Saturday, 29 January 2011

My Thoughts on Rating Systems- to rate or not to rate?

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about rating systems and whether I should use one for my blog. There are so many bloggers who use a numerical/alphabetical rating system often. accompanied by really pretty and creative graphics that are displayed in their sidebars for example flowers or cupcakes along with a description of what each rating means. I love those as they bring a lot of originality and uniqueness to a blog.

When I first started blogging, I decided not to develop a rating system as I thought it would be better to let my reviews speak for themselves and let my opinion shine through in my writing. This is partly because I am a  bad decision maker and also different types of books are  fantastic/not so fantastic for different reasons. There are action packed and exciting reads that might be a five star from me and then a beautiful descriptive book that made me think a lot might also get a five star but they are different in their own way.
However I know that sometimes people want to find out my thoughts on the book in a quick and easy way that helps them decide whether to read the book or not, especially if they are short on time so I implemented a verdict in bold at the end of the review summarising my thoughts. So far, that has worked pretty well for me.

From my perceptive when I read reviews, the rating doesn't really make that much of an impact on me but it is nice to see an opinion concreted more, especially as it can be hard to tell sometimes the difference between what would have been a four or five star review.

I'm thinking of introducing a rating system of either five star rating or a five star with half stars in between. The reason I'm leaning slightly towards a half star rating system is because lately I have been enjoying nearly all the books I've read (through some great recommendations from other blogger's reviews!) and I don't want all the ratings to end up being reasonably high. It all depends on what your perception of a low/high rating is. For some people, three means an average enjoyable read with a few issues but for me, it seems quite low. I'm not sure why but there are plenty of other books with five stars that are more likely to catch my attention.

You're my readers so I'd love to know your thoughts on rating systems and whether you would find one helpful here. I've added a poll below so it would be fantastic if you submitted an answer. I'm open to ideas and suggestions too- what do YOU think? Thank you!


  1. I have a rating system on my blog. I totally understand what you are saying, that you think your reviews speak for themselves. While I agree with you, I also think it helps to make it more clear.

    Happy Reading!

  2. I also have a rating system of my blog:
    1 - Hated it, couldn't finish
    2 - Didn't like it
    3 - Liked it
    4 - Loved it
    5 - Couldn't put it down

    I rate books purely on how I enjoyed them, I don't make it a PhD thesis trying to break down components of the book.

  3. Interesting, I've been considering whether I needed one or not! I wonder if review readers will more likely read a review with a terrific rating -and skip completely a review with a lower one? Thoughts?

  4. I prefer a rating system. I always read the review, but I like looking at the rating first to give me an idea of where the review is going to go.

    I use half stars and I find it much easier than if I only had whole stars.

    I understand what you mean about different books having the same rating but for different reasons. It seems kind of funny when I'll have a classic and a fluffy light read have the same rating, but I'm rating them within their genre.

  5. Thanks for stopping by and for the great comment! :) I do have a star rating system, I love my rating system because I feel it really speak for me and the review. It's a big statement in saying this is what I rate this book.

    I think it's kind of daring since authors and readers may have different opinions on it and may not always agree to what you have rated a book, which is why some may not prefer to use it. I think everyone has their own preference, you could always try it and see if it's working for you or not.

  6. I have a rating system but I use it mainly for myself. I tag my posts by score and then I can look back and see which books I have really loved. The score on other blogs doesn't influence me too much either.

  7. There are a few reasons that I prefer blogs have a rating system.

    1. sometimes I don't have a lot of time while I'm surfing through blogs to read the whole thing, and just want a general idea.

    2. I'm leaning towards a yes or no on a book, and just want confirmation. (or I've read a book and I'm curious if someone else liked/disliked it)

    3. Some people reveal too much of the plot in their reviews and a rating system gives me their view without spoiling the book.

    4. sometimes I read a review and still am unsure of just how much a person likes/dislikes a book. A rating system gives me a clear idea.

  8. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feedback everyone- they're really helpful!

    @Brandiheather Okay, it's useful to know that you think ratings make a review clearer. That would probably especiall ybe true of mine because they can sometimes be a bit rambly.

    @Manofla- Thanks for sharing your rating system, it's simple but effective and to the point! I completely agree about rating a book for enjoyment and thinking about it now, it would probably solve the genre dilemma.

    Bookspersonally- Hmmm, that's an interesting thought you've bought up. It never crossed my mind before. I suppose some people who are short of time might be more likely to read a higher rated review but I also like to read reviews with a lower rating of books that are on my radar to find out why it wasn't the book for them. Any more opinions on this topic???

    Small Review- I think that I might try the half star rating like you. Approaching rating books compared to their genre is a good idea and one I'll keep in mind.

    Blueicegal- You're welcome- I loved your post! I agree with you but it's always nice to have a diversity of opinions in the blogging world. Yes, I think I will try it for a while and see if it works out.

    Sam- That's a nice way of thinking about ratings and it gave me the idea that it might be useful for readers to find the five star review label to see which books I've loved best. That might work well on the review archve page too for easy reference.

    Sablexi- It's useful to know that :) I especially agree with 2 and 4 coming from the perspective of reading reviews.

  9. I voted yes. I think it's a good bottom line for your reviews to show in a nutshell what you felt. My system is letter grades (being a teacher, I thought it was approprite :):

    DNF= Did Not Finish, Don't Recommend
    D= Didn't Like, Don't Recommend
    C= Average, Just Okay, Maybe Try It
    B= Good, Enjoyable, Interesting, Recommend
    A= Very Good, Really Like, Highly Recommend
    A+= Excellent, A Favourite, Must-Read

  10. Although I have a rating system, it's quite hard!
    Some books are just fun and some are so beautiful, but I give them both A*'s because I enjoyed them both so much.
    However, I think a rating system is good as long as you give ratings for different areas [the writing style, the characters etc] rather than just an overall rating, unless you talk about each part in the review.
    Great discussion!

  11. I agree it's a tough decision including and then using a rating system but it helps me to decide whether it's worth considering a book when I see a rating on someone's review.

  12. I use a rating system when I'm keeping track of books on goodreads, but what strikes me is my lack of consistency. I'll give something a 5 because it was a fun read, but later I'll think it was not all that great compared to a book I rated 4. For me, the numbers are just too arbitrary. I prefer the desciptive reviews.

  13. Personally I like a rating system, just because it gives me a better idea of where the book falls in the reviewer's opinion. However, it can be difficult to peg down exactly what rating you want to give a book, so I definitely see your side of it as well! Sometimes I hem and haw about whether it should be 3.5 or 4 stars, etc. :)

    I use a half star rating system because I feel like it gives me a little more leeway and wiggle room in rating them. Like you say, I don't want all my ratings to end up overwhelmingly high all the time, because I don't *LOVE* all the books I read.

    3 stars for me is kind of a not-bad-but-not-great book, but for other bloggers it's better. I think the main thing is to make clear in the description what each of your ratings corresponds to.

    Anyway in the end, it's totally up to you (there are plenty of bloggers out there who don't use rating systems!), but if you're considering it then perhaps you could start rating them on a trial basis and see if it works for you?

  14. I used to have a rating system but due to some feedback for aspiring authors, I decided to take it down.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog


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