Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 90 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it just me, or are Goodreads reviews harsher than Amazon reviewers? Maybe it's because you can just fill in your little 1 or 2 or 3 stars in seconds. No justification needed--or encouraged. At least at Amazon it's expected that you have to write something to justify your rating, and others can vote you as unhelpful.

I look around at some great novels and they are rated 3.5, 3.6, 3.7 on Goodreads. And much higher on Amazon.


 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,257 Posts
See and for me a 3.7 is a very very high rating. Some of the best books in the genres I read have that. Or maybe a 3.8.

I don't take most reviews or books serious if they have 4.5 and such average ratings. Especially for unknown authors.
I find goodreads reviews to be more honest. And one of the reasons I don't review on Amazon is the unhelpful button.
I don't want to have the authors friends and family and fan mob descend down on me, just because I didn't happen to like their book as much as they think I should.
Heck, some seem to think that a 3 star is a bad review.  :-X

And no reader needs to justify their ratings or reviews to anyone. It is what it is.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
It's because of how Goodreads describes their stars. On Amazon, for example, a 3 star is "It was ok", a 4 star is "I liked it" and a 5 star is "I liked it a lot". On Goodreads, a 2 star is "It was ok", a 3 star is "I liked it", a 4 star is "I liked it a lot", and a 5 star is "It was amazing".
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
63,460 Posts
Maybe Amazon reviewers are easy graders.  :D  Like Atunah, I tend to look at the ratings on Amazon and see them as inflated.  Sorry.

A book I enjoyed is 3 stars.
A book I enjoyed enough to read again is 4 stars.
A book I think is among the best I've read is 5 stars.

I use the stars the same way on both sites.

No matter the system, a star rating is going to mean different things to different people.  I do review on Amazon; and occasionally on Goodreads.  On Amazon, I do review for other buyers.  On Goodreads, it's for me.  I know Goodreads has a lot of social aspects, but I don't use it that way.

Betsy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
My favourite author has a 3.9 rating, so obviously everyone there is simply wrong and hates books.



(I tease. Yes, people tend to rate lower on GR, and at least part of it is how they describe their books. I mean, on GR "It was okay" is a 2. Plenty of books I've read are okay, and I don't consider that a bad rating. It seems bad, though, because 2 stars seems really crummy, but hey, writing an okay book is decent!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
986 Posts
Wouldn't it be cool if there was a review site that rationed stars?  like for every hundred books reviewed a reader could only give out one "5 star" and maybe 10-20 four stars max.  That way it would really force you to think about how a book affected you.  It would make those top ratings really mean "this is one of the best books I've ever read" which, I think, is really what those top ratings mean.  And then books that really were average wouldn't be seen as "lacking"- there would be a lot of them, but people would know that they really were an adequate, entertaining book and not just "eh another 3 star" because there would be less of a flood of 4 and 5 stars above them.  (I'm as guilty of giving out too many 5 stars as anyone else.  I know if I had to choose just one every hundred it would be much harder and much truer to what I really thought anyway)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
622 Posts
Review ratings are both subjective and given the variability in both the reviews as well as review criteria make the comparison of any mathematical results such as averages foolish.  They are personal feelings of the reviewer and likely a dozen or two of 1 star ratings means the book is likely very poor or at least void of any commercial value.  Similarly, books with five stars or mostly 4 and 5 stars are on the opposite end of the spectrum. For example, we got a 2 star review because it was well written but the subject matter brought memories they were unprepared to deal with.  Those that handle the subject matter well all rated it a 4 or 5 stars.

I think stretches the intention of the star system beyond its usefulness.  
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I also think that all of these promo sites that require 4.0 and above ratings is what is coloring my view on this. It makes a 2 star rating seem pretty bad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,123 Posts
hwalshwriter said:
I also think that all of these promo sites that require 4.0 and above ratings is what is coloring my view on this. It makes a 2 star rating seem pretty bad.
Totally agree.

