Rating Systems | The Bloggers in the Attic

Discussion_ChainThe Bloggers in the Attic is a discussion chain created by Camilla @ Reader in the Attic. She has put together a small group of bloggers who’ll discuss a common topic covering the whole month which allows for us all to share our unique experiences. Her hopes are that it’ll create a discussion space that could explore a normal topic for different areas of the world.

If you’re wanting to take part let Cam know. At the moment the Discussion Chain is taking part every two months so there is plenty of time for you to hop in!

April Theme

This month’s discussion topic is rating systems and all things related to them. You can follow all the posts on twitter using #DiscussionAttic, and #DAApril for this months topic specifically.


3rd – Clo @Book Dragons 247
5th – The Librarian @The Unseen Library
8th – Lauren @Northern Plunder {you are here}
12th – Isabelle @Bookwyrm Bites
15th – Ben @Books With Ben
18th – Nora @Paper Tea and Book Flowers
20th – Kerys @The Everlasting Library
22nd – Anthony @Keep Reading Forward
25th – Kal @Reader Voracious
27th – Susan @Novel Lives
29th – Rain @Book Dragonism

Above you can view everyone else’s discussion pieces on rating systems and how they feel towards them.

I believe we’re all very familiar with rating systems these days, mostly because I’m fairly certain most of my readers are book bloggers themselves or readers who will have ventured onto Goodreads once or twice.

You can’t really escape them.

I’ve been blogging for over 8 years now. I’ve seen a great amount of people have their “why I’m no longer using star ratings” blog post and most of the time I find myself agreeing with a few points yet here I am, still using them. Why?

I’m stuck in my ways.

Which feels totally weird to say given that I have a rating system that I very rarely look at it… I’d like to say that by now I just know it like the back of my hand but I don’t. In fact I just made myself laugh with my definition for 1 star: Not my cup of tea at all, ugh. Is this coffee?

I believe my main reason for still using them is simply because Goodreads has ingrained it in me. It’s almost like an instant reaction these days because it makes scrolling down my read shelf easier with a clear visual indicator of where the book landed for me.

The lack of .5 ratings are very frustrating on Goodreads. This is why I’ll use them a lot more freely on my blog posts to give a clearer indicator how I felt towards a book.

I think .5 ratings are very important to me because I’ll often find myself going to rate a book and then confirm my choice my comparing it to the last book I rated that way too, asking myself does it live up to that books quality? Did it provide me with the same amount of feels? Was it similar quality of entertainment? And having that option to change the rating by half, instead of a full star lets me indicate that it was that little bit more (or less) enjoyable!

But then there are times when you get a 5 star book and you feel like nothing can ever live up to that again and then its basically the end of the world as we know it. We’ll have to keep giving our fear to Sweet James and hope for the best.

So we’re just stuck again. Basically what I’m saying is that it’s not easy to pick ratings but I get there in the end through trial and error.

And that’s how simple it is.

If I’m noticing that my books rating can be influenced by previous books I’ve read then its very clear to see the way anyone rates a book is never going to be the same, or be held to the same standard. They don’t have a worldwide value of “What A Book Needs To Do To Earn A Star” so is it even worth it in the end?

I still want to say yes it is worth it. I think it gives me that moment to reflect on how I truly felt about it and provides a quick indicator for a reader on whether they want to read my full review of the book or not. Perhaps they trust my judgement enough (I’ve had some good compliments lately that people do trust my recommendations wowowow) that seeing a rating from me is enough to think hey I’ll pick that up.

I think what I’m truly getting at is that sometimes we don’t have the time to read a full review, sometimes we don’t like reading a full review (especially if its anticipated release) so to see that visual/numerical indicator of someones enjoyment is enough until you’re ready to read the review.

The only way I can really see rating systems improved is doing what I do and setting out your own definitions of what those numbers mean to you. And do what I dont and look back on them to use as guidance for how to rate a book.

Then only compare a book to a previous book as a guidance for its rating if you’re really struggling between two possible outcomes. Doing this every time will just end up being not very effective once you hit your Top Fave.

But these are all just my own opinions and 3am thoughts on trying to break down and analyse rating systems. At the end of the day just do what you want. (So long as you dont tag authors in those lower ratings)

I feel like I’ve fully explored this topic, walked around in 20 circles and come back to page 1 like yep its confusing, its dificult, but Imma do it anyway.

Whats your input on rating systems?
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25 thoughts on “Rating Systems | The Bloggers in the Attic”

  1. “The only way I can really see rating systems improved is doing what I do and setting out your own definitions of what those numbers mean to you. And do what I dont and look back on them to use as guidance for how to rate a book.”

    Some advice I (and others) should definitely heed. Great post

  2. I think the ratings is all about how you feel about it. We can’t rate it correctly cause there’s magnitude of ways to express our feelings about the pages we spent our time reading. I usually prefer the 5 rating system or the 1-10 too, but i am always update you cant add another point or make the number like 3.9 or 4.2 cause sometimes some books have good or bad flaws and a round number doesn’t always sums my opinion about it.

