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Using Rating Systems

So, I’m sort of obsessed with reading blogs. Like, A LOT of blogs. It excites me to be a part of a community of diverse people, who each bring something unique to the blogging world.

So in reading and following a bajillion blogs (that number is totally accurate šŸ˜‰ ), I’ve realized that some bloggers use a rating system when reviewing books and others don’t.

When I was trying to decide if I wanted to incorporate a rating system at Read.Breathe.Relax., I did what I normally do when I need to make a decision: I made a Pro/Con list.

Pros Cons
  • Easily shows readers how much I liked/disliked a book
  • GeneratesĀ convenientĀ comparisons among the books I’ve reviewed
  • Ability to create cute personalized images for my system (like Celesta’s cute mustache icons!!)
  • Struggle with choosing the exact number I want to associate with the book
  • Feeling the need to justify why I chose a certain number
  • “Translating” ratings across multiple platforms like GoodReads or Amazon that have different numbering systems


The items in the above list are just a few of the things that I considered. As you may have noticed, I don’t use a rating system on this blog. My main reason for making that decision is wrapped up in my struggle with indecision. (Oh the irony)

I am one of those people who changes their mind a lot. Ex: I re-rate movies on Netflix after I’ve seen the latest blockbuster; I try on tons of clothes before I decide to purchase one item.Ā I’m a classic over-thinker.

To avoid bringing this wonderful yet terrible aspect of myself to the blog, I decided to abandon using a rating system. Although this is my personal decision, I think rating books is really helpful, and I love blogs that choose to include them!

Please note: I am by no means “bashing” any blogs that use a rating system. I just wanted to explain my choice in not using one. It’s simply my personal preference.

Instead I include an “Overall” section at the bottom of every review. I indicate whether or not I would recommend the book and the overall feelings I had about the novel after I’ve finished reading it. This section of the review allows me to fully express my thoughts without leaving any question marks.

Bloggers- Do you rate books using a system, an “overall” section or a different method? Why did you choose one approach over another?

Readers- What do you think book ratings? What influences your interest or purchase of a book?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • http://ems-reviews-books.blogspot.com/ Ems

    I use a rating system because I had fun in Paint one day and wanted to share my wacky drawings…I love them! šŸ˜›

    It’s something I debated as well when I first started my review blog. It works for me, and I enjoy seeing other rating systems, but I enjoy blogs without them just as much!

  • http://booksandbarks.blogspot.com Jennifer Griffin

    I don’t use a rating system either. Of course, I only have one review up right now lol, as I’m trying to start my blog up. I’m like you though; its very hard for me to assign numbers to things and I’m also very indecisive. So I can understand where you’re coming from!

  • http://www.lisaisbusynerding.com Lisa

    I don’t use a rating system because I feel like that’s the point of my review. I try to present my review in a way that makes it clear how I felt, without turning anyone else off towards it.

    I also suffer from the over-thinking complex…and have the same issue on Netflix. If I give something I loved in a silly way a high rating, does that translate to something I loved that tackled a serious issue? Not for me – and there’s the problem.

    Interested to see where this discussion leads! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. :)

  • http://booksbeforebed.blogspot.com Celesta

    *blushes* why thank you! I’m so flattered you like the mustaches enough to mention it! It took me forever to find something that fit me.

    To join into the discussion, I don’t care what people use. I like using a rating system because it succinctly says what I thought so that if people don’t have a lot of time to read the entire review, they know what to kind of expect. That’s what I do when I am browsing through blogs and like it as it’s easy to see.

    Along the same note, even if a blogger doesn’t have a rating system, I like it when they have an ‘Overall’ section so I know what they thought.

    It may sound like I don’t read reviews, but I do. I usually don’t read them before I read a book because I don’t want too much of the plot to be given away, even if they aren’t technically spoilers. I’m funny like that sometimes. I’ll usually go back and read the review once I’ve finished the book to see what the reviewer got out of it and to see if we had similar thoughts.

    Basically I’m just so stoked to be a part of the blogging community. It fuels my addiction to new limits!!!

  • http://www.raindropreflections.com/ Rida (Raindrop Reflections)

    I use a rating system out of 5, without any fancy pictures, so it matches with Goodreads and Amazon fine :) You could always try that and see how it goes. And I totally overthink things, too.

    I’m a new follower :) I LOVE your blog design! (off-topic, that’s me.)

  • Lisa

    Celesta- Of course! I LOVE mustaches! They’re the cutest things, I think. lol I think you make a good point. I don’t expect people to read my whole review. So, by using a rating or an “overall” section, I can let people know quickly if they should read this book or not.

    And, I agree too that some reviews give away too much even if they’re not spoilers!! So by finding out whether or not a book is worthwhile is an easy way to get in and get out.

    Rida- Thanks for following!! :) If you read any more of my posts, you’ll see that I get off topic 99 percent of the time. šŸ˜‰

  • http://www.sillylittlemischief.blogspot.com Linda

    I usually state if I recommend the book or not. I do have highly recommended for those truly amazing books. I also recommend it for certain audiences (recommended for those who like romantic comedies or for those who those who like travel memoirs set in France). I can’t give a number rating. It doesn’t feel right to me.