The Goodreads Rating Scale And Why I Like It

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The Goodreads rating scale puts things from one to five stars. Hover over the stars on a books page, and you’ll be shown simple comments from 5 down to 1:

5 – it was amazing

4 – really liked it

3 – liked it

2 – it was okay

1 – didn’t like it

On the surface of things, this seems a bit limiting, especially when it seems to have four levels of positive feedback and only one level of negative. When writing reviews, I sometimes use half marks in between, but the basic scale works.

To add a bit of detail in the way I look at things:

5 – When is this author’s next book due out, dammit?

4 – I’m very much looking forward to the next book, especially if it’s in a series. I can wait, with varying degrees of patience.

3 – I have no issues recommending this as a decent book, but probably won’t bother with the next book in the series if there is one. Life is too short and there are too many potential books I’ll probably love.

2 – Meh. Not something I’ll recommend to anyone else. Seems unlikely I’ll read another book by the same author unless the concept really grabs me. Not following the series any further.

1 – WTF did I just read? Also, all DNFs get 1 star.

And, like I said, I do sometimes use half marks when writing reviews. Those are for a little grey area in between.

4.5 = Fantastic read. Going looking for other works by the author.

3.5 = good without being great. But then I have to decide which way to round when I click the stars for the actual rating.

2.5 = not really that great overall, but had some cool moments/scenes/characters.

1.5 = Managed to finish the book, but I’m really not happy about it.

So I like the scale, even if I feel the need to split the hairs a little finer sometimes, because it does provide enough breadth of rating, mostly, based on how strongly I’d recommend a book, or how I feel about the writing when I get to the end, and it doesn’t get too complicated.

If 3 stars is the mythical average, because it’s in the middle, then you just need to get used to the idea that 3 stars means a good book to the person who wrote the review. Your mileage may vary.

And it should.

Be well, everyone.

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Lance
Lance Schonberg is an eclectic genre fiction author with more than two dozen stories published or on the way. 2019 is the year he dives into independent publishing, starting with "Thorvald's Wyrd", "Skip To My Luu", and "Turn the World Around". And he needs a more exciting short bio.

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