Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Star Ratings-Are they fair or necessary?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Posts are written on Friday’s.

For this talk the discussion topic is if star ratings are fair or necessary. This question has been posted before on different social media and blogs before and I still have mixed feelings about it.

Are star ratings fair?

Personally I believe that I suppose it depends on your definition of fair. Ratings are purely opinion-based normally so I would say that there’s nothing inherently fair about it, but it’s not supposed to be either. The star rating system is a quick glance at a person’s opinion about something. It doesn’t give a lot of detail which is why I think reviews with star ratings are super important, but I would say star ratings are ratings of convenience that can easily draw people into your review. I know there are been times where I see and excellent or terrible star rating and both pull me in to read the review more so than an average three star review would. If you view all opinions as fair than I would say yes star ratings are fair. Everyone has the right to an opinion and I believe they also have a right to express that opinion even though we might not like it or agree with it. However, star ratings are based as I mentioned before on opinion. There are very few that are objective and if you think about that then star ratings could never truly be fair. There’s no real criteria for ensuring fairness or what my one star ratings means compared to your one star rating. In fact, star ratings vary widely between book bloggers, but I believe we if know that going in it may even out the playing field at least a bit.

Are star ratings necessary?

Are they necessary? No, I would say they’re not necessary, but they do make quick glances a lot easier. I think the only real value to a star rating is for a quick glance understanding of a product. It’s not honestly that helpful to me without a review and this goes for any product not just a book. If something is rated with a really low score I want to know why just like I want to know why it received so many great ones. I know that star ratings though can often help or hurt an author’s chances of selling a book. You could perhaps review star ratings as a necessary helpful marketing tool in some cases I suppose.

Overall, I would say that while convenient and I will continue to use star rating I would say there is nothing inherently fair about them nor are they necessary. However, the possibility of using the star rating as a way to draw readers or quickly share my opinion is too much of a draw for me. I do try to be thoughtful when I create star ratings myself, but I can understand the debate about them.


What are your thoughts? Do you think star ratings are necessary or fair? Is there some other system we could be using? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Star Ratings-Are they fair or necessary?”

  1. They can be useful but I prefer not using them because I am not always very objective when I do. According to the way I feel, I tend to give too many stars or too little.
    I like the way you are rating the books though. I think setting objective criteria as you do for aspects of the books such as diversity or world building can make the process fairer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! There are very different aspects of a book that affected how I feel about it. I can love a book, but there’s zero diversity. I can hate a book even though the world building is phenomenal. I think it’s easier to rate book based on different aspects of it so that people get a better understanding of why or why not I enjoy or don’t enjoy a book

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Vicki!! And I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to reply!

    I agree ratings with no reviews are useless. We don’t know what the reviewer had in mind, or what they really thought and those types of ratings aren’t really convincing. Lol, I’m usually wary of reviews that only have a rating and nothing else as well.
    I also have the same feeling when it comes to 1 star or 5 star reviews; I want to know what made a person love or hate the book, and I’d probably read that more than a 3 star review too.

    I loved reading your post, and thank you so much for participating 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

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