Seeing stars…

As Spring is approaching, I’m in the mood for a little bloggy house-keeping. I started adding out-of-ten ratings to my reviews a few months ago. I can waffle to my heart’s content about a book, but I believe nothing says “Yes, no, or meh” like a rating. That doesn’t mean, by the way that I don’t value the actual detail of a review as much, if not more but for me, a rating is a really useful signpost.


I’ve been thinking about changing over to a star rating out of five – partly because with a rating out of ten feels a bit granular sometimes and also because stars are pretty! After much faffing in trying to find a way of implementing stars (can’t find a way to do half-stars in HTML, and plugins don’t work in free WordPress), I have decided that the simplest way is to use an image (design found here.)

Yacoubian Building Review Screenshot

I’ll be popping my new shiny star rating at the top of my posts, so that you can get an instant feel for how much I loved it (or didn’t) before reading on. I’ll also be updating my old reviews – boring but a perfect job to do while sat in front of the telly with a nice cuppa.

If you’re a blogger, what rating method do you use and why, and if you don’t why not? As a reader of reviews, is a rating important to you?

16 responses to “Seeing stars…

  1. I don’t use a rating system on my blog, only because I find it so difficult to boil my response down to a number. I may love one aspect of a book but hate another, or I may think a book is perfectly good at what it aims to do, but it just isn’t aiming to do all that much. I do use star ratings on LibraryThing and GoodReads, mostly for sorting purposes, but I’ve thought about getting rid of those too because I never can decide. I can see why people like seeing them and including them, but for me, it’s much easier to just write out my thoughts and leave it at that.

    • Hey Teresa, I felt that way to begin with too. I suppose it all just depends on how you want to present your information. I agree with you that sometimes it is very difficult to put a rating on reviews!

  2. I like ratings, I understand why some people don’t, but you can find out the basic thoughts instantly and actually that often increases my interest in reading the review, because I want to find out the why. I think 5/5 is a good idea, it’s easier to use.

    I created image files for my ratings a while ago but fitting them into my design didn’t work. I like the look of your plan, though.

  3. I use out of 10, and I stick it right in the title of the review. I’m thinking about taking it out of the title, but for me the rating is really important, sometimes I can’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t like about a book and the only way to express it is give it a number!
    Stars are very pretty 🙂

  4. Typepad allows me to keep all kinds of lists behind the scenes and one I keep is a rated list of books read in that year. A four star rating system. I keep it private for a variety of reasons including the clear preference it shows for classic literature over contemporary literature. Not sure why I do this??

  5. I like seeing other people’s ratings but am crap at giving my own because I just seem to see-saw between 6/10 and 8/10 and don’t have the guts to give a really low or high number…

    • Ha, Sakura – so honest and so true. I’m the same with the fluctuation between 6 and 8 (or now 3 and 4!). Some times it’s tough to decide if you want to give a book a lower number but I think that a 5 star rating somehow looks less harsh. Also, I believe that my quality of reading has gone up which is partly why there aren’t many low rated books on my blog…

  6. I used to give star ratings out of five stars. I stopped because I was interviewing authors regularly for a while and had a hard time giving low ratings to authors when they had been so nice and helpful. Some even sent me ARC’s of new books long after the interview was done. It was too painful to give a low rating to a book by someone I liked.

    So, while I still wrote the review I would have written if we’d never met, I stopped giving stars.

    • I love your honesty too CB. It’s true that it is tough to rate if you like an author or sometimes if you think the writing is good but you don’t like the content for example. Just text does force you to read the review more objectively (fully?) and perhaps and be fairer to the author?

  7. I use out of 10, but that’s because I often give half points (eg. 8.5 out of 10). I like to give myself more room to move than out of just 5.
    As a reader, I’d like to know mainly whether it’s a must read, worth reading, hmm…okay or totally avoid.

  8. Nice picture!
    I have never used star ratings, simply because I know that my judgement would change so often – one day a good I loved with get four stars; another day one that I only quite liked would get four, because I was feeling generous. I do notice them in reviews, but only as a way of giving an indication of which direction the review is heading in. Oddly, I always look at star ratings in newspapers etc., but not blogs so much… don’t know why!

  9. I don’t use a rating system because I don’t like to approach my feelings on a book that way, plus as others have said here, I might give a different rating on a different day so it’s not objective. On other blogs I do notice them and sometimes it makes a difference, sometimes it doesn’t. Mostly I want to know what others have to say about a book in a bit more detail than that.

    • novelinsights

      Fair point! My feelings do sometimes change towards a book after the initial review, although this would probably be captured in what I would say as well as how I would rate it. For me I guess I like the rating but I agree with you that the detail of the review is the most important bit.

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