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.
*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.
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?