Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Tuesday Thingers: How Important Are Ratings?
Tuesday Thingers is a weekly meme aimed at LibraryThing users and enthusiasts, hosted by Wendi of Wendi's Book Corner. (Thanks, Wendi!) And here's this week's topic:
Do you use a rating system on your blog? How do you feel about using the rating system provided on sites like Library Thing and Amazon? When looking up information on a book you are interested in, do you use the ratings provided by these sites (or similar sites) to help you make the decision on purchasing the book?
I know I'm a little late getting here this week, so I'll try to keep this short. No, I don't use a ratings system on my blog. I've thought about it, but I always talk myself out of it for some reason. I don't really have anything against ratings systems, per se. And I do occasionally use the ratings at Amazon or LibraryThing, etc., when I'm investigating a new title. Although if a book sounds interesting, I'm not likely to let a lack of high ratings put me off it. And you do have to be careful when you're looking at those ratings – if only one or two people have rated a work (like maybe the author and his mother), I would tend to discount that.
The problem with the "star" system of rating books is that I can never decide how many stars are enough. Should my top-rated, favorites-of-all-time volumes get five stars or six? Or more? Should I give "minus" stars for books I thought were real stinkers? Or should I take a simple thumbs up or down approach, like those famous movie reviewers?
No, that last one would never work for me – I'm not decisive enough to make it stick. And I suppose that tendency to waffle is the main reason I've never started a ratings system on my own blog. One thing I like about LibraryThing's system is that it permits you to give half-stars, which allows for a bit more fine-tuning. If I had to rate a book by giving it a thumbs up or down rating, I'd always be giving out half a thumb or a thumb plus a pinkie finger or something.