Stars Upon Thars

What is your immediate reaction to seeing a book or other item that has between three and four stars?

I’m asking because I feel like this is the grayest area when it comes to ratings. 1-2 stars = “not good at all” to “not very good.” And 4-5 stars = “pretty good” to “excellent.” So what’s 2-3 and 3-4?

You’ll notice I’m not talking whole numbers so much as ranges. This is because things seldom have a whole number rating. 4.2 is really good. 3.6 is . . . what? 2.8 is almost a 3, so . . . ???

If you look at it as grades, 5 stars = 100% and 4 stars = 80%. That’s already a B. So is 3 stars a failing grade?

Goodreads helps the process by giving phrases for what each star rating should mean:

In this case, 3 stars isn’t awful. Even 2 stars “passes.”

Yet when I look for things to buy, I often only want 4 stars or better. That’s products, though; I might be a little more forgiving when it comes to books and look at something in the 3-4 star range if it sounds interesting enough. If a book is hovering between these two, I’ll read the blurb along with any reviews to see what the perceived problems were before deciding.

What about you? How do star ratings affect how you shop? And are you okay with 3-star books or do you feel like those aren’t good enough? That a book really needs to be at least 4 stars before you give it a chance?

2 thoughts on “Stars Upon Thars”

    1. Yeah, some authors I’ll just pick up their books without even looking at star ratings. I already know I’m probably going to like whatever they write—some books more than others, but I consider them “reliable” authors. If it’s an author who is new to me, though, I will look at the ratings and read the reviews. If there’s a sample, I’ll read that too. The sample probably holds more sway with me than the reviews. If I like what I read, I’ll get the book. If I don’t, no matter how many other people say it’s a 5-star book, I’ll pass.

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