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.