|Three stars (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The first post I saw about ratings was more about the algorithm Amazon uses to determine featured books. At Amazon, only 4 and 5 star ratings are considered. Because everyone knows this, it might be encouraged that reviewers leave 4 and 5 stars to help the author out. Also, because of the reliance on 4 and 5 star reviews, 3 stars have been deemed a negative review. One post I read argued for reviewers to change their perception on how they think about the ratings and reconsider 3 stars not to be helpful. It is interesting to note that Publisher's Weekly only provides a starred review. I kind of wonder if a thumbs up or down would be better than the 5 star rating system.
|Concept Processing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Since most people are incapable of being 100% objective, reviews always contain at least a small degree of bias. I think ratings show the most potential for bias. Why? Because we automatically compare books when we put them on a scale. Have you ever read the most outstanding book, then read another in the same genre and feel let down? You would give it a lower rating, right? However, would that have been the rating had you never read the outstanding book? I try to vary the genres I read for this purpose.
If you are going to include a rating system on your blog, I encourage you to denote what each category means. I don't mind Goodreads rating system, because when you hover over the stars a scale is provide denoting what each star rating means (1 = didn't like it, 2 = it was ok, 3 = liked it, 4 = really liked it, 5 = it was amazing). Amazon does not provide any explanation of its rating system that I can find. Therefore, whereas a 3 star rating may mean I liked it, to someone else it might mean I didn't like it.
Because of the subjectivity in the star rating, a reviewer should always qualify their response with an actual review as to why they rated it they way they did. Nothing irks me (or the author) more to see a rating on Goodreads and no explanation as to why.
What do you think about the star rating system? Do you consider how many stars a book has when choosing it? Would it be better just to give a thumbs up or down a la Siskel and Ebert?