Bye-bye Book Ratings?

Posted 29 March, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 7 Comments

So, I’m thinking about changing things up a tad here at the Book Swarm by dropping the book ratings. I haven’t come to a final decision about it yet but I’m kicking it around and would love to hear what you think about ratings.

Right now, my reviewers and I give each book we read a grade. This is because my reviewers are students and used to grades, so it works for them. It’s familiar territory and, since part of the reason I started this blog was to introduce teens to some of the awesome books out there, that’s why the grades are there, up at the top of each review.

One of the reasons I’m thinking of dropping the grades is because I’d like for this to be more of a discussion about books, rather than a “This is Good” or “This is Not Good” review kind of thing. I would love for it to be more open, to encourage comments… actually, not just comments but a dialogue, like you’d have at a book club. Snacks and drinks optional (but, in my mind, necessary).

Another reason I’m thinking about it is because, well, even with the books that I don’t love have something I usually *like*. Does that make sense? For example, I didn’t like THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter, which is coming out the end of April. (You can check out my full review on GoodReads here: But even though I didn’t like what she did with mythology and the gods and goddesses, I loved the idea of it and am curious to see what she does in the next novel. This would be a prime example of a book that could inspire an interesting discussion. I’ve already read some of the wildly opposing views on GoodReads — while a ton of people love it, there are a bunch who don’t like it and everyone has a good reason why they feel the way they do.

I started this blog to talk about books. So, I’m looking for your opinions: Will removing the grades and treating the reviews more like book discussions help promote a back-and-forth commentary or not? Do you like ratings or do you care? I look forward to our discussion! 🙂 

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

7 Responses to “Bye-bye Book Ratings?”

  1. I love book discussions! I think every book blogger has to, really. It comes with the territory.

    That said, I do sometimes prefer to skim reviews by looking at the rating and then reading the final paragraph. A lot of the time, I’m pushed for time and trying to multi-task, and so having a grade or a rating in plain site is better for me.

    But it’s your blog, and discussions are always awesome! So I kind of take both sides of the discussion 🙂

  2. I agree with amber. Book discussions are great, and I participate when I can, but when I’m in a rush the rating is the first thing I look for!

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  3. I agree with the others. I don’t have a lot of time and I follow a lot of blogs so I find book ratings really helpful. I’m going to be posting up some results of a survey I did about book reviewing but I’ll tell you now, people said the way they’d comment is by the reviewer asking them a question.

  4. I’m trialling a rating system on my blog at the moment because when I discussed whether a rating system would be helpful with my followers, the majority said yes. You might find reading some of their comments on the post helps…/my-thoughts-on-rating-systems-to-rate.html

    Personally, I find it really hard to rate books because I like most of what I read but there are a few things within that affected my reading experience that I didn’t like. I don’t want my ratings to end up all reasonably high. The rating doesn’t make that much of a difference to me because I always read the review but it’s nice to have it there to consolidate opinion.

    Making your reviews more discussion based sounds like a great idea- I love discussions on blogs!

  5. This is a tough question! I currently use a letter grade system for my reviews, and I’ve been giving a ton of A reviews lately- my reading time has been so scarce that I don’t even finish a book if it isn’t blowing my mind. Even though I’ve tended to post a lot more positive reviews lately, I feel like people tend to use the letter grade to determine what posts they’ll read and what ones they’ll skip- people love controversy! All the same I can see the idea of promoting more conversation too. I’ll be interested to see what you end up doing!

  6. Thank you soooo much for all of your input. It’s given me a lot to think about and, for now, I think I’m keeping the rating system, though I think I might switch to stars rather than a grade. I’m not sure but I’m definitely mulling it all over & will let you know (obviously!).

    Again, thanks for commenting–you all are awesome!