Ratings are complicated creatures. Every rating means different things to different people, and there has been a lot of discussion around the topic, particularly around 3 star ratings. Most people seem to agree that a 3 star rating is a positive rating, but my feelings are a little more complicated than that.
Here is what a 3 star rating means to me:
- There were parts that I liked, but also a few major problems.
- I would probably be interested in reading a sequel, but it isn’t something that I would be running to the bookstore to buy it. I might pick it up at the library, or purchase it as a paperback, if I do pick it up.
- It didn’t leave much of a mark on me. I will probably forget about it soon, since there was nothing outstanding or special about it.
- In one word: Meh
The problem is, I don’t want to read “meh” books. I want to read books that change lives, that inspire, that cause tears, that cause laughter. I want to read AMAZING books. If I see that a books has a lot of 3 star ratings, then I probably won’t be reading that book because to me, a 3 star rating is not necessarily a “good” rating. It’s decent, but not great.
A while ago, I read this wonderful post by Dayna @ Fine Print, where she makes quite a few excellent points. For example, do you know what happens when a 3 star rating is turned into a percentage? 3/5 stars is equivalent to 60%. As Dayna says, that is definitely not a great mark. I loved Dayna’s post because I thought this point was absolutely perfect, and so true.
I was curious about what others thought about 3 star ratings, so I hopped on Goodreads and Amazon to see what their rating scales meant. On Goodreads, a 3-star rating is seen as “I liked it.” On the other hand, a 3-star Amazon rating is “it’s ok.” Personally, I lean more towards Amazon’s rating of “it’s ok,” because the book was decent but I won’t be jumping around shouting “READ IT NOWWWW!!!”
A 3-star rating is easy to distinguish from a 2 star rating, or a 4 star rating. A 4 star rating is given to a book that I really enjoyed, one of that I probably would be jumping around about, whereas a 2 star rating is reserved for books that I didn’t enjoy very much at all. A 3-star falls in the middle. It has characteristics of a great book, as well as characteristics of a not-so-great read.
That is what a three star rating means to me. A 3-star book has good elements, but it also has flaws. I didn’t love it. If I read it as an ARC, I doubt that I would buy a finished copy for my shelves. The book was just okay. This is a complicated topic though, and I’m sure that many of you have different thoughts on this than me. I would love to hear your thoughts!
What does a 3 star rating mean to you?