My Rating System: Why I’ve Decided to Change It

no more stars

I’ve been thinking about doing this for quite a while, and it’s only after finishing A Darker Shade of Magic that I’ve decided to finally go for it. I’ve seen other bloggers use a number rating system, rather than stars, and I quite like the idea of being able to dig deeper into stories and fine-tune my ratings. I often give two books the same star rating, when I actually feel quite differently about them, but not different enough to award one more stars than the other.

With a numbering system of 1-10, I can now rate my books more honestly, and I’m hoping this system will make more sense to my readers. In the past, I’ve reviewed books in a series and said things like “I enjoyed this even better than the last book,” but I’ve rated them with the same star rating, which really doesn’t make any sense! I’m frustrated by this inconsistency, and I think the 1-10 system is going to work much better for me.

So for now, here’s what those numbers will mean for a book:

The Best. Book. Ever. One of my all-time favorites.

Nearly the Best. Book. Ever. With one or two very minor flaws.

8/10: I loved it and highly recommend it. But I did have a few issues with something in the story.

7/10: A really good book. Probably has some small problems with the writing and pacing.

6/10: I enjoyed parts of it, but it had lots of issues for me.

5/10: This book has potential, but it just wasn’t executed very well.

4/10 and below: I probably won’t have many of these ratings. For me, anything under 5/10 would be the equivalent of a one- or two-star rating. Either a DNF or a book with so many problems I don’t know how I’m going to review it.

I anticipate most of my reads will fall into the 7-10 range, because I do try to choose books very carefully. My first review using this system will be posted tomorrow, and after you read my review of A Darker Shade of Magic, I think you’ll understand why I’ve decided to do this.

And how will I translate these ratings to Amazon and Goodreads, you ask? Well, for now at least, I’m thinking of 9-10 as five-star books, 7-8 as four stars, 6 as three stars, and 5 and below as 1-2 stars. (And I rarely give out those ratings anyway.)

I know everyone’s rating system is slightly different. I’d love to hear what you think! Do you use stars? Or do you use numbers? Or do you just write a review and not give it a rating at all?

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Posted February 22, 2015 by Tammy in Bookish Discussions / 18 Comments


18 responses to “My Rating System: Why I’ve Decided to Change It

  1. I use stars, which roughly translate to the numbers you use as well: 5 stars would be 10, 4.5 would be 9 (multiple the star figure by 2, in essence). But then I use half stars, which lets me more specific in my rating than if I just used whole stars. Now I can’t remember, didn’t you use half stars too?

    Now that you’re using a 1-10 system, will you also be using .5s? Since it would allow you to narrow it down even further, I can certainly see the benefit of that.
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    • Tammy

      Yes, I did use half stars, but in some cases it isn’t enough for me, LOL! I don’t think I’ll need to use 1/2 numbers, I think by going to 1-10 system it takes care of that. My problem is I have just read a book that I think deserves 5 stars, and yet I didn’t enjoy it as much as another 5-star book. So now instead of agonizing over what rating to give books like this, I think it will be easier.

  2. Food for thought. I don’t use star or number ratings on the blog (but I do on Goodreads). Ratings are a good, succinct way to indicate to others your immediate opinion of a book, but I find there’s often a difference between reviewer and reader definitions.
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    • Tammy

      I agree, that’s why I wanted to clarify mine better. Of course at the end of the day, it’s just an opinion, but I like being able to justify things to myself:-D

    • Tammy

      Agreed, the words of a review should be the most important. But I do like seeing some sort of rating when I read other’s reviews.

  3. I use stars. Well actually, they are hearts, not stars, but it’s a rating out of 5. I use half heart when I need to make things more precise.
    I feel comfortable with this system because I use the GoodReads approach: the ratings are heavily slanted towards “good”. A bad book is a bad book and I don’t really want to fine-rate how bad it is so it’s all just 1 heart (from “not enjoyable book” to “complete joke”). 2 stars is “average / okay” book (obviously, I wasn’t impressed, but it’s not THAT terrible). 3 stars is “I enjoyed it” (= I recommend this book but not to everyone). 4 stars is “I really liked it” (= This is an excellent book). 5 stars is “not only I liked it, but this book was extremely original/unique, thought-provoking, or insightful”.
    In some cases, I have hesitated (often between 4 and 5). Then I use a half-mark.
    But lately I have felt I should add a few words to clarify those ratings… because obviously no one is using them the same way and I’m often afraid people are going to misinterpret my ratings. :/
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    • Tammy

      I think most bloggers have different shades of meanings for their ratings, and that’s a good thing, we’re not all alike! I think everyone should use whatever works best for them, that can explain how they feel about a book.

  4. I struggle so much with assigning stars, especially on Goodreads and Amazon where we can’t do half-stars. (that’s probably one of the best features of Booklikes). I’ve always steered away from stars/scoring with my blog reviews, though. It seems so arbitrary to reduce all your thoughts and emotions to a number, especially when you’re balancing personal enjoyment with literary merit.

    There are books I really admire that I’ll award 5 stars on Goodreads, but never want to read again, and others that I know are 3.5 or 4 star reads, perhaps a bit cheesy and derivative, but which I would gladly reread in a heartbeat.
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    • Tammy

      I think I’m going to find it easier with the number system, but I guess we’ll see. I thought about not giving any kind of rating at all, but I actually like rating books, so I’ll continue to do so:-D

  5. I envy people who can rate books well. I’m terrible at it because my opinion changes too often. Even Goodreads stresses me out when I see old books I’ve read and I disagree with MY OWN ratings. I’ve noticed a few reviewers who make up a new arbitrary system for each specific book, like “4 out of 5 hot baths” which I find pretty funny. A commenter once suggested that I should at least institute a vomit bucket system for the more sexist books I read.
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  6. I use the Goodreads system, which works well enough for me, since it’s skewed towards the positive. I have real trouble aligning that with the Amazon system, though, which is different. I know some people will give 4* on Goodreads and 5* on Amazon, but I feel uncomfortable giving different ratings. But then I’m equally uncomfortable giving the same rating! Gah. I just avoid posting reviews on Amazon, unless the author asks me to.

    Good luck with your numbers system. That might be the optimum solution – a different system altogether. There’s just no perfect answer, though, is there?
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  7. I am in agreement with Nathan, I wish folks wouldn’t put as big of a stock in the rating because for instance right now most of my reads I am rating around 3 to 3.5 stars but you can more aptly tell what I felt or thought about it from what I say instead of what I rate it. But then I am too lazy to change my rating to 1-10 because I am too lazy to bother converting to a star rating in other places. Ultimately ratings bother me but I see their usage. Too bad it can’t be changed everywhere to a ten rating system.
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  8. So as I mentioned in my reply to couchtomoon above, I use an abitrary system. For every book I make up something new. On the one hand, I do this because I want to give people the option of a shorthand to how good I thought this book was. On the other hand, I want to poke fun of rating systems because I think there is no way they are ever going to be unproblematic/completely objective/universally understandable. So yeah, I like em, but I figure I might as well not take them too seriously when writing them myself for those reasons.
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