Demolishing Ratings and Recommendations

booksBooks are paper bound together by covers
of a variety of materials and images.

Until the review is written . . . and then
the reviewer is expected to “rate” the book by choosing
a certain number of stars.

And thus begins my tale of confusion and woe.

When I set about to segregate my book reviews into a single blog, I began to think about the ways in which Amazon, Goodreads, and other bookish sites want to manipulate reading choices by the use of stars (numbering 1-5) and then providing recommendations for our family, friends and neighbors.

So, I decided to do the same.  I hate it when first I’ve behaved like a copycat, and then it did not work!

Soon I become uncomfortable with deciding which 5-star rating scale to work with.  If I wanted to cross-post a review on my blog to either Amazon or Goodreads, or both, which rating scale was I going to use?  Have you noticed they are NOT the SAME???

Let me share a quick comparison:

  • Amazon’s 5-star rating system, with one being the lowest rating, takes you from I hate it to “I love it” with the other three stars somewhere in the middle; and
  • Goodread’s equal in number system, with the same number being lowest, ranks books from “did not like it to “it was amazing” with an equal number caught in the middle.

Now, I ask you how does this help the person reading the review?  Likely, they have their own translation of the stars system, or they ignore it.

But before I pull the plug and demolish use of stars, ratings and recommendations, I decided to check out Kirkus Reviews to ascertain what, if any, rating system they use.  A single star rating is all that Kirkus gives — and it ranks a book as one of  “exceptional merit.”

Wanting to be certain all bases were covered, I then a look at Story Circle Network, an organization to which I belong and which has a team of reviewers posting reviews frequently.  AHA!  They don’t use a rating system.  I didn’t think so, and I was right.

EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY, this blog will no longer rate by anyone’s star system and will not give recommendations to specific groups of readers.  The demolition begins . . . 


Click on images for attributions.


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