Yes, I’m bringing it up again. Although I may be beating a dead horse here I think that we as book bloggers need to be more cognizant of the star ratings we use.
Personally, I have my own take on star ratings which is my own personal view that I have shared here.
But, we bookbloggers hand out star ratings on various sites as is required as part of being a bookblogger. Reading is a personal and subjective experience, and what appeals to one may not please another.
I’ve recently encountered a circumstance where I rated a book with 3 stars. On Goodreads, 3 stars means “I liked it”. On NetGalley 3 stars means you would ‘maybe recommend’. HOWEVER… on Amazon 3 stars is viewed as a negative review!
As responsible book bloggers we need to adjust our ratings to accurately reflect how we felt about the book. Sometimes I give the SAME book different ratings on different sites. For instance I can give 3 stars on Goodreads (I liked it), 4 stars on NetGalley (Yes, I recommend) and 4 stars on Amazon (you liked it but had at least one issue with it)
Amazon is a bit scary to me. They use algorithms. A newer review will be given more ‘weight’ than an older review. A review of a verified purchase is given more ‘weight’ than one which is not. There has also been talk of 5 star ratings being bought, which is corrupt and puts a whole new spin on the matter.
I just don’t understand why stars can’t mean the same thing across the sites. This is especially ironic as Goodreads is owned by Amazon!
Here is one explanation of Amazon star ratings.
From this website, I garnered the following explanations of Amazon’s reviews:
5 stars is an A, A-, or even a B+. This means you enjoyed the book. It fulfilled the measure of its creation. The 5-star novel was enjoyable, didn’t have any major plot holes, and the writing was good enough that you’d recommend it as a nice read. Five stars doesn’t mean the book has to be the best you’ve ever read, or even better than the last one you reviewed. It just has to be a good novel.
4 stars is a B, B-, or even a C+ novel. The 4-star rating is for novels that you liked but had at least one issue with. A plot hole that disturbed your reading enough that you didn’t enjoy the overall story. Maybe a few too many typos. Too much repetition. But you still found the story compelling enough to read in a short time and you enjoyed it. The novel doesn’t have to be the best one you’ve read in the genre, it just has to hold your attention.
3 stars is a C or a C-. So only average or NEUTRAL. You neither liked it or disliked it. This really is the kiss of death rating. The “okay” novel. If you give a novel this rating, there should be SERIOUS issues because, remember, many advertisers won’t accept novels with this overall rating. So the 3-star novel should be one you didn’t feel compelled to finish, or one whose overall plot didn’t quite make sense (and you feel wouldn’t make sense to others). This is a novel that you wouldn’t recommend unless it was the only thing someone had to read and they were stuck in an airport for two hours.
2 stars is a D or a D-. This is a novel that has at least three major negative issues and you feel these issues will prevent others from enjoying it at all.
1 star means F. The author completely and utterly failed. You hated it totally and absolutely. That means there was no plot, it was riddled with grammar errors, and everything about it was boring, boring, boring. The author should throw the book away. Never give an author a one-star review unless you feel they really should give up writing and get a job at the local grocery instead.
So, what I take from this is that if you love the book and give it a 5 star rating, it is easy peasey. Give it 5 stars everywhere. BUT… if you are giving it anything less than 5 stars, you need to be cognizant of what your rating MEANS on the site where you are putting it. We don’t want to be unfair to authors or potential readers by giving a book a rating which can be in any way misleading, however unintentional.
I’ve learned through interaction with other bloggers that some tend to stick to the easy way out. If they give a book 3 stars, then they give 3 stars across all sites. Once they realize that this is actually detrimental to the book and its author on Amazon would they continue to do this?
I’m sure you all have an opinion on this matter and I’d love to hear your thoughts.