A few days ago I came across a blog post on Goodreads by an author complaining. The author’s main issue was that a reader came along and left a 1-star rating without a review. Her argument is that people should not be permitted to leave 1-star reviews without at least sharing a few sentences why.
By the end of the post it was established that the author:
- Feels that a review should always be posted with low-ball ratings.
- Feels that Goodreads should be regulated so that leaving a rating would also require a review.
- Believes that low ratings hurt book sales.
- Wants feedback from readers to help her understand exactly why they disliked it.
- Feels that because her average book rating is between 4-5-stars, the reader who rated her book 1-star may not have finished reading the book and carelessly left a low-ball rating.
Another author posted thoughts expressing that:
- People should leave reviews to show that they read the book. A minimum of 20 words should be required.
- Dropping a rating without a review is a cop-out.
I think it’s the reader’s choice, but I also understand how this can be difficult for authors. I’m not an author, but I do have friends that are authors and know that much time and work goes into writing a book. I also know that much time and work goes into reading and reviewing as well. Here are some of my thoughts…
- Reviews are considered optional on Goodreads and some people don’t want to express anything negative for fear of being attacked. If a person doesn’t want to leave a review, I think it’s their right.
- I think for authors this is just something you have to get used to, right? I don’t mean that in a rude way and I’m not an author, but all books are bound to be hated by someone. Best-selling authors even get low ratings. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rated a book 4 or 5-stars and then a friend rates it 1-star or vice versa. Reviews and ratings are subjective, and we’re all so different. Seeing a few low stars on a book won’t stop me from picking it up.
- I don’t think Goodreads should be regulated to require reviews. Many people on Goodreads never review and only rate; they use Goodreads to mainly keep track of their books or for other reasons. If Goodreads started requiring reviews, it seems like it would become extremely boring because many people would leave. I also feel that this would hurt authors in the long run. I haven’t been able to find a single book on Goodreads that doesn’t have more reviews than ratings. For example, a book I’m reading right now has over 2,000 ratings but only 177 actual reviews.
- I’ve rated scads of books and decided to forgo writing a review. Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking about a book or simply don’t have the time. I often struggle to get my thoughts down and writing reviews is time consuming for me.
- The author doesn’t seem to be complaining about high ratings lacking a written review. How is a 1-star rating without a review any less legit than a 5-star rating without a review?
What do you think? Do you think it’s okay to rate and not review? What about rating a book 1-star and not reviewing it? Is it fair to authors? Please feel free to share your thoughts.