Why Im Ditching Star Ratings in 2022 - Why I'm ditching star ratings in 2022
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Why I’m ditching star ratings in 2022

Go to any website and they almost offer the ability to review their products. It will almost always be in a form of star ratings. Usually ranging from 1 to 5 stars (5 being the best), although this is great in practice especially for items for consumption I find that it rarely shows the full picture for authors and their books. Author’s put their life and soul into producing and telling their stories – writing multiple drafts, editing, research, querying their work, and a huge amount of marketing. Rating their book 3,4,5 stars rarely encompasses everything you want to say about it even with the most in-depth review. Too much weight is placed on the value of that review – I have been hate-mailed about 3-star reviews (it’s always 3 stars) and asked not too politely to up my rating. I don’t know why but rating something 3 stars seems to have negative annotations added to it. Previously a 3-star review was very positive, which means that I enjoyed it. Trying to explain this seems to dig the hole deeper for me so I believe this is the best way forward.

The Biggest Problems with Star Ratings

Just like reading, star ratings are highly subjective. What I might rate as a five-star read might not be rated the same by other members of the reading community. I think that’s why there is so much chat regarding different books especially on #booktwitter, my favourite books have been majorly slated by other readers and vice versa. Star ratings don’t give the bigger picture surrounding a readers enjoyment,

This next issue applies less to me as I do tend to stick with my preferred genres when choosing a new book. I favour horror, Thriller/Mystery, and Fantasy over Romance and Science Fiction. I used to be known for reading Romance way back when but I really struggled with the concept of insta love and fell out of favour with them. I just don’t think I’m the target audience anymore but should that be taken into consideration when reviewing books?

The only issue I can see myself running into is cross-posting my reviews over to Amazon and Goodreads. If I don’t add a star rating to Goodreads will it negatively affect the book’s overall rating? I’ve searched for the answer in many forums but I can’t seem to get a concrete answer.

It’s extremely difficult to rate a book with such an outdated system. Using star ratings has me initially finishing a book and wondering how many stars I would award it. Instead of just writing my review and letting my thoughts, feelings, and emotions flow onto the page. I feel that my reviews are at a good place now and I want to tighten my process up further by binning star reviews. I started my book blog in the first place to help indie authors and I want to keep that ethos going into 2022 and the years ahead. Reading and reviewing is my absolute passion, I get so much pleasure out of it and don’t want to feel stuck in a rut. I need to get my why firmly stuck in my head If I’m to continue doing this to the standard I’ve set out so far. I want to move away from other people’s ratings and not get too hung up on why I didn’t enjoy books to the same extent that my peers have – it’s a subjective art form, right?

What are your thoughts on the star rating system? Have you ditched it recently or considering doing so, if so has it worked for the better? Let me know in the comments.


    • Tammy

      I know several bloggers who don’t use star ratings, and it doesn’t bother me at all. I personally will continue to use them because it works for me, but I think it’s a personal choice and either way is valid.

    • coycaterpillar

      Yeah I was very tempted. The thing is I was very positive but apparently my words didn’t reflect the stars.

  • Al

    I ditched that a couple of years ago. I just don’t add ratings to my reviews for essentially the same reasons as you. On Goodreads and Amazon I give everyone five stars, but add a disclaimer to that effect when I think of it. I also have some positive stories of authors who appreciated lower ratings but with positive feedback too. Here’s my rant if you’re interested – https://www.alwroteabook.com/2019/12/19/a-five-star-rant/

    • coycaterpillar

      Your post is exactly what I was trying to say. It’s so very subjective even novel to novel for me. I think its best that i just do away with the star system.

  • Charli

    I uses to use the star rating for books for those who are looking for a “TL:DR” version. I had an explanation of how each star rating related to my thoughts on the book. But now I’m kind of starting to rethink it. For me it’s not worth it… especially since there’s a lot of fans (and in some cases authors themselves) who take offense at star ratings below 4 stars. Even when 3 stars is a good rating in your opinion. They want 4 “very good” or 5 “excellent/exceptional”.

    I’ve never tried leaving a written review on Goodreads without the star rating, so I’m not sure. I honestly don’t use Goodreads much anymore, unless an author requests that I leave a review there. You’re right, it is an outdated platform and rating system.

  • Annette

    My ratings are excellent, very good, good, okay, poor. I choose one of those per book. I write in the My Thoughts section what I loved or liked about the book and what I did not like about the book. Sometimes I add a final thought. My feeling about the book is more important than a one-word rating.

  • Rosepoint Publishing

    Haven’t ditched it, probably won’t. I’ve rather evolved a personal rating and noticed I’ve gotten pickier as I get older. Having said that, unless something happens pretty heavy in the last quarter or so of the book, I already know where I’ll rate it by a third in.

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