Nobody reads the five star reviews.

2016-08-30

When you go on Goodreads to check out book reviews, do you read the five stars or do you skip down to the lower ones who might give a more critical opinion?

Sometimes, I feel like five star reviews get a bad rap. This is why I don’t rate books on my review blog, and I don’t like rating on Goodreads, though I do it anyway to support the authors. I know how important those little stars are.

So what’s the point of reviewing books anyway?

In my opinion, it’s not to criticize a book. A reviewer’s goal shouldn’t be to discourage or even encourage readers on a particular piece of writing.

Reviews should be to find a proper audience for said book.

If you hated a book, there is someone out there who loved it. If you loved a book, there’s someone out there who hated it. Your job isn’t to convince them it was a great (or horrible) book with your review, it should be to show why you think what you think, and let your readers decide if it’s something they are interested in.

I like reading book reviews because I like seeing other people’s opinions, and it expands my own opinion by seeing things I didn’t see before. Usually, I only read reviews after reading a book, unless I discover a book through a blog review, and sometimes it boggles my mind as to how different my own opinion is from others. And some reviews just make me sad for the author. No one who has put in the time and effort to write a book should be belittled or put down for it.

I write reviews so I can match the perfect reader to the perfect book because there’s nothing better than finding a book that makes you happy.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is words matter.

Happy reviewing!

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One thought on “Nobody reads the five star reviews.

  1. You know, it’s funny, I think that as writers we see reviews differently than a lot of people. Of course, being writers does not in any way mean that we end up seeing it the same way. I have one writer friend who only reviews books that he feels comfortable giving 4 and 5 star reviews to.

    Anyhow, I have a lot of thoughts on the subject, so let me start by answering the question of how I use reviews. When I’m considering reading a book, the first thing I do is look at how many reviews it has. Not to see if it’s worth reading, but to decide how I interpret the ratings. If it has less than half a dozen reviews, I’ll scan one or two, but I won’t put much stock in them. If there are a bunch, I’ll usually read two or three four/five star reviews, and a couple of one star reviews. Mostly to see what is praised or critiqued. If anything is repeated in either the praise or critique, I base my judgement on that.

    As for the point of reviews and stars, I agree that most of the time the point of them is to direct people to something that they will enjoy. Of course, from time to time I think that it’s important to guide people away from bad writing, as such things are out there and, in my opinion, screw things up for all of us. But most of the time what a review says isn’t ‘this is a good book’ or ‘this is a bad book’ but ‘this is/isn’t my kind of book.’ One thing I enjoy doing on goodreads is comparing my read book list to that of other people and, if our ratings are similar, I like to see if they have something that I’ve never read that they loved. That might be worth looking into.

    As a general rule, I prefer giving five star reviews to two star reviews, but I think that its important to do both. One of the things I find frustrating is when I see a five star review, click on the person’s profile, and realize that they only give five star reviews. To me that makes everything they’ve said meaningless. Sure, it might be that they read a great deal and only give reviews to books that they love-love-love, but it’s also entirely possible that they can’t tell a good book from a crappy one, or that they just set up an account to rate the books of their friends. The contrast in scores is necessary to me so that I know that your reviews have meaning.

    Like

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