Rating Systems (The Bloggers In The Attic)

Whether it’s for a film, a TV show, a product or in our case a book, rating systems are used to give potential buyers an insight onto that particular product. In our case as book bloggers, we’ll primarily be showcasing a rating system for books, some of us may also have one for on screen media etc. However since everyone’s rating system is different, how important are ratings on our reviews? Today I’ll be sharing my two pence on this topic, along with why I plan to change my own rating system on the blog.

I have used the star system on my blog since the beginning, last year I posted My Rating System Breakdown and whilst that totally still stands for how I rate books. I’m no longer happy using this system on my blog, I’ll use it for Goodreads since there’s no work around. On my blog though, my blog, my rules so to speak. Before I dive on into why I want to change my rating system. Let’s talk about how important star ratings are, what they mean and who realistically they’re for.

Welcome to second post in The Bloggers in the Attic discussion chain series. This was created by Camilla @ Reader In The Attic. More information, along with the other participants can be found below.

Wait, what’s a Discussion Chain?

The Bloggers in the Attic is a discussion chain. And what is a discussion chain? Well, it’s pretty simple and with few steps.

Cami and other eleven bloggers united together to discuss a common topic, covering the whole arc of February, and sharing our unique perspective. Cami created the initiative with the wish to create a discussion space that could explore a normal topic for different part of the world.

This post is part of the Bloggers in the Attic discussion chain. It’s a day late and I hold my hands up to that, I’m sorry, I wrote this post out once. Reread it and hated it, so here I am rewriting it for you all.

Importance of Star Ratings

I personally just love stars. The graphics are cute and I enjoy making star graphics however when I read other people’s reviews, unless I know their book taste is similar to mine or we have similar rating systems. I either discard their ratings or take it with a pinch of salt.

The more I think about star ratings, particularly for books, the more I believe they’re importance is entangled for the publishers and authors. Whilst us as readers may find star ratings helpful, I’d rather hear how someone found the book then what they rated it. The system we actually use to rate books, at it’s core is this 5 stars is the best quality, 1 star is the worst quality.

Yet…none of us having a rating system quite that simple. Our systems have evolved, we consider things such as world building, character development, plot line, the actual writing and much more. But…a rating can’t tell someone if the book represents a minority they’re part of. Nor can it tell you if there’s potentially triggering content.

Ratings undoubtedly have their place in the book world, they’re an easy way for publishers, authors, agents to see how books are doing from a collective group of voices. That’d be everyone who leaves a rating. Not everyone who leaves a rating, leaves a review though. Reviews are probably more important than the rating themselves, if you ask me. Why? Well…

Reviews Influence Me More Than A Bunch Of Stars

As much as I love stars, they’re literally just stars. Words have so much more power than 4 stars to me, whether you think you suck as a reviewer or not, trust me your reviews have the power to influence someone to buy or avoid a book. We’re in a position of trust, which is why whenever I shared negative reviews, I ensured I reminded people to try it if it appealed to them.

We’re not all going to enjoy the same books to the same degree, there’ll be overlap sometimes, but we all have the freedom to love and dislike the books we want to. In the same vain, whilst I may not let star ratings sway me that much with books I buy/read. It’s totally ok if they sway you, as I said at the start, ratings are still important. Whether they’re as important as they’re seemingly hyped up to be, is another matter.

spring mug divide

*throws the stars to Goodreads and leaves them there*

So I’ve been thinking about getting rid of reviews completely from my blog for a while now. Before you all panic, no I’m not totally getting rid of them. I mean Id need to write some first to be able to get rid of them

I’ve always struggled with finding my groove within review writing, particularly with how to express my thought coherently. It was more than just writing the review though, I began to felt pressured to write reviews for all the books I read, gradually it drained the fun out of reading. We’ve created this culture of expecting book reviews on a book blog. Here’s the thing though, my blog is my space and its taken me this long to realise that as much as I can enjoy writing a review. I do not enjoy writing them solely for my blog. I’d rather post them on Goodreads, utilise that platform for its intended purpose, then if I want to I can cross post them to my blog.

This led me to think about how I want to rate books from now on my blog. No I haven’t a clue how yet, I just know I’m leaving the stars for Goodreads, and other sites where they have much more meaning than on my blog. If I write a review, I want it to not only help me, but also help the person reading it decide if they want to read it.

Rating systems are far from simple when you really look into them, how one system can be so different from person to person. Stars hold an important place in many industries, I’m just not totally convinced they hold an important place on our blogs. If they did…then a review wouldn’t be written, it’d be a book cover, synopsis and a rating.

All Participants

4th – Me!

5th – The Librarian @ The Unseen Library

8th – Lauren @ Northen Plunder

12th – Isabelle @ Bookwyrm Bites

15th – Ben @ Books With Ben

18th – Nora @ Papertea and Flowers

20th – Kerys @ The Everlastin Library

22nd – Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward

25th – Kal @ Reader Voracious

27th – Susan @ Novel Lives

29th  – Rain @ bookdragonism

Ok loves, let me know your thoughts on this. What are star ratings to you? Do they hold an important place in your reviewing system? Do you use stars or something else? Lastly, if you were to improve the rating system on any platform, your blog, Goodreads etc how would you improve it?


