So what do those stars mean?

I was asked recently what my star ratings mean in book reviews, and so I thought I’d share the completely unscientific way I decide!

I track all the books I read on Goodreads, and did so before I started this blog, so for awhile I used the Goodreads star system to rate books. Goodreads star ratings are as follows:

  • 1 star = did not like it
  • 2 stars = it was ok
  • 3 stars = liked it
  • 4 stars = really liked it
  • 5 stars = it was amazing

When I started writing reviews, most authors asked me to post a review on Amazon as well as Goodreads and here at The Edifying Word. So I took a look at Amazon’s star ratings:

  • 1 star = I hate it
  • 2 stars = I don’t like it
  • 3 stars = it’s okay
  • 4 stars = I like it
  • 5 stars = I love it

So that’s confusing, right? I think I assigned different star ratings on each site for my very first review before deciding that I’m probably one of very few (nerdy) people who follow those exact definitions. I figure people probably have their own mental idea of what star ratings mean and interpret my ratings according to that scale…so, I just follow my own mental idea, which is something like this:

  • 1 star = I didn’t like it (I probably stopped reading)
  • 2 stars = it was “eh”
  • 3 stars = it was good enough/it taught me something
  • 4 stars = I liked it
  • 5 stars = I loved it!

If you take the opportunity to peruse my Goodreads shelves, you’ll see that the vast majority of traditionally published books that I read end up with 4 stars. It seems that so far, a lot of the self-published books I’ve read get 3 stars. Very, very few books at all get 5 stars; I’m kind of a tough audience. Reading this blog without following my ratings on Goodreads might also give you the impression that I never read a book I don’t like. That’s not true at all, but I intentionally choose not to write and publish reviews here at The Edifying Word for books that I rate 2 stars or fewer. I want this to be a positive place, and I’m not interested in trashing someone’s book, especially indie authors. I do, however, put up a star rating without a text review on Goodreads for everything I read.

So, that’s my story. I hope that clarifies things instead of muddling them!

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