Because of a response I received when I wrote a review on a book and gave a different “star rating” on Amazon than on Goodreads, I decided to do a little survey. Also, because a comment was made to me that “people only look at the stars”.
If you don’t know, the star ratings are different on Amazon than on Goodreads. Of course on both sites, a five-star rating means the reader thought the book was outstanding, fabulous, etc. However, on Amazon a 4-star rating means “I liked it”, whereas on Goodreads a 4-star rating means “I really liked it”. On Amazon a 3-star rating means “It’s okay”, whereas on Goodreads a 3-star rating means “I liked it”, and of course, on both Amazon and Goodreads 2 and 1-star ratings aren’t anything a writer really wants to see, nor will they encourage readers to read such a book.
My little survey consisted of three main questions, but based on the majority of the responses I received, I will be adding two more to this post. By the way, I posed my questions to three groups of readers and writers and received a total of 114 responses. However, if you add all of the responses listed below, you may or may not get a total of 114 because some responses didn’t really answer the questions or only answered one or two questions. Therefore, I am posting the responses that actually answered questions I posed.
Question: Do you only check the star ratings?
Yes — 10
No — 7
Several people said they check both the star ratings AND read reviews. I did not place these people’s answers in either of the specific questions.
Question: Do reviews mean more than stars when deciding to read or purchase a book?
Yes — 42
No — 1
Question: When writing a review, do you share your honest opinion?
Yes — 32
No one said they don’t share their honest opinion, but 13 people said if they can’t give at least a 3-star rating, they will not write a review.
However, 3 people said they would write an honest review even if they had to give less than a 3-star rating, but would be kind or would only share what the book is about.
There were 24 people who said they neither look at “star ratings” nor read reviews. They simply decide whether or not they want to read or purchase a book based on the back cover blurb.
I found this little survey a fun and interesting thing to do and I think it gave me a little insight into “star ratings” and reviews.
One person said, “Why wouldn’t someone write an honest review? The reviews are for the readers, not the writers.”
I found that comment extremely interesting, since so many writers place big importance upon reviews because good reviews can boost book sales. However, another thing quite a few people responded was that they only read books that have been recommended by friends or family members (ah yes, word of mouth — apparently still working today even with all of the technology).
Do you have an opinion? I’d love to hear your responses to these questions and this post. Feel free to leave a comment.