Sep 30, 2013

Posted by in Question | 12 Comments

Question – How Seriously Do You Take Goodreads Ratings?

Question Visual Again

Okay.  Let’s talk Goodreads and their ratings.  Yes, I am going there and I am taking you all with me.

I quite enjoy Goodreads.  It is pretty much my go-to place when I’m checking into a book or looking for a new book to read.  But I must admit that often, when I visit, I get angry.  Now don’t get me wrong here…I don’t get angry at Goodreads, I get angry at some of the idiots who use it.

I’m not talking about any of you, I’m sure.  Who I am talking about are those nutcases who rate a book ONE STAR before it is even released.  And I’m not talking about someone who read an advanced copy and rated it one star.  I am talking about the dude who sits at the Starbucks all day because he has nothing better to do and gets online and rates a bunch of books one star just because it makes up for how low his self-esteem is.  Or how small his penis is.  Either or.

Why those insane rating tick me off so much is that they mess up the rating of the book.  So instead of the book having an accurate rating from those who have actually read it, it gets marked down because of bozos who need a life.  Okay, if you read the book and want to give it a one star rating because that is all you feel it deserves, by all means, do it.  But don’t rate the book unless you have actually read it.

And no, if you are super excited for a book that’s coming out in 2016 and to show your super excitement you rate it five stars, that’s no better.  Leave the rating for when the book has actually been read.

All that being said, when I check out a book on GR, I don’t look at the overall rating anymore.  Who can, really?  I look at what my friends have rated it.  I also look at what they had to say about it.  That is just as important to me as the stars.  The stars are what draw me in but the review is what makes me decide.

So what about you?  How seriously do you take Goodreads ratings?

  1. Not very seriously. I check the GR reviews (avoiding the ones bloated by gifs and pix) to get a rough idea about whether I’ll enjoy a book or not. I look for warnings about tropes that I just can’t stomach anymore—enough with the billionaire boyfriends, already. And occasionally the negative comments sell me on a novel faster than the positive ones (too much sex? Let’s give that one a try!).

    But with all the snarky reviewer/spiteful author malarkey going on at GoodReads, the ratings themselves are suspect anyhow, since they’re so easily manipulated. I rely more on my favorite book blogs’ ratings than the ones at GR or Amazon.

  2. I’m one of the authors who love the site. But then, I use it as a reader. A lot. No, not for rating averages because of the very reason you state here, but to find out opinions from readers or reviewers I know have similar taste or good taste. Also, some readers just generally rater lower. A three to them might mean they loved the book.

    But mostly, I use the lists. I’ve found so many new authors on those lists. I checked out Booklikes–the site a lot of my favorite reviewers are going to and I’m not sure it’ll work the same for me. I like being able to type in a title and get different information about a book. I buy a LOT of books. Goodreads has been a big reason. 😉

  3. I understand your comments. I usually look at friend’s reviews or the ratings of those which at least have reviews. I look at what they have to say – why they did or didn’t like it. For example, one review may say too much sex or too much foul language. Well, not a problem for me so their low rating is irrelevant! It takes more time to look at the details but then I know better if it will be a fit for me to read.

  4. GR’s ratings are based on like of the book, not necessarily quality of the book, so I take that into consideration when reading reviews and making my decisions. For instance, I have given five stars to my favorite John Steinbeck novel as well as my favorite Tessa Dare book. I loved them both thoroughly, for different reasons; but there is no way the writing could be considered on the same level but they’re both my favorites and therefore receive a five. I feel like so many reviews on GR’s, B&N, and Amazon are promoted and disingenuous that it’s hard to trust them. I do go through spurts of online stalking on GR where I follow a detailed review that I like and then check out the writers other reviews and bookshelves. Once I’m convinced that the reader/writer is a true bibliophile, I add them to my friends so I can explore more reading interests. I had come to rely more on book blogs, but the most popular ones have started to affiliate more with publishing houses that advertise or promote specific books and writers on their blogs. Like you pointed out in previous blogs, many bloggers are asked to hold off on reviews until after books have been released, and they do it. I had already noticed that in the last year, and that has really ruined many bloggers credibility to me.

