Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Discussion: Judging A Book By Its Ratings?



Goodreads has many features that have proven beneficial...and others...not so much, such as the limitless amount of books that I can add to my TBR, which has resulted in a monstrous list which is quickly becoming the tame of my existence as a reader hehe. 

One of the things that I appreciate a lot about this site, is the fact that it provides an average rating for each book. For some of you, this may not mean a thing. Personally, and for the other half of you, the average rating on each book influences the decision on whether or not it is worth to be read.

My decision whether or not a book is worth my time is usually made based on a few factors.

I suppose it begins by who recommends it to me/from whom I hear about the book. If the recommendation is coming from someone who's opinions I trust, or someone who has a similar reading taste to me, I will most likely take interest in it.

This usually leads me to searching up the book on Goodreads...The very first thing that my eye is drawn to, besides the cover, is the average rating. While I have gotten over my chronicle cover judging...judging books by their ratings is something that is rooted very deeply within me as a reader.

And at points, such as now, I have come to question whether that is a good thing for me, or whether that is another prejudicial habit that I should diminish from my reading life.

Before you make your adjudication and judgement, let me present my case...

5 Reasons Why Size Ratings Matter To Me: 

  • I'm not going to lie...I'm quite a "yes-man", and I tend to agree with the 'generally accepted' opinions...Therefore, if the average rating is at 3 stars, and most reviews point out endless flaws of the writing, then why should I read something I know I will hate?
  • However, sometimes I do find myself thinking 'Hmm, this summary sounds really interesting...maybe I'll like it despite all these people who have hated it!'...I have read books with unimpressive ratings and reviews, and I'm disappointed to report that I've ended up hating 99% of them. 
  • 'So many books, so little time' !!!!! For this simple reason, I will obviously prioritize books of 4+ stars rating, over books that are getting poorer ratings and reviews. And the problem is, there are so many of good books, you will never run out of them to have to turn to lower-rated ones. 
  • Many books, especially in YA, tend to be over-hyped and glamorized by, admittedly, us bloggers and publications that talk books. However, ultimately, that hype has to be lived up to...And if the book fails to do so, the ratings will reflect that. Often, I wait a month or two before picking up a hyped book, just to observe the ratings. Is it worth the crazy hype, and more importantly: is it worth my time? The ratings help me distinguish the reality from the hope.
  • Who wants to read bad books, right? Half the time, if I end up reading a book that bores and annoys me, I will go into reading slump, and I will regret all of my life decisions...So ultimately, ratings help me avoid that pain of bad books and readings slumps. God bless!!!

However, I do admit that it does seem a bit prejudicial and sometimes I think...maybe I'm missing out on something great because of it?

I guess the aim of this post, is to get some answers from you guys, on whether or not ratings matter to you? Do they affect your decision on whether you read something or not? Are ratings trust-worthy?

Let me know in the comments below!

All the love,
Samanta.

17 comments:

  1. I do tend to look at ratings if I'm iffy about whether or not to read a book. There are definitely SOOOO many books out there, why waste time reading something that I'm not going to enjoy. I also DNF a lot. A LOT. If I start reading something and I'm not feeling it, I put it down. Because of this, most of the books I actually complete and rate are 3-5 stars. If it's going to be a 1 or 2 star read, I put it down. Great post!

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    1. Yes!!! I completely agree with everything you said. I haven't DNFed too many books in my time because I just tend to avoid bad books from the start, so my ratings rarely ever fall beyond 3 stars...why torture yourself through a book book, right?
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      -Sam.x

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  2. I definitely pay attention to the average rating, but I try not to let it be the ONLY factor that could make me turn away from a book. I've read many novels that were far from reaching the 4 star average, but they were fantastic. And, of course, many books that have even 4.5 average end up disappointing me. What I try to pay more attention to are the reviews - I like to check both the positive and the negative ones (if I'm not sure I want to pick something up, that is) so I can see both the good and the bad and decide if those things would annoy me or no. Wonderful discussion!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

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    1. Yes, that's definitely a more objective way of doing it! Personally, I find it really hard to read the reviews and make my decision based on them, just because I'm very easily veered off a book if several people say it wasn't enjoyable. However, lately, I've definitely been trying to do more reading without prior prejudices based on what other people have said...I think the best thing you can do, is just go into a book blond and make your own mind up..but that is super hard to do when there are so many books out there that you want to read haha.
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      -Sam .x

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  3. I tend to read Goodreads reviews, but I don't look at the average rating, because sometimes there are the books that for whatever reason are signaled out for a whole bunch of the troll-y raters to give it one star.

