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.


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.

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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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