Let’s talk bookish: star ratings – are they fair or necessary?

It’s Friday again and today I will be discussing one of the most controversial book topics I have ever come across – is it really fair or necessary to rate books giving stars? Let’s talk bookish is a weekly meme hosted by  J.R. @ Eternity Books where each Friday, a bookish topic is discussed!

#1 It’s a quick analysis method

Let’s make one thing clear before I start stating my opinion: this system is far from being perfect. Now, whenever I browse for books on either Goodreads or my Reader list, I automatically look at the star ratings. And whenever a book has no more than three stars, I don’t do more than spare it a glance. And that is a sad but effective reality. Why waste time reading a book another person thought was terribly boring? – to my next point.

#2 However: books are more complex than 5 numbers

I don’t think it’s fair to reduce a book to either 1,2,3,4 or 5 stars. It’s a complex structure of writing, atmosphere, characters and its plot and I don’t think that numbers (and especially such a small selection) cover this complexity.

#3 People have different opinions

I have often come across bloggers who either loved a book I hated or vice versa. And isn’t that the best argument against a star rating system? What if I ignore a book because a blogger only gave it one star and I then miss out on one of my *potential* favorite books? That’s possible.

#4 There are no half-star ratings

Goodreads doesn’t leave it open for you to give 4.5 stars instead of 5. That is what is most annoying, at least in my opinion. I’ve read hundreds of books I really enjoyed except for one aspect – but that would be a 4.5 star read for me and not 5 stars. 5 stars is the elite of the elite, my all-time favorites. And because these small distinctions are not possible (also 3.5 or 4 stars, it’s a huge difference!), this system has its flaws…

To conclude:

This system is flawed – but it’s working for most people. I also rate my books on Goodreads, not always happily, but I do it. I don’t think it’s possible to get rid of this type of rating because it’s a comfortable and easy way to browse for books – and that’s a good thing. I will keep on browsing this way, but I believe it’s important to always read the attached review and really inform yourself why that blogger gave that certain rating!

That’s it for today – feel free to comment your opinion, I’ll look forward to it! Happy reading and have a relaxed weekend!

Author: Blogger Books

I'm a huge fan of Draco Malfoy, I love scones and tea time, I don't like horror movies and obviously I'm a huge book nerd.

7 thoughts on “Let’s talk bookish: star ratings – are they fair or necessary?”

  1. I don’t use star ratings on my blog for the simple reason I find it too difficult to do justice to a book when one element could be brilliant (a 5) but another element could be so-so, like . 2. Interesting you say you don’t look at anything if its not above 3 – 3 for me is a reaonsably good read. Not great, but not bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment! Yes, that is a very good reason not to use it and that’s exactly why I also think it’s super difficult! Ah yes, I really don’t read anything if it’s not above three! I just think life’s too short to read books that are “not great, but also not bad”. I have so little time to actually sit down, relax and read and I need brilliant books for that, so I try to only read ones with great reviews. Obviously, that can also go wrong and I end up thinking “Why was that a 4 or 5 star read for someone?”, but it’s worth the risk!
      Happy reading!


  2. Hey Jane!! Thank you for participating, and as always, great post! I love your opinion and the way you broke it down into different parts. And I’m so sorry, for responding so late.

    I agree about stars being very convenient. I usually decide to fully read a review if it’s 5/4 or 1/2 stars. To be honest, I rarely read 3 star reviews unless it’s a pretty hyped book. Stars really help me give a quick summary of what the person thought, even though that’s a bit faulty, because, like you said, stars can’t really tell me how much a person liked the book since they could have wanted to give 3.5 but put a 4, and also because they can’t fully explain someone’s feelings about the book. Reviews are super important as well, and I think I’m going to try and let the review convince me, instead of the rating, from now on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the comment!!! And I totally agree with you, I never read three star reviews, only when I gave that book five stars and someone else only three… but then it’s mainly curiosity haha
      And I’m trying to do that as well now 😂😂🤓🤓
      Happy reading 💜💜

      Liked by 1 person

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