Rating Books…How Do You Do It?

When I first started blogging I gave books I reviewed a rating out of five. I’d been giving books a star rating on other sites and so just carried this on. But I found a 1-5 rating limiting. Sometimes there’d be just something stopping a book being 4 stars for example but 3 stars seemed too low, and so I introduced .5 rating too.

But I still struggled with this. What if I gave five stars to a book, then read something I loved EVEN more…how could I show this in my rating system? I also wondered about peoples perception of a rating. Three to me is good, I liked it and two would be an ok read. but do others think the same? It doesn’t seem to be universal to me. I barely ever give 1 star, mainly because I’m the type of reader who just can’t force myself to finish a book I’m not enjoying.

So I stopped rating at all and decided that by saying what I liked and didn’t like in a review a possible reader could decide themselves whether it was something they’d want to read. After all, something that would cause a book to drop a star for me may not be an issue for someone else. Obviously on sites like Goodreads and Amazon I still have to give a rating out of five but I really struggle with this sometimes and can swap between two ratings a few times before deciding on one.

But what do you think? Do you think it’s necessary to give a book some kind of rating? As a review reader do you prefer seeing a mark out of five? If you do use a rating system how do you decide on the criteria for each mark?

Just wondering!

21 thoughts on “Rating Books…How Do You Do It?

  1. I'm with you on the not rating. I think it is really hard to give a rating to a book as reading is so subjective, you might like something I would hate.
    Giving a detailed review without spoilers is a far better way for someone to decided if that book would be of interest to them 😀


  2. I give books a rating from one to five. I used to do star ratings, but now I just use numbers. I also give half ratings. I guess when I started blogging, I just continued giving ratings as I was used to doing it on Amazon etc. However, I've also been wondering if my reviews would work better without ratings. Often I find that when I give books a medium to low rating, people just avoid the review – they see that the rating is not great, and move on, whereas a lot of books that I've given four and five stars get lots of comments. Maybe people are more comfortable commenting on wholly positive reviews? I don't know.

    I've also spotted a lot of blogs which only write positive reviews and give everything five stars, and maybe it's easier to do it that way, but it's not the way I want to go.

    I'll be interested to see what answers you get!


  3. I like to see ratings. Obviously I write my reviews based on what I think, not anyone else so I dont think about that when I give a rating. To be honest though, I dont pay that much attention to them, I more take into account what has been written and if I think I would like it.

    My rating system is quite simple though. Basically:

    Heaven = Overall good
    Purgatory = Indifferent/ didn't thoroughly enjoy it
    Hell = I just didn't like it


  4. To reply to Leanna's comment…A lot of my reviews do go into Heaven. This year Ive read so many books that were recommendations from people who know what I like so I really haven't read a book that I hated.

    I put my rating at the bottoms of reviews though so that it might not influence whether or not people read it.


  5. @ Asamum that's exactly what I think

    @ Leanna That's interesting. One reason I stopped rating was incase by just glancing at the rate I was just giving the same one over and over. Hopefully if people read my reviews they can see what I liked or didn't like that way rather than be influenced by a mark out of five

    @Fiction_Fan I agree with leanna, I love your system…it's quite broad too and not as limiting as out of five (or ten)


  6. Well argued Rhiana! I rate out of 5 without the .5, so I know how indecisive it gets sometimes. The reason I prefer ratings is because it's really just a gauge on how the person liked it, as supported by the review. It also makes it easier when you cross link your review to goodreads/amazon/waterstones etc. As a reviewer the difficulty is finding that precise rating, considering others books in the same star/rating. But I don't think readers cross-reference like that. They just look at the rating per se. Because each review is different, the strength of the book is what makes it a four star, a five star, etc. For instance, I rated forgive my fins a four because I found it endearing, innovative and fresh. Rules of Attraction I also rated a four, because it so funny and deals with real issues. Of course, I'll choose RoA over Forgive My Fins if asked, but I can't rate RoA a 4.5 because in itself it's is just a 4 star book. So in total, review+rating is I prefer. I find it hard to gauge what you really think about a book without a rating because a review is balanced and that makes it indecisive. I kind of look for that one strength that sways the book to a 4 star rather than a 3 star, etc. The rating should be able to indicate that so the review becomes easier.

    So there, sorry if I sound super ridiculous, I just blurt out whatever I thought! >.<


  7. @ Dwayne definitely not ridiculous and a very valid point! I guess I try and write a good conclusion paragraph to address that issue and sum up whether the negatives I may have found are outweighed by the positives.


  8. I used to struggle with rating a book I read too. I now rate books on where or if I would buy them, new or used, borrow from the library etc. I still give a book 1-5 stars with a half a star thrown in though….
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Fantabulous Read! Loved it! Buy this book NOW! One to Own!

    ★ ★ ★ ★ = Great Read! So Glad I picked this one to read! Not a Keeper though.