Also an issue is the fact that you need a whole bunch of those to get promo spots for your book. I have a new title and I have cash budgeted to pay for ads but I can't because the book is too new.

I want to kick something every time someone signs up for my mail list or 'likes' my Facebook page instead of leaving a review! Come on, ppl!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,807 Posts
I totally agree that Goodreads reviews are at least a full star lower. I will admit that Amazon reviews tend to be over-inflated. I'm not sure if the issue is that Goodreads reviewers are more honest.

I have a theory that it has more to do with the way new Goodreads members are ushered into the site. They're led to a page which asks them to rate dozens of books in various genres so Goodreads can get a sense of what you enjoy reading. For me, I tended to rate horror a bit better than romance for that reason. I thought I was supposed to send a clear message about the kinds of books I liked. I must have rated over 100 books. A number of the really low ratings I've received seem like those kind of drive-bys, although I have no way of proving it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
144 Posts
Quiss said:
Totally agree.

Also an issue is the fact that you need a whole bunch of those to get promo spots for your book. I have a new title and I have cash budgeted to pay for ads but I can't because the book is too new.

I want to kick something every time someone signs up for my mail list or 'likes' my Facebook page instead of leaving a review! Come on, ppl!
Not to mention erotica readers/lovers tend not to give reviews as often, as they don't like having their name tied to the review. So it's rare to find erotica with any reviews, let alone enough to get on one of the promo sites.

And yea, the *25 5 star reviews!* promos do put a lot of stress on people, I think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Your explanation of the goodreads vs. amazon scale makes sense. The same reviewer gave my short story a 3 on goodreads and a 4 on amazon. Now that is a reviewer who reads the fine print. Ha!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
733 Posts
I like the idea of reviewers being forced to ration their own stars, but I'd prefer an evenly tiered system. I know the extreme ratings (1 star and 5 stars) are overused, but striking out on your own to "fix" this by making those ratings extremely rare doesn't help much. In fact, all it does is effectively reduce the number of different star ratings you can apply to new books down to three, which is inherently less useful than 5.

If you imagine an imaginary endless bookshelf, from "Best Book Ever" to "Worst Book Ever", in descending order according to your own personal preferences (i.e., books from your favorite genre strongly predominating at the top, with books from your favorite genre often beating books that are objectively better for subjective reasons) --- and THEN divide that bookshelf into percentiles, you'd assign 5 stars to those books above the 80th percentile, 4 stars for those at 61st up to 80th, and so on, reserving the 1-star ratings for those at the 20th or below.

Imagine a review site that guaranteed that it would always maintain the spread of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 stars as evenly as possible. To maintain integrity, the reviewers there might have to hold back from posting 5-star reviews (or 1-stars) until they'd posted sufficient reviews in the middle rankings to round out the curve. I think that would strike many readers as more reliable.

Whether it would actually be more reliable . . . I don't know.

Of course, I've always wished for a possible rating of 10 stars, to reduce the "hourglass" effect that we now have with only 5. That could be easily be adapted to the evenly-tiered rationing detailed above, but it would also probably improve the systems we commonly use now (even without any other changes). I think 5 stars is preferred just for ease of fitting a row of fewer stars into the row of thumbnails (to fit more "also boughts" on a scrolling row to be visible at one time on Amazon or other retail sites).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,275 Posts
Goodreads uses the star system the way normal, meat-based humans do. Three stars is good (because it's more than half of five), four is excellent and five is the best possible.

Amazon uses it in the way a robot on the verge of going HAL 9000 on everyone would. Five stars is optimal, four is operating within acceptable parameters, and 3 is too flawed to be acceptable/I can't do that Dave.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,123 Posts
I think giving a rating out of ten would, in the end, average more fairly than five.

And everyone should have to leave a written review. These fly-bys aren't doing readers OR writers any good. If you didn't like a book, at least say why.

I don't pay attention to stars-only reviews at Goodreads because of the various reasons (some of them mentioned in this thread) for them. So a star rating doesn't tell me anything about the quality of the book.
 
1 - 20 of 90 Posts
Top