    But I do think ratings are important, I just only tend to read the ones by people and I know will give honest reviews.

    It's an interesting thing to think about, though!

    Thanks for stopping by Writing on a Vintage Typewriter!

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    1. Hmm, yes...I hadn't really thought about the trolley ratings. I don't get why people would do that to be honest haha, don't like it - move on!
      I suppose although ratings are important, they're not ultimately the first and last thing that will influence the decision!

      Thank you for your comment!
      -Sam.x

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  4. They do matter to me, to an extent. Like- if it is a book I am just dying to read, then I will probably read it regardless. BUT if I am on the fence about it? They matter a LOT. And let's face it, if a book has like, a 2.7 rating on Goodreads... it is probably really bad. And I also take early (and I mean SUPER early) reviews with a grain of salt, because they're often done by people closest to the author. And while I am not saying they're lying, they are definitely biased, at least. I also weigh the average rating of friends and other bloggers I know much more than just some Goodreads rando. I never trust a Goodreads rando ;) Love this post!

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    1. Yes, I'm the same with reviews on a new book...probably why it takes me so long to read the new releases...just cause I'm waiting to see what other people, beside the authors' friends will say ... haha.
      Everything you've said is absolutely true, and after this post, I'm realizing that I shouldn't trust the average rating on GR so much haha.
      Thank you for your comment!
      -Sam. X

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  5. Oh ratings give me a crisis every time.πŸ˜‚ I can never figure out if someone's 3-stars is good or meh or bad, even. There's just too many possibilities and it's too subjective gahhhh. So honestly I pay attention to like a few friend's ratings instead of overall Goodreads ratings. And like I legit read a book the other day which ONLY had 4 and 5 star ratings and it was horrible.πŸ˜‚ So I don't trust ratings very much at all.

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    1. Yes, that's very very true! I suppose at the end of the day, different people like different books, and no matter how good I might think a certain book is, someone else might find it average. Also, different people have different rating systems...Personally, I rarely rate a book 1 or 2 stars just because I can still find things to appreciate about that book... But other people might not!
      I'm definitely seeing now that the average ratings aren't too reliable in that matter!
      Thank you so much for your comment! -Sam. X

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  6. Argh, ratings! My pet hate is star ratings, because they're so subjective and simplistic. They also don't take into account the reasons people rate things up or down (which, on Goodreads, can get pretty personal!) When you read the reviews of people who've given books low ratings... sometimes (often, tbh) they're either bigoted (e.g. you can tell this person didn't like that the author is black, gay, whatever,) or have missed the point entirely.

    I avoid star ratings whenever possible, because everyone values different things - I think discussion is far more valuable! :)

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  7. Definitely!!! Agree 100% with everything you said!
    Thank you so much for your comment!
    -Sam. X

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  8. Honestly, I don't pay attention to ratings that much anymore. Only because I often dislike books with really high ratings, and love books with lower ratings. I'm much more likely to trust the opinion of a book reviewer who likes similar books to me. :)

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    1. Yes, that is probably a more objective way of doing it, since we all have different tastes anyways!
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      -Sam.

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  9. SAM! This post was so wonderful. I have been (and am) on a huge blogging hiatus and havent been reading posts but I noticed this one and I had to read it; I'm so glad I did. I think there is a fine balance between using ratings in a helpful way and having them overpower your reading. I use them to see about a book but I don't let them dictate what I read. One of my friends wont read a book if its less than a 4 and I personally find that too restrictive

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  10. I have been pleasantly surprised (and majorly annoyed) when a book exceeds (or fails to live up to) its rating. Because of this, I don't really trust them. What I do instead is skim the reviews to pick out things that I know are pain-points for me: info-dumps, insta-luv, etc. If I see several people all point out the same thing, and that thing generally annoys me? I know to walk away!

    There are select few people who's opinions I trust explicitly however, and I can almost count on their rating matching what I end up rating the book with. So there are times where ratings are definitely useful!

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  11. I have set my rating limit at 3.5. If the books falls below that, I have to dig A LOT deeper, and see if any people I follow have reviewed it. It's tough these days though, with all the 1-star attacks waged against books prior to even ARCs being released. For example, I just read Ramona Blue the other day (4 stars for me). It is sitting on GoodReads with a 3 star average rating, because the early blurb turned some people off, and that social media fire ignited.
    Sam @ WLABB

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