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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Thinger: How Important Are Ratings?

Welcome to another week of Tuesday Thingers! We always love to hear from regular participants as well as new people.

This week, our question surrounds the importance you place on starred (or other similar rating systems) reviews.

I've noticed that within the blogosphere, there are some people who give ratings (stars, A-F, etc) to the books they read, and sites like Amazon and Library Thing have a place for reviewers to rate a book.

To the left I've got an example taken from Library Thing for Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (haven't read this one yet, but it was showing up as a recommended read on my home page). I thought I would check out the rating, and was absolutely floored when I saw that it has received 898 five-star ratings! Overall, the book has an average rating of 4.41.

Today's question: Do you use a rating system on your blog? How do you feel about using the rating system provided on sites like Library Thing and Amazon? When looking up information on a book you are interested in, do you use the ratings provided by these sites (or similar sites) to help you make the decision on purchasing the book?

My Answer: I always planned on having a rating system on my blog, and actually had a post written for it that I later deleted. I was going to base my rating system on what happened to the book when I was finished reading it (permanent addition to my already packed shelves, share with good friends, donate to charity, recycle!). I then decided that I was giving some decent information (hopefully!) in my reviews, and decided to use the "In A Nutshell" as a quick overview of the book instead of assigning a number of stars. Hmmm - I'm always tempted to add in a rating system, but at this point, it is just one more thing to add to my to-do list, which I am sadly behind on!

As far as how I feel about using the rating system on Amazon and Library Thing, I don't mind using it. I have left the stars blank on a few reviews at Barnes & Noble simply because they have too many categories. I think I'm a decent rater. It is not hard to get a 4 or 5-star rating from me, I just need to really enjoy the book! It is also not that hard to get a 1 or 2-star rating, I just haven't had as many of those to-date.

When making purchases (not just for books) I find that I am a rating junkie! I absolutely read what others think about the book or item, although I don't make that my only deciding factor, after all, for each book, there are going to be people who love it and hate it. . . so I will look at how many people have rated it and how the ratings compare overall. I will also read reviews to see what people are saying, then I will make my decision.

Overall, my biggest concern regarding ratings is the honesty factor. I try to be very honest in my ratings and reviews, and I feel that most people feel that way as well.

Looking forward to reading everyone's answers!!

~ Wendi

If you are new to Tuesday Thingers: Welcome! The meme was originally created as a way to network with other bloggers and to learn about Library Thing! I'd like to encourage you to join us. If you don't know what Library Thing is - you are in a great place to learn about new things, and if you are an old pro, stick around and share your wealth of information! Visit Library Thing here. To join in, copy the picture and question into your post and link back here so people can read other responses. Make sure you leave a comment here with a link to your post so we can stop by! If you don't have a blog, feel free to leave a comment here!


Yvonne said...

I'm the first? Wow! Mine is up at http://socratesbookreviews.blogspot.com/2009/02/tuesday-thingers.html

Anonymous said...

Great question Wendi. You can see my post here.

Anonymous said...

Here's my answer. :)

Anonymous said...

My post is up. This question was really good and relevant to my blog!

Jenners said...

I've been trying to make up my mind about rating systems. On my own blog, I sometimes use them but sometimes not because I think it doesn't always convey what I really think. For example, I might give a book 3 stars or a C rating, which means I find it "OK" but it might be because I don't really like that kind of book and someone else might love it. It is so open to interpretation -- some people love romance novels but I might not. But on sites like Amazon and Library Thing, I like using the stars because it is a collective group effort and I think it can all add up to something useful for others. I mean, if 100 other people gave it 5 stars, then it is probably worth checking out. So that is kind of my approach to it.

And I've been working on trying to come up with a rating system that I think it more accurate than stars or letter ratings but it is still a work in progress. I saw a great rating system on someone's blog that I kind of wanted to "borrow" but I can't think of where I saw it now. I'll have to look it up.

Anonymous said...

Here's mine

Anonymous said...

I don't put ratings in the reviews on my blog, but I do on LibraryThing?

What's the method to my madness? Find out here.

FleurFisher said...

Interesting question Wendi! My answer is here.

Lana said...

Fun question! Here's my answer

caite said...

Oh, a bit late but only because I was giving it so much thought. Really. ;-)

Here is my answer.

The Bumbles said...

Goodreads uses stars from 1-5. We have been requesting half stars for a while - because sometimes it is inbetween.

I rarely give out 5 stars - those are only for the very special favorites that stand the test of re-reads. 4's are for really good, above average. 3's are what most of my reads receive - good - interesting. 2's are for ones that I was disappointed in. And 1's are for ones that - for lack of a better word - suck.

I tend to pay more attention to the overall average ratings before adding a book to my to-read pile. I'm trying to find more 4's and 5's - not 3's.

Lenore Appelhans said...

I had to go immediately and add my rating for Outlander!

Here is my answer .

Library Cat said...

Finally able to get one posted! I read them and answer in my head, but the 10 puppies at my house are making me crazy!

Here is my post.

jlshall said...

I'm a little late getting here this week (it's been that kind of day). But here's my answer.

Bonnie said...

Great Question! My post is

Jenny Girl said...

I'll look at the stars but I don't let it determin whether I'll read it or not.

You MUST read Outlander. One of the best books I have ever read. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Mine's up in either LJ format or Wordpress format

Mari said...


It has been a long time since I posted one but here is mine. :)

Alea said...

Here's my answer!


RAnn said...



Melissa said...

I didn't have a chance to get mine posted this week, but thought it was a great question and wanted to comment.

I do use star ratings on my blog, and use half stars like on LT.

I like the ratings and am surprised how many people don't use them.

Sometimes my feelings on a book may change a little as I think on it, but usually my rating sticks.

Florinda said...

Tuesday Thingers on Friday - another good question this week. Thanks, Wendi!

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