While I was snacking on some hard-boiled eggs this afternoon (which are 100% the best snack), I was reading some of the WordPress blogs that I follow and came across Books on the Brain and specifically the Let’s Talk Bookish post about star ratings.
Today’s question is:
Star ratings: are they fair or necessary?
Star ratings are definitely necessary for readers. While people rate books based on a variety of factors, the star rating, such as those on Goodreads or Amazon, is a quick way for people to get an idea of books that are highly regarded versus those that are not.
Are they fair? Absolutely not. There’s not much in the world that is fair.
It’s unlikely that there will ever be a rating system for anything that is truly fair because people will always have different ideas of what features of a product should be rated.
The book community is a perfect example of this. For this blog, I rate books from 1-5 stars, with half ratings. I base my rating on factors such as my enjoyment of the book, plot and pacing, character development, and writing style. However, other people might base their star rating purely on how much fun they had while reading it. There are people who rate books based purely on plot, regardless of how it’s written. None of these methods are right or wrong; it’s up to each person to choose why they want to rate a book the way they do. There’s never going to be a consensus on how books should be rated, and, as such, the star rating is the imperfectly perfect way to rate books.
One thing that this question made me want to talk about is when you should or shouldn’t rate a book. It’s a little bit off-topic from the main question, but it’s so important on websites like Goodreads.
Something I’ve noticed only since joining the book community as a reviewer and blogger is that there is a group of people who will rate books before they read it. This isn’t fair to the book or to the book community. Rating a book 1 star because you don’t like the author or giving it 5 stars because you enjoyed the last book this author wrote doesn’t do anyone any good and it skews the real ratings. Please, stop doing this.
How do you feel about star ratings? Let me know in the comments and head over to Eternity Books to do the same and see their opinions!