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.
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.
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.