Hiya friends and welcome to Let’s Talk Bookish! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by me (Rukky @ Eternity Books), where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.
Today’s topic is: Star Ratings – Are they fair or necessary?
I’d like to say a quick thank you to Zoe @ Zoe’s Library for letting me use the topic after she wrote a post on it! I think that star ratings aren’t very fair and they aren’t necessary, but they are much easier, and help save some time in a world where we don’t have a lot of time.
When I’m browsing Goodreads, I mainly pay attention to what a person rated a book. I also then read the first few lines of the review to get an idea about how much the reader liked it, before deciding to check out the book further, or move on.
Ratings are important to me, because they give me a quick analysis of what the general consensus, or what a single reviewer thought of the book. It’s a way to summarize the book, but it isn’t entirely fair.
Some argue that books are like people, and that they are an extension of the author, and I agree. But they aren’t actual living breathing people, so I don’t think it’s really wrong to rate it. It’s a number that can help the author tell whether people liked it or not, without them having to go read actual reviews, some of which won’t be very nice. I wouldn’t rate a person by a number (it’s kind of impossible to do that…), but books aren’t people.
Everybody, at least maybe once in their lifetime, has rated a book x and a half stars. But Goodreads doesn’t have a half star system, and so we are stuck with rounding up or down (GR get to work on this feature please!!). That can change the overall rating of the book and make it look positive, while readers actually didn’t really like it, but they rounded up to 4 since they were stuck at 3.5.
Another reason why stars aren’t necessarily fair is because some people rate books that they haven’t read, which, again, skews the overall rating. It becomes even worse, and at that point you can’t even trust the overall rating, or the individual rating without reading the review, when a lot of people have deemed a book horrible and they are all giving it 1 stars without reading it.
Could we live without star ratings?
Yes, we sure can.
Would reviewing be different?
Defintiely, because now you have to read the whole review to know if the reader liked a book or not.
Should we get rid of the rating system?
At this moment, I don’t think so.
I agree, the rating system isn’t the fairest, and it probably can never describe how much a person loved or hated a book accurately, but it does save us time, and kind of helps, at least for me, when writing reviews, because it reminds you of what made me pick a 2, or 3.25, or 5. I also use the star rating based on it’s definition (1=did not like, 2=it was ok, 3=liked it, 4=really liked it, and 5=it was amazing) so to me, the number is just really an abbreviation for my feelings for the book.
Honestly, I think that if the rating system was to be scrapped, we’d just end up substituting some other figure or picture to represent our feelings and we’d be back to where we started.
This Week’s Participants:
What do you think about the star rating system? Do you think it’s fair? If we were to stop using it, do you think we’d just end up substituting some other symbol/number in it’s place? Do you sometimes rate books that you haven’t read? Why? Chat with me in the comments below!!