25 thoughts on “Rating Systems (The Bloggers In The Attic)

  1. I’ve never put star ratings on my blogs, when I review I try to represent something good & something bad about the book, how you know I like it or not is in the tone of my writing or the imbalance of good/bad. I totally agree that words are wayyyyy more useful! And when I read other’s reviews I literally don’t look at their stars at all because it just doesn’t mean anything to me. Great post 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved seeing your thoughts on this! As I’ve started to write more reviews, I have been questioning the five star rating as often I feel it isn’t enough to convey my thoughts accurately. I haven’t even been using half points as I use the Goodreads system, so I struggle to choose between a 2 and 3 or 3 and 4. While I won’t be making any changes to my blog yet, I’ve been wanting to do research on the methods other bloggers use.

    I do find myself depending heavily on ratings to sway me when I have a lot of books I’m looking through to add to my TBR, but I see the issues with this and you pointed them out well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooo see I can’t decide whether I should keep my half stars on Goodreads (I just say in the review the actual rating and round up or down accordingly) or whether to use the system without half stars. Problem is, I love my half star system a lot.

      Thanks so much for reading lovely ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve put into words exactly what I feel! A person might give a book a higher star because of the world or the pacing of the book but another might not like the way it was set out or how it was paced.Each person would have a different basis to rate the book on. I don’t know if I’m making any sense. The thoughts on a book are better expressed as words rather than star ratings. I always find it hard to rate books because of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always fluctuated with stars and completely abandoning it except for on Goodreads (so basically a review on the blog but no rating, and then the rating will just be on Goodreads) because 1-5 mean different things for different people. Plus as times change, thoughts change as well. 1 Star for me was considered AWFUL when I first started and 5 Star was GREAT. Now 1 Star is reserved for Awful, probably a DNF, or so bad it goes into the fuck it bucket (depends on the book). 5 Star is now rare for me – EVERYTHING about the book has to be completely perfect, no exceptions made, LOL.

    Plus without having star ratings, it’s so much easier to write reviews because I feel I have to write a certain vibe if you know what I mean?

    Liked by 1 person

    • MOOD. I know what you mean, a rating kinda makes you feel like you need to put a certain “spin on it” because people expect a certain vibe from certain ratings but like…we all have slight variations on the system soooo

      Yeah I get that, our ratings evolve with us which can make things awkward later on xD


  5. A great post! I never use star ratings on my blogs, and in the chance I post a review on Goodreads, I never click the stars. I’m actually so bitter about the star rating system 🙈 because it’s so subjective. I’ve read reviews in which people say they hated the book but gave it three stars; reviews in which people say they couldn’t connect with the characters so they knocked the rating down a star; and some reviewers give every book they love five stars, even if they point out flaws with the book in a review. If anything, the rating system should be limited to three stars…but I digress.

    And as for the pressures of posting book reviews on our book blogs – I feel you! Your line “I mean I’d need to write some first to be able to get rid of them” made me chuckle because I am so slack when it comes to writing reviews on my blog – so I can relate to that sentiment. I don’t typically write reviews for books I pick up outside of review requests and NetGalley approvals, basically because of time – I just don’t have time to adequately review every book I read. This has allowed me to explore other ways to write about books and bookish topics in the blogosphere, like reading through the complete collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, sharing some of the books on my bookshelf every month, doing tags, and writing long comments on other bloggers’ posts. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with a lot of what you say here, particularly about the predominant the issue with the predominant 1-5 rating system being used differently by different people. It needs to be supported by an actual review. Context is key!

    btw. Don’t know why my post commented on here twice. Sorry

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, this post made me think SO MUCH about a topic I wasn’t expecting would make me think that much? I feel like star ratings are just our default in the book world, but reading your thoughts, I’m realizing how ineffective that system really is.

    Like you said, I definitely rely more on book reviews than ratings when it comes to deciding if I’d like to read a book. Very often, someone will rate something really low, but when I read their review, I realize those things wouldn’t really bother me. I definitely feel compelled to write at least some type of review for every book I read.

    Lately I’ve been in a reviewing slump though (maybe because I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump where I don’t feel like I’m enjoying my reading as much as I’d like). I try to post one full review per week on my blog, mostly for books I’m really passionate about, but then for every other book I read I just slap up a mini-review on goodreads. But I definitely think I put too much pressure on myself to write AMAZING REVIEWS when in reality, even just a few sentences would suffice. And like you said, our blogs are OUR space, no one else’s. We can do what we want!


  8. Star ratings are certainly a default when it comes to reviews. I’ve personally never used stars on my blog because it can be very inconsistent, and I think the words are more important. I use them occasionally on Goodreads (if I feel strongly about a book).


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