Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by ThoughtsStained
I’m back this Friday participating in another Let’s Talk Bookish post! As always, it’s hosted by the amazing Rukky @ Eternity Books and awesome Dani @ The Literary Lion! For this week, our topic is: Changing Book Ratings, recommended by none other than yours truly.
So, full transparency: I submitted this topic because I’m desperate for guidance. While I’ll have my own thoughts below, I’m really keen to hear yours, whether through your own post in Let’s Talk Bookish or in the comments below.
Rating A Read
So, this is most likely obvious. But, I did want to discuss what book ratings are, since I know not everyone who reads this blog is a fellow book blogger.
Some readers (like book bloggers) rate a book when they finish reading it, using some variation of a 1-5 star scale (you can see my own 5 gem rating system here). Then, publicly post their rating. I post this rating on my blog, most namely, when I post my book review. But I also try to cross post my reviews (usually on Goodreads and StoryGraph, but I’m trying to add them to Am*zon, too, to help authors).
Though book rating systems themselves can vary widely, it’s generally accepted that one star is negative, three stars is average and five stars is the ultimate praise.
But, what happens when you want to change your initial rating?
Changing Book Ratings
This all came into question for me when I first starting thinking about updating all of my older posts after I went self-hosted. (This project, ah, still hasn’t started yet…oops). As I’ve started pursuing old reviews, I’ve noticed a pattern. Namely, I tend to rate a book high (3+ gems, but often in the 4 or 5 gem category) because I’m just coming off of that reading high. (Plus, I’m good at picking books I know I’ll enjoy.) Yet, when I look at 5 gem books that are truly god tier to me, many others that I’ve also rated 5 gems suddenly don’t feel like that rating is apt.
However, I have no idea what the proper protocol is for this! Should I even be concerned about protocol, since this is my opinion about books I read? And opinions change? Plus, it’s not like I am reviewing for Kirkus. Yet, I also don’t want to break any unspoken rules if I go in and quite honestly lower most of my ratings as I update my posts (which will include updating the ratings in cross-posting).
I also have no idea if I should mention I changed a book’s rating? Or, if it’s fine just to be quietly updated?
I believe you can see my predicament here. It’s part of the reason (but not the main one) I haven’t started truly diving into updating older posts with my new format. So, I truly would love to hear your opinions (and I am so excited to blog hop and find everyone who did this week’s topic). Do you think it’s okay to change book ratings over time? Does lowering or raising the rating alter that opinion? Is there book blogger etiquette I’m not aware of surrounding this?
Please share your knowledge, I’m desperate.
Ardin Patterson says
I’m glad that I’m not the only one who’s thought about this!
I try to decide how I’m going to rate a book based on how engaged I was while reading, and if I connected well with the story and characters. I’ll also take genre and intended age group into consideration as well, because for example I also take illustration into consideration with children’s books, graphic novels and manga.
Regardless of genre or audience, I find that if I begin to lose interest, don’t enjoy the characters or there are plot holes, I’ll rate a book lower on the scale.
Usually a 3 star review means that I believe a book has potential but was missing something. These are books that have great potential, and sometimes just weren’t my cup of tea. I’ll always take another chance on authors of books I’ve given a 3 star to, because usually one of their other works is absolutely incredible! I also don’t want to deter people who may enjoy those books based off my review, so I’ll always present what I thought was lacking as a “wish.” For example, “I wish that that the character of the dragon was a little more developed.”
As for my higher rated books, if I can’t stop thinking about a book once I put it down, and it starts consuming my daily thoughts, and I feel the urge to tell everyone I know about it, I’ll definitely give it 5 stars.
4 stars for me are books that are really good, enjoyable reads, but when I finish them, I feel like something’s missing and I want more. They almost leave me with a tiny voice in my head going, “Wait…that’s it?” Which isn’t a bad thing, but this usually has to do with how one of the plot points ended, or a character progression.
