Are Star Ratings Even That Useful?

We’ve all been there, right? You’ve finished a book, you’ve logged onto goodreads and marked it as read, and then you get stuck. Why? Because you have no clue what rating to give the book you’ve just read! Was it three stars? Was it four? Was it somewhere in between?

But my question to you today is, do these ratings actually mean anything? And do we really find them useful?

Let me elaborate. I like star ratings. I like having an overview of the books I’ve read in the course of year by seeing their star ratings. It gives me a good sense of what sort of reading year I’ve had. (And also I just like having reading stats…)

But I think the issue with star ratings is that my ratings probably mean something completely different to yours. Sure, our five stars are probably very similar – “that book was absolutely amazing and I want to shove it in everyone’s face!!”. I’d imagine that our one star rating is similar too – “why did I even read that? that was a terrible book”. But what about the ratings in between? WHAT DOES A THREE STAR RATING EVEN MEAN?

Personally, because of these reasons, I don’t really bother with star ratings in my reviews on the blog (although I do mention them in my monthly round ups). However, I figured I’d try and explain my definition of star ratings.

Star Ratings (1).png

The thing is, this is just my system, and everybody’s is slight different, so it gets awfully confusing when you look at goodreads to try and figure out people’s opinions. Do the average ratings on goodreads mean anything if everybody’s rating books on a slightly different scale? And when people see a rating, that might completely turn them off a book. For example, I like all my three star books – I might not be forcing other people to read them, but they all had a list of things I like. On the other hand, some people seem to view a three star rating as bad, as if it isn’t even worth considering reading the book.

And then, there’s the issue of half stars. How do people deal with these? I feel like if I introduced half stars into the picture, I’d end up rating every single book as 3.5. Genuinely, everything would get that extra half a star.

But, despite the fact that they aren’t always reliable, I still think star ratings can be useful. They give us an idea of how good a book is, and if you can find a reviewer that you tend to agree with, then star ratings can definitely help you to choose your next read. So I guess I’ll just keep reading and getting very confused about what star rating to give to my latest read!

What are your thoughts on star ratings? Do you find them useful? Do you struggle to rate some books? Does anyone else find the idea of half stars slightly stressful?


9 thoughts on “Are Star Ratings Even That Useful?

  1. I think star ratings are really handy when you’ve got a lot of reviews and it gives you an average? Though I agree that individually there so subjective it’s hard to always comprehend them, if I look and see that over 100 reviews a book has an average of 4 stars it’s probably pretty worth reading,

    1. Yeah, I definitely agree that if there are loads of ratings that should be a pretty solid indication of what the book is like!

  2. Super intersting! I was thinking about doing a similar discussion on my blog but have kept putting it off. Overall they’re brilliant for an overview but a detailed review is probably more useful if you rely on reviews to decide weather to read book or not. Loved the post!

    1. Definitely, a detailed review is way more useful if you’re still sitting on the fence about picking up a book. Thank you!

  3. I completely agree with you! Star ratings can be very confusing as they vary so much from person to person, and even my own definition of a 3 or 4 star book has changed over the years. But they are useful in giving a general overview of whether someone really loved a book, really didn’t like a book or thought it was somewhere in the middle. I usually find a full, written review to be more helpful in deciding whether a book is worth my time.

    1. Same, when I look back at the ratings I gave books when I first started blogging, I can see a massive change. But that’s true, if you want a quick idea of what a book’s like, they are handy.

  4. I do have problems giving Star-Ratings, thats why I left it. I used stars on my old blog but was never happy with it. I feel it’s not enough? If you know what I mean.. also, sometimes my opinion changed after a while.

    I like the description of your star rating though. If i would still do it, I’d do it like that, probably.

    1. Yeah, when I look back at some of my older star ratings, I wonder what I was thinking! And I know what you mean about not feeling like it’s enough – there’s just no way that they can convey all our feelings about books.

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