  5. Well, I do not know what to think about GR ratings cos I can’t even count the times people have been all sad and said oh no you did not like it? When I have given it a 3….hello, that means good.

    So I have a policy, under 3 and I doubt it will be good (cos I know people rate higher than I), but also if it’s too much over 4 and unknown, yes not trusting that either

  6. I take all GR ratings with a grain of salt. Ratings by my friends are always considered first since we tend to always like the same books. Next I read the reviews of others, starting with the 3 star and lower. I look to see of they have valid complaints and voice real reasons as to why the book bothered them. If they are just ranting about an author or just complaining about editing, I know not to take them seriously. I also look to see if we share any other other books in common.

    One thing that really makes me angry is the number of low ratings for books and all that is said is “Twilight Fanfict!” on some of the books I actually read, I can not even begin to understand how that even applies and want to ask if they got the books confused.

    I loved Goodreads from the moment I came across it a few years ago, but the past year it has become a breeding ground for immature, mean and incompetent people. Books get ratings before they are even released, get low ratings because they are not about the characters they wanted next, reviews are used to attack the authors personally, and the worst offense to me: reviews are full of damn pictures! This isn’t kindergarten, we are big boys and girls now, let’s use our words!

  7. Mzcue – “too much sex? Let’s give that one a try!” LMAO! Love it! 🙂

    Rinda – You are so right about some readers naturally rating lower than most! You really do have to read what they say about the book before jumping to the conclusion that they thought it sucked lol. And I have used the lists too. They are quite handy 🙂

    Northwoman – Reading the reviews is so important!

    Nikki – “GR’s ratings are based on like of the book, not necessarily quality of the book” VERY well said!

    blodeuedd – Yes, YOU are a low rater. I have to remember that when I first see your ratings lol

    Courtney – ‘Valid’ is an important word here. And I don’t get the beef people have with fanfic stuff either. As long as it’s not a carbon copy of the original story, who cares? And OMG THE PICTURES!!! Horrible things sometimes. Just horrible.

  8. I tend to rely on what friends with similar book tastes think of a book more so than the Goodreads rating. If some of my friends on that site and others have enjoyed it, then I’ll check it out.. if they didn’t much care for it, then I might keep it in mind for an eventual read but not any time soon.

  9. yeah it’s the same for me, I don’t really look at the other reviews but only at my friend’s because I know I can trust what they think and it always help a lot.

  10. Erica Pillera says:

    I love Goodreads its a great information source but I like to read a few review good and bad before I make a decision, but ultimately its my choice, and if it sounds good Ill read it anyway regardless of good or bad.

    I cant stand the goodread reviewers that just write the synopsis and type in a few words to say they liked it or not I prefer to read more on the characters and the storyline and the authors writing style

    Every reviewers tatste are different so I try not to make my choice solely on goodreads Ive been burned before

  11. Great question, and I have to admit to not using Goodreads at all. I only post my reviews there and on Amazon to help the authors as publishers seem to find it important.
    But I do sometimes read reviews on Amazon, as you have to scroll past them anyway to post your own review. And some are just mean.
    So for bookadvice, I do rely on my favourite blogs. And I agree, some seem to have been bought by a certain publisher, and post nothing but reviews and stuff from that publisher any more.

  12. When I look at books on GR, I look at my friends’ reviews, friends that have similar reading tastes as me. I don’t go past that section (to the ‘community’ part). So no, I don’t trust the ‘average rating’ on GR. And I don’t trust the reviews on Amazon at all. Not after learning about Fiverr.

    I don’t understand rating books before they’re published (and by ‘published’ I mean in the publisher’s hands, after the book has finished being written).

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