Changing Your Book Ratings: Discussion

Hi everyone! Today I’m doing another discussion post, this time I’m talking about changing your ratings after you’ve read and rated the book. This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, mostly because of how I rate books after I’ve finished them versus how I feel a while after I’ve read them.

In order to fully share my thoughts, I want to talk about how I rate the books that I read. Generally, I’ll finish a book and because I have a tendency to forget things, I’ll immediately mark it as read on Goodreads so that the date finished gets marked correctly. When you finish a book on Goodreads, it asks for your rating and so usually my rating is based off how I felt about the book right after finishing it. Then usually my review (if I remember to write one) happens a few days later.

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So that brings me to changing ratings. I’ll find sometimes that as I’m reviewing a book, I’ll find more things that I didn’t necessarily like about the book, and will start to second guess my ratings. The other times that I’ll thing about changing my ratings is usually when I’m perusing my spreadsheet of books that I’ve read and see how many books I’ve rated highly, but realize that I don’t always remember too much about the book or why I liked it so much.

It seems that a lot of people do change their ratings after they’ve finished a book, but the majority of people actually are upping their rating, and rarely lower a rating. I find that because the way I read and rate books, I would be mostly lowering the ratings. For example, I recently read and reviewed From Blood and Ash and I rated it 4 stars right after I finished it. However, when writing my review I realized that there were some parts of the book that I really DIDN’T like at all, and it seemed like it should be more of a 3 star read for me.

Personally, I think it’s okay to change ratings whether your upping the rating or lowering it, but I also find that I get a little nervous about lowering a rating. As someone who wants to be a reliable source for book reviews, I don’t want people to notice that my ratings change and think that I’m not being honest. That however, is probably something that no one would ever think, because opinions about books can change and also, I highly doubt someone is keeping track of what I’ve rated books and if I’ve changed them.

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This entire topic of changing ratings could also delve into do star ratings even matter, and they kind of go hand in hand.

For me, star ratings are something that I don’t often think of while I’m reading a book, and to be honest I don’t feel that they help much when it comes to determining if a book is something you want to read. I’d much rather read a review or two than rely on star ratings alone, so changing the ratings to more accurately reflect my thoughts and feelings shouldn’t actually matter too much to people who care about the content of the review.

Honestly, sometimes I don’t even worry about including ratings on my blog, there are quite a few reviews that have no ratings attached. However, ratings are such a large part of being a book blogger and reviewer that you can’t completely disregard a rating.

Changing ratings can ALSO feed into how we as a book community handle problematic books and authors. I recently saw a tweet of someone pointing out a book has been written by a problematic author and the book may or may not have included that content as well, and there was a response from someone saying that they changed their rating to 1 star. I don’t really know if I agree or disagree with changing ratings for books like that. I guess that would depend on the level of problematic material (also I think we tend to throw around the word problematic way too much in the book community).

I think on the surface, this is a simple question. Yes, you can (and should) change and update your ratings. But once you start to really delve into what leads you to change ratings and if rating even matters, it becomes a more difficult question.

What do you think about changing ratings? Have you ever changed ratings on books, either to add a star or remove a star? What’s influenced you to change ratings?

20 Comments on “Changing Your Book Ratings: Discussion

  1. Every year as I do my wrap up I always check to see if I feel the same way about the books I have read. I tend to always lower my rating I don’t think I have ever upped my rating. I plan to mention that I have amended my rating after looking back in my final wrap up, if I feel like I need to.

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  2. I have a hard time changing ratings, especially on ARCs. I feel if i don’t rate from just the review I’m not being real enough for the publisher and author.

    I’ve seen on NetGalley where a reviewer will change their review on their personal blog from what it was on the review on NG. It seems disingenuous to me to not be honest with ratings for the author to see and feed off of. Sometimes it’s the initial way they know to fix some errors in content, grammar etc…
    Usually when I change a rating it’s on Goodreads and I’ll place it as a second read. That seems a little more genuine since people tend to mature as they read. If I don’t mark it as an additional read then, I change review with an asterisk and reason for change in first sentence, then keep original review after change reasons.

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    • Luckily I haven’t come across an arc yet that I’ve wanted to change the rating of, but I think if that were to happen I would do what you said and leave a note on goodreads as to why I lowered the rating.

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  3. I do tend to change my book ratings at times, most recently I did that with Mexican Gothic I rated it around 4 stars but after sitting in it for a while I thought I would reduce the rating and that has happened with a lot of books like Fangirl, Turtles all the way down
    Sometimes in the moment when I am riding the book high, especially after an epic ending I tend to wanna give books a higher rating completely neglecting the beginning 😅 the CAWPILE system has helped me think more about my ratings though so I tend not to do that any more

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  4. I feel like how I feel thinking about the book is how I should rate it, and I’ve noticed I tend to like books more after thinking about them for a day or two (maybe more) than right after finishing them. However, I’m not the greatest fan of rating systems. Reviews are better. I like books in such different ways, and the rating system really isn’t subtle enough to capture that, and making it 10 instead of 5 is not what I’m thinking of; that might help a little, but it still would not capture the subtlety of different kinds of liking, so I value reviews much more! As I’ve said, even if you hate a book and give it a 1-star, if you write an honest, forthright review about it – even about what you did not like – someone can read it and think, “But I like that kind of thing!” and the same is true in reverse for an in-depth 5-star review.

    When it comes to content, I suppose there’s some content that might make me hate a book, but I think it not improbable that the ‘writing community’ throws the word ‘problematic’ around too much. It’s not like we authors don’t sometimes write something into a book because we are thinking/have thought about it and want others to get a chance to do so too: it might not be a characterization of what we think, but an attempt to grapple with a problem, for example.

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    • I agree with what you said about using problematic, sometimes the intention is to create a discussion about certain topics. I also don’t think the rating system is very nuanced, and I also rely on reviews more than I do star ratings, but if you think about it, there are plenty of people out there who aren’t book reviewers and bloggers who see a rating and take it as is, and if they don’t read the review associated with that rating they may not understand what each person’s take on the rating system may be. Everyone has a slightly different way that they rate books, and we aren’t really reviewing books for other reviewers necessarily, but for other readers (not just those who review books).

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      • hehe. I’ve actually reviewed books fewer times than I could count on my hands, so far. I know that when I look for what to read, I don’t pay much attention to star ratings: after all, different people like different things, and I might hate what some one else loves. I’m more interested in what the reviewer had to say about the book itself, as opposed to their likes or dislikes! So, yea, I know some people are different, and on the rare occasions when I do review, I try to star reasonably accurately.

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  5. I definitely think it is okay to change your rating! First of all your rating, so do with it what you want. But also sometimes you need a little time to gather your thoughts, and then you realize your rating and thoughts do not match!


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  8. I feel like changing a rating is pretty rare for me! Usually I just mark the book as read on Goodreads and don’t rate it until after I’ve completed the review. If I felt extremely conflicted about a book I might end up revising days after I finish a review, but in general that doesn’t happen. Lately I haven’t been writing the review until a day or so after finishing the book so I have enough time to form my thoughts on it.

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    • That’s true, I always forget that you can skip the rating on Goodreads because once you mark it read it prompts you to put a rating in! I may need to start skipping the rating until I write my reviews.

      Liked by 1 person

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