Random Musings : Is there such a thing as too high an average rating on GoodReads?

Posted May 31, 2014 by Nix in random musing, Random musings / 11 Comments

A friend, who isn’t a blogger but does review on GoodReads, complained that she thought her average star rating on GoodReads was too high. She thought that it sent out the wrong message, that it looked like she was ‘too generous” and this would mean that no one would take any-notice of her reviews. I was a little bit shocked that anyone would think that and then, a little while later, I wondered if other people thought the same.

My average review rating on GR is 4.22. It’s always been high and I’m good with this. I’m 30 years old and I’ve learned what I like in books and only read/request the books in these genres. This means that, the majority of time, the books I read I like. I’ve also rated over 700 books on there and that means that the odd one I don’t like, and there has been a few, won’t make a significant impact on my overall rating. There is a load of books that I haven’t finished but haven’t rated on GR because I simply can’t be arsed spending any more time on the books I don’t like (Side Note : I have no issues in writing a negative review. I only make a particular effort though if it’s requested review or I hated it because of bad editing).


When I look for friends on GoodReads, I never, ever look at the average rating of a person on there. Maybe that’s just me. I press the comparison button and see what books we have in common. I look at the %in common and then I’ll look at the books where we differ. I know I am in the minority with my opinion on particular books, that my personal opinion on certain themes doesn’t mesh with the majority of people who read in this genre (the Christine Feehan and Kresley Cole books are examples of this), so I know to discount ratings on those books, but what about my favourites? Do they like these? Have they then loved books that I haven’t read? That is the major thing I look for on GR; more books to love.

When I get a friend request, I honestly don’t care if the last 40 books that person read, they rated 5 stars. Maybe, like me, they have just learnt to be picky and don’t tend to rate/review the ones they hated but maybe I’m in the minority. And maybe other people are looking at my average rating and judging my reviews on the basis of it. I honestly hope this isn’t the case but I’m not willing to stick a load of negative reviews on there to bring it down as it feels forced and rather nasty.

So guys, I’m interested, what do you think of average ratings? Do you pay any attention? Do you look at some and think that people are over generous? Or do you look only at the ratings of particular books?

11 responses to “Random Musings : Is there such a thing as too high an average rating on GoodReads?

  1. Andrea M

    When I look at GoodReads or Amazon to check out a book, I ignore high and low ratings and read from the middle. I don’t necessarily use those to make my decisions but I’m looking for key words and hopefully eliminating bias.- just my quirk. For me, a 5* rating should be as rare as a 1* rating.

  2. Babs B

    I think I’m a lot like you. I just checked and I’ve rated 657 books on Goodreads with avg 3.81 rating. I usually know what I’ll like and gravitate to those books. I have books I haven’t finished–maybe lost interest, didn’t like, or will come back to so I haven’t rated them. I also compare books rather than look at avg rating when I get friend requests. Good post!

    • Thank you! I tend to be a “mood-reader” like you seem to be … sometimes I just I’m not in the mood to read a book!

  3. Susan

    I too am old enough to know what I like and what I don’t like so I tend to stick to books in those lines.. Looking at the middle range reviews like Andrea says is a good idea. When I do look at review, other than bloggers, it’s because I needed more info than the blurb gave and many people tell a lot of the story in their review. I’ve never looked at the average rating of a reviewer on Goodreads. Just never thought it was important.

  4. Mzcue

    Another great topic! I approach reviews differently from most. I’m not interested in warning anybody away from a book that I happened not to enjoy. My purpose is generally to share my reaction to books that delighted me. So…lots of fours and fives in my wake.

    I’m also different in how I approach reviews as a reader. Unless it’s an author I know nothing about, I actually avoid reviews before reading, mainly to avoid spoilers. However, once I’ve read a book, then I search out reviews on my favorite sites. For recommendations about new books, I tend to rely on favorites lists from a variety of places. I tend to avoid Goodreads reviews as a rule because I despise the video clips.

    • Oh, I am all about mini-spoilers but I hate it of people spoil big surprises. I am surprised by the dislike of GR that is showing up on this feed but I too hate the videos/GIF’s/pictures etc…

  5. Mandi

    I don’t finish books I don’t like & therefore feel unqualified to review them. I only leave 4 & 5 star reviews & I’m happy with that.

  6. Amy R

    I never actually checked my average or anyones til I read your post, mine is 675 books rated average of 4.39.

  7. Debbie

    I suspect authors seeking reviewers are more concerned with reviewer average rating than other readers (outside of comparing books or mistrusting anyone 5-starring or 1-starring everything or certain publishing categories).

    I will star rate books I don’t like, even if not finished , with one exception. I do that to avoid author in future, to not forget I already tried to read, to make sure doesn’t show in book recommendations….and I won’t waste more of my time on it explaining why rated.

    The exception? If book was just not for me so discarded too quickly to honestly rate. If I could pinpoint “why” not for me as something that might appeal to someone else (or a confusing product description misleading me)—I will take the time to point that out without starring.

    • Debbie

      like other posters, I tend to only pick books I am likely to rate highly and am old enough in my AARP dotage to be good at it, particulalry with so many ebook editions to sample free before reading. Every now and again goodread posts/reviews from friends or group discussions lead me astray and press me to persevere reading a book I will wind up loathing and starring badly.

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