      Thank you so much– I think it is an interesting discussion and gives you plenty to think about!! 💛 Thank you for the comment!!

      Like

  21. I agree with what you’ve said here. I like using a star rating system but I definitely feel that the reviews are vital with them to explain why a particular rating was given. I also sometimes do exactly what you said and think ‘oh, that’s a shame’ when a book I’m excited for gets three stars. Even though it’s above average it just feels lower than that for some reason at times /:

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    1. I’m glad you agree with me– I think ratings are so useful and I will probably always use them but they are best taken in account with the review to get the full picture!!
      Yes three stars is a hard rating because it’s not bad but it’s not the most passionate either but the reviews can still be informative and you are right it does feel lower than average when it isn’t– I need to remember that!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I expect I will too as they’re a good starting point and base line for reviews. Yeah it’s three stars that can be kind of hard to judge without a review too because they seem to mean different things for different people. Plus it’s important to read the reviews because what makes it three stars for one person may appeal to another.

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        1. Yes they are really useful!!
          Yeah 3 stars have a different meaning for everyone so you do need the review to understand their thoughts properly. And so true, we all have different opinions so 3 star reviews might give you a reason to read it 😊

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