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5 Reasons I Don’t Like Star Ratings

You might wonder why I do not give star ratings. Plenty of other reviewers do, Goodreads does, Amazon too. But not this blog. Some people are pros at it, they instantly know what they want to rate it or they soon do. But for me? Nada.

Is it just stars or is it all ratings?

I cannot wrap my head around the full star ratings (for example: 1,2,3,4,5). It is rare that I can easily describe a book in these whole amounts. While there may only be one star difference, it seems like a valley between them. But what about half stars? Well Goodreads and Amazon do not support this feature, so I have been unable to do so and, on these sites, normally round upwards. However, I could easily give star ratings on this blog. Even then, it is extremely difficult. But you must be wondering why.

What Don’t I Like

So far I just list what I don’t like, but not why. So here’s a list of 5 reasons:

  1. Normally my feelings oscillate and change a day after, or even a week. I always feel nervous about changing it.
  2. Even with half stars, it is so difficult for me to quantify the ratings. If I liked all the characters, but one does that warrant me knocking off one star? Half a star?
  3. To me, words are more important. A longer more in-depth review says more than a rating. They are also the type of reviews I like to read and write.
  4. There aren’t standards, at least for me, for stars. I don’t know what justifies one rating over another except my personal feeling. If it’s just up to these, then I feel I should be able to qualify it with descriptions.

If You Do Like Stars…

However, no hard feelings if you do like them! For a quick look, star ratings are amazingly easy to see. They provide a great overview. I also enjoy when other reviewers use them, but for me? They just aren’t something that comes easily to me. Perhaps one day that will change, and if it does, I will be sure to use these fantastic graphics from FLYLeF Reviews (and you should look at them too!).

Let’s Discuss: Do you enjoy giving star ratings? Why or Why not? Maybe you can persuade me!

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If you like this post, you might like my last post about My Favorite Book Format


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13 thoughts on “5 Reasons I Don’t Like Star Ratings

  1. I understand your qualms with star ratings, but I still like them. I definitely agree that the overall review is more important, but I still like to be able to see a bottom line when I’m looking at a review, so I include one too. I DO wish Goodreads allowed half-star ratings, though!

  2. I would not say that I enjoy star ratings, but I find them useful. I’m used to a star rating, and I think they adequately summarize thoughts about the book. I am more likely to read a review if the rating is in the middle because I find those to be the most balanced about what is working when I am on the fence about reading a book.

    None of this is to say that I find the system easy. I read plenty of books that I think fall between the whole stars. Your cons about reviewing with stars are completely accurate. The only solution I could offer to quantifying the star-rating system is to set up a numeric rating that would justify a certain star rating. For example, rate character development, style, plot, accuracy, etc. Then add those numbers up, and if it falls in whatever range equals that star, make that the rating. I do not rate with a specific quantified system, but I defend the rating in my review. Thanks for sharing such a great topic!

    1. Your idea is phenomenal! I will have to do that and then average it or something, that feels way more fair <3

  3. Good points about why star ratings can be unhelpful. I think the lack of standards is a significant one. I use star ratings on my blog, mostly for my own reference 😛 I am very clear about what each rating means, though I’m sure most people just see the rating and associate it with whatever they use.

  4. I get what you’re saying. I have rating crises over like every book lol. They’re just so subjective and kinda of meaningless because everyone has a different idea of what each rating means, and sometimes I’ll give two different 4 stars, but I feel completely different about each of them, so how are they both 4 stars??? But I still do them because it would feel weird not to? And because I feel like stars are helpful for comparing your taste to that of others. Like, if I and someone else have given them same ratings to the books we have in common, that makes it easy to see we probably have at least somewhat similar taste. But when it comes to actually deciding on books, I always base that decision on reviews, not ratings.

    1. Yes that’s a good point, so I’ve begun thinking about also including them, but it’s also hard based on the standards. So for example Goodreads tells you a 4 star is I really like it, but on Amazon 4 is I like it. That’s a difference, so sometimes I have different ratings for Goodreads, Amazon, and my personal record! AAAHHHH

  5. I get not liking star ratings, it is a flawed system of rating because my star rating for one genre is very different to another. I am far more free with my stars when it comes to romance and I’m far more critical of a genre like fantasy because they are a completely different story so a 4 star book from those genres is totally different. Yet, I will never get rid of a rating of some kind because that is what people often look at. They want a basic thing like that to see your feelings before seeing the review (I do the same). It’s in the words I use that I actually say what I think.

    I do hate how stars always mean different things to different people and on different sites. I’ve been meaning to write something to explain what my star ratings mean so everyone can understand my reviews but we’ll see.

    1. That’s a great idea, a sort of key for ratings. I know, I think they make more and more sense for a quick glance. I feel a lot better now that I’ve been breaking down each aspect, so characters, plot, setting, and writing and then averaging them together. So maybe I’ll be converted!

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