[Confessions] 5-star rating Systems; why I more often than not have come to hate them

This is an article that’s been long overdue. I’ve been having a lot of conflicting thoughts on rating systems and the use of them for the past years, ever since I started writing reviews on books actually. And I could never really find the right words that explained how I truly felt and got across my message without coming across as rude or anything because that’s definitely not my goal here haha. I just find it a really interesting topic to to think and talk about, so I decided to finally give it a go and publish the article already.

| Rating Systems and my reverse thoughts on them|

Whether you use a 5-star rating system, a 1-10 rating system, symbols (you get the point)… We’re all familiar with them by now right? But more often than not I come across books I can’t really fit into a 5-star rating system (the one that’s being used on Goodreads and many other platforms for example) because to me, it’s really difficult to set boundaries as to what qualifies as a 1 star, 2 star, 3 star read and so on. Everyone decides where these boundaries lie for themselves, but I find, especially with the 5-star rating system on Goodreads for example, this system lacking more often then not.

| Why I most of the time don’t use a rating system in my reviews, on the blog, anymore |

I find it easier and more honest towards a book – no offense to everyone who likes using rating systems though, because I won’t stop using them entirely either and even so; no judgement from me, since I’ve used it for years as well. But this is just me spilling my thoughts on the matter as to how I feel about it at the moment – to not use any star-ratings (WHEN WRITING REVIEWS ON A BOOK), but to just talk about what I liked and didn’t like without adding a specific number/symbol to the book – I found myself constantly forgetting to add how many stars I rated a book in my review on the blog lately anyway, so subconsciously, I’ve gotten rid of the rating system already haha.

I understand why it’s being used on Goodreads and such, so that people can easily see how much a book is loved or isn’t loved by the community for example, but I don’t think it has any value persé in a written review because it’s the thoughts on a book that counts to me, no matter which rating it got. I just like to see the thoughts of a reviewer rather than them focusing on a certain number from a/their rating-system and then decided for myself if I want to read it or not. To me, seeing a specific rating isn’t really that important anymore to be honest.

I just often feel like there really isn’t a number/symbol you can use that explains how good or not good a book is as words do, I think. I just find it difficult to link a certain rating to my feelings and thoughts on a read – finding the words to put down my thoughts on it here is difficult as well so I apologize if this article is chaotic, lol. There are just so many gray areas in between when we look at the 5-star rating for example. A lot of people see a 3-star rating as something negative while for me it’s still a book I really enjoyed but one I had remarks on as well. And especially those books, I think, would fair better, in my opinion, when I just write reviews on them without adding that specific star-rating.

| But I can’t and won’t stop using rating-systems entirely either, and here’s why |

Forgetting about the rating system entirely? It’s impossible, I think. Especially when you want to let the world know on a large scale as to what you thought about a book, when you aren’t interested in writing a review about it. When you still want to let people know a bit as to how you felt when reading a book, rating a book is the only option then – when you don’t want to review one, which is totally okay as well of course – really.  Seeing the 5-star rating for example; you get a general idea of what people thought about a book because a 1 star rating is obvious of course; someone didn’t like it at all and a 5 star rating is obvious as well; someone really loved it a lot – I think my own problem with the rating system is mostly because I don’t only want a general view on what someone thought of a book, but I just like to see more specific thoughts and rating only full stars on GR for example, complicates things then haha. 

I definitely don’t write reviews on every book I read, so that’s when I’m in need of the rating system the most. I want to be able to track my read books and I want to be able to look back on my reading stats at the end of the year and by using platforms like Goodreads and using their rating-systems, that’s the best way to go about it I think. So I do keep rating them on Goodreads for example, even when I don’t add a star rating to my reviews on the blog anymore but seeing my own rating system on Goodreads is much easier since I know for myself as to what I count a 3-star read, a 4-star read, etc. It’s anticipating what other people really feel when rating a book a certain number, that’s the challenge I think haha. I wish giving half stars was an option on Goodreads, because then you could be a little bit more specific as to what way you’re swaying with certain books. I often find myself wanting to rate a book 3,5 stars for example, which means I’ll have to choose to pick a 3-star rating on GR or a 4-star rating and I hate doing that! Giving a 3,5 star rating is me being specific about how I feel about the book and I don’t like to ‘downgrade’ or ‘upgrade’ it to a 3 or 4-star rating then.

And I still continue rating books I review for authors and publishers on Netgalley as well, for example since it’s an inquiry. But then I also write a review so I can elaborate on it, so it’s a combination of both. But since publishers more often than not use quotes from reviewers instead of their ratings, I personally don’t see why they keep clinging to the rating system to be honest, when asking for reviews.

I understand the use of them on sites like Amazon and such so customers get to see in an instant if a book is loved or not. But this can also be a negative thing when a book gets a lot of negative ratings for example, which doesn’t mean the book is bad, since every reader experiences a book in his/her own way. But a lot of customers tend to, understandably, skip those negatively rated books and then it’s a downward spiral into a situation where this particular book gets a lot less love and attention from then on. So the rating system can be a good thing on retail websites but definitely a negative thing as well in my opinion – you can always choose to ignore ratings of course! I like to focus more on the synopsis of a book rather than on a rating when prowling for new books on Goodreads or retailer sites for example since I often have read books I really loved while their rating on GR or such wasn’t that great. I’m a firm believer of finding out for yourself if you like it or not, regardless of a rating and that’s also why I’d rather read reviews in which I don’t come across specific ratings but just the thoughts of someone on a book without adding those numbers, you know?

| Your Opinion |

I think this is quite an interesting topic to discuss with other readers and reviewers out there. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you feel about rating-systems? Do you love using them or do you prefer to review/talk about books without using them and why?

Thanks for reading!


One Comment

  • Annabel

    I agree I find it very hard to have boundaries for this as well. If I love a book I want to give it five stars because people look at that. But there is a difference between loving a book and LOVING a book. And you can’t out that into stars or any other rating.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge
%d bloggers like this:

Cookies Policy: Melissa's Fandom World uses cookies on this website and the Melissa's Fandom World mobile application (the "Service"). By using the Service, you consent to the use of cookies. More information

Cookies Policy: Melissa's Fandom World uses cookies on this website and the Melissa's Fandom World mobile application (the "Service"). By using the Service, you consent to the use of cookies.