Rating Scale - Stay or Go?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I been think a lot about rating books and changing my rating scale.  Is it really fair to give a book a mark out of 5? Should the rating scale be broken down into categories (eg plot, characters, romance, writing style etc)? Should I get rid of it all together? 

When I read other people's reviews ratings only play a small part in whether I decide to read the book unless it is a low number.  I read a lot of high rated reviews so it all goes down to the content in the person review.  I think there is a big different between 4 and 5 and the rating in between.  And of course there is the books that you want to rate a 100 out of 5, you know those kind of books you would save if your house is on fire. 

So I am asking for your input.  Do you prefer reviews with a rating scale?  Would you like rating scales broken down into categories?  What do you do with your reviews?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

17 comments:

Kat said...

Hmm, well you know I changed my rating scale just today. My old one was very much like yours, and like you I just had a hard time deciding between a 3 and a 4, a 2 and a 3. Scoring a book out of 100 would never work for me, because I have third grade math skills. :)

I've been seeing some other bloggers break their ratings into categories and decided to base my new rating system off of that. In the end, you're right, it's the person's opinions and comments in their review that decide whether someone would decide to read the book. Great post, and I think you should just go with whatever rating system feels most natural. :)

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

I like having some sort of rating with reviews. Probably one with categories (character, plot, writing, etc) and then a total at the end (maybe with percentage). I'd love to change my rating system too, since it is a bit hard to rate a book exactly. Especially with 4-5 stars (and my in-between 4.5 doesn't make it THAT much easier). But then, you'll have to worry about each category as well!

It never ends. :P

brandileigh2003 said...

Totally what Cass said.

I do love it when a blogger has reviews broken down into categories, but I def settle for a general rating, just so I have a feel going into the review.

Small Review said...

I like having one overall rating and dislike it when reviewers don't use one.

A rating gives me a context or frame with which to view the review. Then I read the review and that's where the important information comes from.

I don't really care about breaking a rating down into different categories because, for me, that's what the written part of the review does.

Kylie said...

I'm not one much for ratings myself. I don't use them or take any notice of them. I'm more a kinda "you would like this if you like {insert author, genre or book title here} girl.

Misha said...

I have an overall rating system. It gives the readers an idea of how the book was overall. But I have been thinking about breaking down the ratings to different categories (for those readers who don't read the entire review and just want to know how the book was in the shortest possible way)

Braiden said...

I have been using the 5 star rating system and it just gets so annoying when you can't decide whether the book is worth a 4.5 or a 5. But I just go by instinct and the only deciding factor is if I wanted to keep reading and stop or im really liking it however i just need to take a break.

But yes the written review should highlight the goodness and discoveries or dislikes that the book has to offer, so that others can be swayed to read it or not read it.

YA Yeah Yeah said...

I'm not over-keen on ratings, I agree with Kylie that personally I prefer a 'if you like .... you'll enjoy this' approach.

Steph said...

I use the rating as an overall thought or judgement. I look at the rating and then read why you rated it that. I just like it to bounce off each other.

Lenni said...

Personally I do like ratings but if you don't like placing a number on a book (which I can understand completely) the more specific ones you were talking about like in catagories sound like a good idea.
I also agree with the commenters above about the 'if you like this book, you'll like this one aswell' I think thats a fantastic idea.
But this is your blog so do whatever you feel comfortable with :)

Jenny said...

I personally like my out of 5 rating scale because it helps me get to the point in my reviews if I have that bottom line to focus on. I always look at other bloggers' ratings before I read their reviews so I have that in mind as I'm reading, it just gives me something concrete to take away, and I know if there's a low rating from a blogger I trust and often share a similar opinion, then I'm going to stay away from that read.

That being said, I do sometimes have trouble assigning numbers to reviews because there's only so many numbers to assign and books are always so different:)

Annette said...

Funny, I just decided that I needed to do a rating scale, because it seems like everyone else does it. I'm interested in reading the comments you receive. I always read reviews - never skip ahead to the ratings - not sure they mean that much to me - I'd rather read specifically what the reader had to say, but I don't mind that people do them, and I don't have a problem assigning a number to a book. I really don't pay attention to specific ratings of character, plot, cover, etc. That's way too complicated for me.

Teddyree said...

I use an overall rating scale to 5 but with 1/2 stars as well because a great book is 4.5 stars but only the books I want to be buried with get a 5 :)

I like reviews to have an overall rating but personally I dont put much stock in specific ratings for plot, character etc ... way too structured for me. I really want to know how you felt about the book, not get a book analysis; but that's just me.

Nic @ Irresistible Reads said...

Thanks for all your comments! It seems most of you like reviews with rating scales or if you liked you would like this. So it appears rating scale is staying but I will break it down. Thank you again :)

Good Golly Miss Holly said...

Just today I was thinking about changing my 5 Star Rating into a more structured letter scale based on plot, characters, cover and writing style but I'm having trouble on what my other overall categories should be?

Lauren said...

Looks like I'm a little late to this one, but I definitely think it's a personal thing. I just can't do ratings myself, because it doesn't feel 'right' somehow. I felt mean giving anything less than three out of five, but if I didn't... the scale lost all meaning. I stopped using a rating scale a year ago and while that suits me better, it probably doesn't suit blog visitors who really like to have a rating. That said, I don't mind them on other people's blogs. I usually don't pay them much attention though - the content of the review interests me more.

Alexa said...

I'd rather read thoughts (and your thoughts are always interesting and well expressed!) but I don't hate ratings. I'm always surprised on goodreads though when something is give 2 stars and then has a great review - strange :)

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