Musing Mondays: Rating the Unrateable

My musings for this Monday are about rating the unrateable. If you just said WTF does that even mean then read on…

Rating the unrateable isn’t about a book so great there’s no number big enough to give it, nor does it mean a book you so badly disliked that you think it deserves a negative number. Nope…it’s something that I see a lot of on Goodreads, and it’s a practice I personally disagree with.

Still don’t know where I’m going with this? Ok, I’ll cut to the chase. I’m talking about giving a book a rating before you’ve even read it. Yes, even if it’s being written by a favorite author and you’re absolutely convinced you’ll love it, or the reverse of that…giving a book a bad rating before you’ve read it simply because you don’t like the author. It cuts both ways.

While I understand that readers want to support their favorite authors I really think a better and more honest thing to do is to put it on your want to read list, pre-order it when available and tweet or facebook the link, or talk up your excitement about the book on social media. As for those who give negative ratings having never read the book…it’s something I’ll never understand. Why waste your time on negatives when you could just as easily spend that same time talking about and promoting books you actually liked/loved?

Amazon deals with this issue by not allowing anyone to post ratings or reviews until a book is published. The main flaw with that is it doesn’t take into account the bloggers/reviewers who get ARC’s (Advanced Reading Copies) and who could honestly give an early rating/review. I’m not really sure there’s a viable or good solution to this. I suppose both Amazon and Goodreads could do some sort of blogger registry wherein a blogger would have to submit a web address for verification, or perhaps be verified by an author, but I’m afraid that would seem too big brotherish to many.

I’m pretty sure it’s a nonissue for most people, but I’d enjoy reading your thoughts on the subject in the comment section. Just remember to be respectful either way. We don’t have to agree, but I do insist on playing nice.

Tamie Xo

12 thoughts on “Musing Mondays: Rating the Unrateable

  1. katemg72 says:

    I totally agree! Why oh why would someone rate a book before reading it? You either artificially inflate or deflate the ratings.
    And don’t get me started on people that one-star every book an author publishes just out of spite. Ugh.


    • Tamie says:

      Yeah…the one stars are for spite/meanness are ridiculous.


      • Marcie B says:

        And what about the kooky none bookish crap that some people write? IE. I’m lonely so please say hi on a book reveiw? If there’s an answer for that looney bit please fill me in. I flag it as off topic since I believe such drible is disrespectful to all.


      • Tamie says:

        I’ve never encountered that thank goodness, and yes I think that qualifies as being weird.


  2. Jenny Flohre says:

    This is a pet peeve of mine. I hate the feeling when I see a book that isn’t published yet is rated 5 stars and I go to the Goodreads reviews and it’s either “I know I will love this book because I love the author,” or more often “can’t wait for this book 5 stars!” That is not helpful to anyone, I don’t think its even helpful to the author. The other thing I’ve noticed are for books in a series, readers rate the next books in the series before they are out 5 stars or 1 star because of how they felt about the 1st book. Again, not helpful in my opinion. Just because one book was great, doesn’t mean the next one will be and vice versa. In my experience many times a story gets better as the books progress. For example I thought FSOG was good, but I thought FSD was out of this world. I would have done a disservice to both the author and other readers had I rated FSD based on my experience with FSOG. I agree alot of it is excitement, and there are ways to channel that so it won’t sabotage reader reviews. That’s what social media is all about! 🙂 Great topic, Tamie!


    • Tamie says:

      I totally agree. Recently I read a book by an author that I floved. A definite 5+
      The next book I read by the same author was good and I enjoyed it but it was a 4.
      Glad you enjoyed the topic…I honestly wasn’t sure if anyone else even cared.


  3. Liz Hall says:

    I am on Goodreads all the time and rarely see books rated that haven’t been read. They may not have been published but have been read due to a blogger/reviewer receiving an ARC. I appreciate the early reviews and there are many bloggers/reviewers who’s opinion I value a great deal as we tend to like the same books. So, if a reviewer that has the same taste as me receives an ARC and rates/reviews the book, that just helps me work thru my TBR list and actually heightens the anticipation of the book release even more.


    • Tamie says:

      Unfortunately, I see it all the time and I’m not talking about bloggers/reviewers. I am one of those, and I’m fine with early ratings/reviews from them.
      I’m talking about books that are still being written by an author, or early ratings/reviews from those who aren’t bloggers
      and therefore can’t possibly have read the book.


  4. Ugh, I hate this so much! I completely agree with you. The most common ones I see are when fanfic fans automatically give one-star ratings to fanfic authors who publish. (The shelf tags are unintentionally hilarious, though.) No matter how you feel about fanfic being successful on its own – whether it’s theft or just derivative inspiration (like, say, everything ever written) – the practice of giving these books one star without reading them is petty and childish. And pointless, since everyone sees through them. And a bit spoilery for people like me, who apparently are clueless and otherwise would have no idea that it was fanfic because it’s been changed so much that it really is its own book. Sorry, didn’t want to rant, but those ratings REALLY bug me.

    The auto-five-star ones bug me a bit less, just because I assume they come from a good place, if ill-advised. And there are so many five-star ratings these days (which is another thing that bugs me) that they hardly affect the average. Good point that all that excitement can be put to better use, though!



    • Tamie says:

      I know exactly what you’re talking about and I couldn’t agree more.
      Those shelf tags make me cringe so hard it’s a wonder my jaw doesn’t lock up.
      Thanks, Lila! ❤


  5. Marcie B says:

    Great topic, please tell me what you do when you come across weirdness in reviews? Thanks!!


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