    ★ ★ ★ = OK Read. Neither liked it a lot nor hated it. Get this one at a Used Book Store. Don't Pay Full Price.

    ★ ★ = Not quite enjoyable but not completely horrible either. If you have to read this book definitely borrow it.

    ★ = UGH! Why did I finish this book? Don't bother!


  9. I don't do ratings on my own blog, but I do give ratings when I review for FanLit. I can see pros and cons for both methods. The rating thing does become quite arbitrary and you can find yourself giving four stars to a book that isn't comparable to another book you gave four stars to. It can be very limiting. And y'know, some books just don't fit – you might not have liked it, but you know others will *love* it. In which case, what rating do you give that sort of book? The book where you suffered from lack of “fit”?

    However, where reviews do have a rating I find myself skipping to see what it is to see whether it matches my perception of the novel, so it is a good quick judgement about a novel. And in this day and age, where concentration is less, reviews with ratings tend to get more love and responses than those without, in my experience. It is easier for people to associate with a rating than with a big block of text.

    So, I'm sort of on the fence. But I don't want to introduce them on my blog right now, just because I would find it so hard to classify all the books I read.


  10. I've increasingly stopped giving ratings, and it's making me happy. Ratings are just too short and simplistic a summary of what I think of a book, or something like that… 🙂
    I still give 5 stars to my favourite books, but I don't tend to rate others.


  11. right now i like my rating, one – six stars, i think rating really expresses your thoughts on a book, it can get complicated at times and you might eventually decide ratings aren't for you, like recently i gave my first ever six star rating, that expresses that this book is rare, one of a kind etc, so in that way rating can really express you , its a matter of preference really =)


  12. This is why I don't have a rating systems on my blog. I prefer to give a detailed description and have the reader make up their own mind if they want to read the book or not. Ratings are too subjective in my opinion.


  13. I give ratings on a retail website and have a hard time with it. Often I find I'll give two totally different books the same rating because that is how I felt about both of them. But I know that one person may like one of them and not the other because of the topic, writing style, emotion, etc., and I often feel like I may be leading someone to a book they didn't like.

    I don't give ratings on my blog. I would rather write about the positives and negatives, the style of the book, who I think would really enjoy the book, why I think people may not enjoy the book so that people can know exactly what they are getting into before they read the book and make up their mind based on that.

    I don't see anything wrong with giving ratings if a reviewer wants to but they definitely need to back up their reasoning for it. Most book bloggers do but I have come across a few reviews that really don't give much explanation other and that's frustrating.


  14. 4 are really good books but sort of had one or so issues, 3 is actually average satisfing but not spectacular 2 is bland and not really recommended and 1 yuk did not like or finish. I haven't found too many Yuks or blands for that matter, but that is because I know my tastes and stick with what I like.

    As to doing away with your rating system, your reviews are so well though out and detailed it would be hard not to know how good or bad a book is, so if you do away with your rating system I doubt it would make a huge difference.


  15. I like ratings, just so I can get a quick glance to see whether it's a good book, a bad book or an in-the-middle kind of book and it also helps sum up whether it is worth buying or not, particularly with reviews that are too balanced and don't really give a proper choice as to whether it was good or not!

    However, I can totally see how non-rating would work on your reviews because your reviews are thorough enough that I can easily decide if it's my thing or not!

    I must admit, I do find rating things difficult but I think I'd find it harder to not rate!


  16. I also prefer ratings, b/c a lot of the time I don't have time to read entire reviews. But I can get a good idea of a book based on it's rating. As long as there's an explanation of the rating system, and reasons behind said rating – then I prefer that.


  17. I'm with you on not doing ratings. I don't mind seeing them, but to me it's more about the content of the review. You might give something a 4 and it might mean something totally different to me than to you. But if you write what you liked and didn't like I'll have a better idea if it's for me or not. You might not have liked something that works really well for me and vice versa.


  18. I like both – just reviews or reviews and ratings – but I tend to pay more attention to what is written in the review than the rating. The ratings just give me a sense of what the reviewer thinks of the book – but it only really means something for me if I visit their blog regulary and have an idea of what they like/dislike etc.

    For some reason I don't have a problem rating books for my reviews. I do it more for me I think though – and I think of ratings a bit like grades where anything over a certain percentage equals that grade. So for example if anything over 70% percent was an A that you would still have a A if you got 70% or 100% but obviously the 100% is better! So for me if I give 3.5 stars it's more of a category I'm putting the book into – so I can like one more than the other but it still fits in that category overall.

    Okay I have no idea if ANY of that make sense!

    I think it's best to do whatever works best for you:)


  19. I don't like ratings. I don't even like seeing ratings on blogs. Mostly because if I see a book with a rating of three stars, then I think 'why bother reading the review or the book now if it's only so-so?' That sort of thing.


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