  3. Ratings can be tricky. For me a 5 star is I absolutely loved it, but I also find it hard to justify certain stars if I had some issues and then I feel bad and second guess myself, the circle continues

  4. I do follow a number system but sometimes it does get confusing for me to give an proper rating. The lack of .5 does tick me off too because a lot of books I read are that way.
    Really great post 😊💛

  5. I love this topic so much considering that I’ve been struggling with rating systems recently. I used to know immediately what I wanted to rate a book, but now I get really confused and on goodreads, i always change the star rating. I do agree that goodreads should let us do half stars—that would be such a miracle. And a book I recently read, I gave 3,5 stars to, but I honestly think that 3,75 would sum my feelings up way better. Basically, I don’t know how I feel about rating systems anymore, but I don’t want to abolish them because they do give a somewhat good summary of a reviewer’s feelings. Great discussion post, and it definitely made me ponder 💕

  6. Thank you for putting something I’ve been struggling to qualify with words into… well words. Lol… I’m stuck in my ways. What I need to decide is whether (,for me not you… these are my words lol) being stubborn about star ratings is worth sticking with it. Great thoughts… it is going to be a great discussion this month!

  7. I tend to rate books higher, and I realize I can’t help it because I just don’t feel like I should be able to persuade someone to read a book just because it wasn’t for me and then I think ‘well I’ll get rid of rating systems on my blog’ but…then I find I do like my ratings, just, people have to be mindful that I guess there’s not much I don’t enjoy reading lol. Also, can we talk about why people seem to think three stars is bad? Sometimes it is sometimes it’s just saying ‘that book was good, not great, but good’

  8. I definitely rate books based on enjoyment instead of value or merit which can be harsh. I am not too bothered by .5 stars, but I would prefer a larger scale, maybe 1-10.

  9. I don’t use a rating system on my blog, however, I have been contemplating it. For one, like you said, I don’t think many will have the time to read a full review or may be wary of being spoiled. Also, I think having a rating system will help me break down what I thought of each aspect of the book.

  10. Hi Lauren! This is a really interesting point of view for me to read about, seeing that I don’t give out ratings when I review books. I used to rate books once I started, but I stopped quickly afterwards because I felt like if people wanted to know my thoughts on a book, they can just read my entire post. I agree with you that ratings are a great way for people to get a general idea about your opinions on a book, though, and that Goodreads can definitely ingrain the idea of a rating system in someone.

    I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic! 😊

  11. “The only way I can really see rating systems improved is doing what I do and setting out your own definitions of what those numbers mean to you.” that quote really struck a cord with me because as someone who doesn’t write many reviews, I tend to get stuck in between one star and another when I do get the chance. But that’s why I created my One-Sentence Review segment on my blog to get into the groove of reviewing again, while not putting so much pressure on myself TO review.

  12. This is a really interesting topic to discuss! I personally tried to use a slightly different system and instead use the XXXX ratings from the Fantastic Beasts text book to tie in with my blog style but also to explain my ratings a bit better ( i hope anyway!).

  13. I definitely understand where a lot of people are coming from, with getting rid of a rating system. It is so difficult to have a system that is true and honest because I can read a book today and give it 5 stars or read it in a week and give it 3 stars. It all depends on the mood I am in when reading and/or rating. But for me, I think it would make life terribly difficult if we got rid of the system altogether. When I am thinking about buying a book, It is easier for me to find people who loved the book, hated the book, or felt so-so about the book through the rating system. It organizes the reviews better for me to see, and it helps me organize my thoughts about a book as well.
    I really loved reading this post! So insightful, and this is such an interesting topic.

  14. This is such an interesting post Lauren! For a while after reading my fave books (you know what) I wasn’t comparing every book to those which made it impossible to rate. Now I understand that there are so many layers to reviews and two books can be 5/5 and be totally different! I do still compare each read to my last when I’m struggling to rate it and .5 should definitely be a thing!

  15. I have been slightly struggling with rating. I find that often I need to include ratings like 3,75 because the book feels different from what another 3,5 or 4 stars feels like. Lately though I’ve been more “generous” with handing out lower ratings too. I think reviewers need to realise 3 stars is not a bad rating, it’s more like an average for me.

  16. I’m so bad at rating books. I do always think “well if I rated X book 5 stars, this one can’t be 5” and often end up going back to change book ratings in comparison to something I’ve read and preferred. I definitely think .5 ratings on Goodreads would be helpful!

  17. This is such an interesting post. I feel like I’m a little stuck in my ways and automatically rate books too. I understand the meaning behind them, especially on Goodreads as I suppose it does help others when choosing a book, but people’s individual rating can be so different. Some people are stricter with their rating and others more laid back. I try not to let Ratings affect me buying a book too much, unless of course the book is damaging or problematic etc. They’re handy to have but as a guideline and I tend to take them with a pinch of salt. 😊

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