I do occasionally question books I’ve reviewed, and will revisit some of them to give them another chance, because I’ve found that sometimes I just wasn’t ready for a certain book…for example, I may not have been mature enough during my first read and five years down the road, I absolutely adore it. Other times, a book might’ve been hyped up too much and after waiting for the hype to die down, I ended up loving it during my second read. 🙂
Love your blog!! Thanks for writing a post about this!
Ohmygosh, Ardin, I truly appreciated your comment here! It’s given me so much food for thought (and I agree pretty much with your own train of thought when it comes to your rating system). I also loved your point at the end about maturing and how that could change how we connect (or don’t) with a book.
Thank you so much for reading AND for your kind words about the blog. I’m so happy to have you here! 🥰
Davida Chazan says
I did a post about this. I don’t think there’s any one answer to this.
Davida Chazan says
I posted my answer today!
When I finally blog hop (which has been like, literally weeks since I have) I will definitely check this out!!
Jenna @ Falling Letters says
Whether there is any book blogger etquette around this is a good question! Not as far as I’m aware. I have seen some folks change their ratings and put a note as to why. I don’t often change my ratings but I sometimes I will with no notice why (usually because I rated it right when I finished it and then decide to reviese the rating a few days later). Usually once I have posted a review, I don’t change the rating unless I reread the book or come to understand something was problematic about it.
I appreciate this perspective, Jenna! I was definitely curious to see what other bloggers did and it’s great to hear your own process!
Anne Bennett says
Ha! What a great topic. I stopped rating my books on my blog for this very reason. I would evaluate a book and then over time my evaluation would change. I didn’t want to influence a future reader of my review with a too high or too low rating based on how I was feeling in the moment. I do, however, rate books on Goodreads because the star system is so convenient. I have been known to go back and edit those star ratings as my opinion shifts. Two reasons I will change the rating: 1. The book improved in my mind after an excellent book club discsussion (up); 2. I can’t remember much about the book months after completing it (down.) Hop this helps.
What do you do when a favorite author dies? Let’s Discuss!
I can see why you decided to stop rating them on your blog! I love your thoughts on this, Anne. Thank you so much for sharing!
riv @ dearrivarie says
this is something that has definitely crossed my mind, especially when i go down a rabbit hole and look back on my blog’s archive. i’ve ended up changing my ratings on goodreads more than changing them on posts if there’s a huge discrepancy and if it’s a book that i’ve reread and felt very differently then i might talk about it in a review or wrap up 🙂
Yes, definitely something I’ve noticed when it comes to looking back at older posts! And I wasn’t even thinking about rereads, but that completely makes sense, as well!
Books Teacup and Reviews says
This is something we all think at some point. After blogging and reading for few years when we check older posts it feel we could have done better But mostly for me, that feeling is for 5 star or higher rating read. some of them often doesn’t look so glorious after all. But my opinion so far hasn’t changed for 3 star or lower rating books.
I think you make a good (and very interesting point) that it is usually the books I rated higher that I’m considering lowering–especially when I compare them to higher rated reads–yet my lower rated reads, I haven’t really ever considered raising any of them, because I still feel confident in those ratings.
It’s a very interesting pattern! And I appreciate you commenting and making me think about it.
Maria @ The Character Study says
I know this has stressed me in the past and it still does sometimes. I usually try not too pay too much attention to my ratings from many years ago, because I know I used to rate higher than I do now, and it’d be a huge task to go back and change them all (especially because I don’t remember all those books and rereading all of that is out of the question). However, I might change ratings nowadays, and I usually don’t mention anything since it’ll mostly be only half a star up or down. The only time I actually mention it is if I change a rating upon rereading.
Oh gosh yes. I feel like if we only were “allowed” to change ratings if we reread, I’d never be able to! The idea of trying to reread them all on top of all of the other books I want to read (not to mention those I just don’t know about yet or those not even published yet); gosh, that’s just daunting. But, your reasoning to change it if it changes when you *do* reread a book makes total sense to me!
Thanks for stopping by, Maria! I really appreciated your comment!