21 January 2013

To rate, or not to rate?

Some of my fellow bloggers have decided not to give ratings on their reviews anymore, and so it is an issue I have been giving some thought to.
I really don't know which way to go.

I now have over 650 reviews on my blog and have been concerned for some time that my ratings generally range between 4 and 5.

For example so far this month I've read 10 books and the ratings look like this
With the ratings I can roughly rank the books, but I'd like you to tell me whether they actually mean anything to you.
I'm not at all sure there is very much difference between a 4.5 and 4.6 for example. It is still a subjective judgement affected by factors that I probably don't mention in the review (a bit like marking an essay - you'll know what I mean if you are a teacher)

In my own Guidelines I have said my rating are
5.0 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.0 Average
2.0 Poor
1.0 Did Not Like
0 Did Not Finish

Let me know what you think about what you would like to see by leaving a comment and participating in the poll in the right hand margin.

In my most recent review of COLD GRAVE by Australian author Kathryn Fox I have deliberately not given a rating. Read the review if you will, and let me know if you think it means less without the rating.

13 comments:

Tanya Patrice said...

I've never used ratings for my book discussions, but I do leave it on Goodreads. It doesn't matter to me whether a blogger rates their review or not - but if they don;t, I would like to know in the first few sentences whether they liked a book or not.

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I know just what you mean about ratings and how difficult they can be. The difference between a 4.5 and a 4.6 might not seem like much but I do appreciate knowing that you think a book is worth something like a 4.5/6 as opposed to a 3.7. That gives me useful information when I'm deciding what to read. I'm fine with your excellent review either way, though, to be honest.

Susan said...

I like your ratings - the .7 or .3 or whatever I do read as saying it's good, but not perfect. I find that interesting and helpful. I use ratings sometimes in my reviews, mostly to help me know how much I liked a book. I am aware that often I like a book very much even with its flaws.

I think it's really up to you, and what you are comfortable with, Kerrie. As you say, you read so many good mysteries, it's a way of discerning which you think are the best, versus the very good, for yourself too.

TracyK said...

This is a good question, and one I have considered myself. I have been blogging less than a year, and I have never rated books (except when I put them on Goodreads). I use the ratings on Goodreads to decide the top books for the month or the year more easily.

One reason I hesitate to rate is that sometimes my opinion changes over the next month or so, if I give it more thought. Not a great deal, but maybe up or down a half a star (if they had such at Goodreads).

I like your rating system and it seems good to continue it to be consistent. But I usually use comments in your reviews as cues for whether I will enjoy the book.

Bev Hankins said...

Ratings are useful, but not absolutely necessary. I like to use ratings for my personal benefit--because I know exactly what I mean if I give a 4.5 instead of a flat 4 or 5. Other people's ratings are useful too--if they make their choices clear. But if a blogger can convey what was good or not without a rating and that's what is comfortable for them, then I'm not hung up on knowing if they would have rated the book a 3 or a 4 or something in between.

Rob Kitchin said...

I just readjust your ratings in my head as I don't believe you think that just about every book you read is between 4 (very good) and 5 (excellent). For me, your 4s are really 3s! As for the .1 differentiations, I think that's the only way you can differentiate if you mark everything on a scale of 4 to 5. I've no problem with scoring as a whole; it gives the reader a relative sense of how you viewed the book.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

This is something I've been thinking about too. I'm not bothered about the precise difference between a 4.1 and a 4.2 for instance (and I'm not that precise in my own ratings) but as long as I can tell from a review whether you think it was good or not that's all I really need.

For myself, I've decided not to give ratings on my blog because I'm too inconsistent - recently I've been going through my books listed on Goodreads, which has highlighted how much I can vary in my ratings - not very helpful! And like you I've rated most of my books between 4 and 5 and noticed that I'm giving far less 5s than before.

Marg said...

Over the years I have been blogging I have gone back and forward on the ratings question. Some times I want them and other times I don't. At the moment I am using them because I do find it useful to just get a glance of what the blogger thought of it, especially if I am being wary of spoilers.


Ask me again in 3 months and there might be a different answer though.

Violette Severin said...

I have never used ratings but on a few reviews that I have written they would have been helpful. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether a book is great or just good.

Kathy D. said...

I fall on the side of ratings. It helps me figure out how much I want to pursue reading a book.

Although I read a review in its entirety, I do find the numerical ratings a help.

I am dismayed to see some bloggers have eliminated the ratings. If I read an ambivalent review with pluses and minuses, I end up not knowing whether I should find the book or not. IF it's a 3, I would probably forego it. If it's a 4, I put it on my TBR list up through a 4.4 If it's a 4.5 or higher, I actively look for it.

col2910 said...

I think ratings are a good indication for both yourself looking back and others who might be looking for pointers.

I just grade from 1 to 5 on my blog, though there are times when I might think something is more of a 3.5 than a 3 or a 4.

Can't see how you can narrow it down so incrementally to tenths though.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This has been my problem with rating movies. Almost all the movies I see would rank between a 7 and a 9. Does it make sense to rank them then? I doubt it.

Blodeuedd said...

Found this post on another blog so had to come on over :)

I do not rate. Why? Well I give most book 3s, I would never give a book a 5 anymore. And most seem to think 3 means bad, no, it means it was good. I also have the problem that I can give a 3 to a book that I really want more of. And then to a book that was good, but maybe not buy the next book worthy. That is why I will not confuse my readers with ratings. If they can't see if the book is good from my review then they did not read it

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