Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post here on Rainy Day Ramblings where I discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
This week's question:
Do you feel three star reviews are negative or positive?
The three star review.....who knew that it would stir up so much controversy? If you are wondering what I am talking about, you must be lucky enough to not have encountered someone complaining about a three star review. Many authors take offense to receiving a three star review as they feel it is not a positive review.
Since when is a three star review negative? A three star review, in my opinion, is a book that I liked, but I found that I had a few minor issues. It is still a book I would recommend reading, and by no means is it a negative review. To me, book review ratings should follow the bell curve.
Basically, book review ratings tend to follow the basic pattern of a handful of top ratings (five star), another larger cluster of four stars and then the majority of the reviews fall in the middle range, while a few go below with the two and one star ratings.
If you need more proof, go to Goodreads and pull up a book rating, pick any book, you will notice that most books have an average rating that is usually around three to four. It varies based on how many reviews there are, and of course, the book. Yes, there are some books that have a higher average, and those that fall below the three average, but for the most part, most books with a healthy number of reviews and ratings are right in the middle range.
Does that mean a book is average? That depends on who is reading and reviewing the book.
A book review is subjective. Two people can read the same book, and one might absolutely love it and give it a five star, while another may falter with the exact book and give it two stars. When averaged out, the rating is in that three star range.
For me, when I am checking out reviews and rating for a book, I expect to see a range of ratings, if most of the ratings are four to five stars, and there is a high number of reviews, I know this is a book that is exceptional, and I jump on board and check it out.
However, if I check out a review and see only a handful of reviews and all of them are five stars, I start to question the validity of the reviews. Usually, if a book has a small amount of reviews and they are all high ratings, I tend to think that the reviews are coming from friends, family, etc., and I skip the book.
You know when you grab a read that falls into the norm, that you are going to get a reasonably good read.
To all the people who criticize the three star review, and feel like the ratings should be four or higher, that will do nothing but change the scale. The four star review would become the new three.
If you read enough books, you will find that your average review rating follows the bell curve as well. For instance, My Goodreads average is 3.75 after reviewing for almost five years. I have rated close to nine hundred books. Most books I have read, fall right into the middle of the road, and then there are a few five star and a few two stars.
So bottom line, a three star review is by no means negative. It is a rating that shows the book is good, and in middle range. Not every book is going to be outstanding, and the more the five star rating is used, the less impact it has. I personally only give out around 10-12 five star ratings a year, and the same goes for the lower ratings.
How do you feel about the three star review? Do you think it is negative or positive?
Next week's TMST:
How likely are you to pick up a book outside your comfort zone if it's getting great reviews?