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All Things Writing & Publishing > How do ratings and reviews affect decision to read the book?

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Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I don't care about ratings because they are so subjective but I pay a lot of attention to reviews. With the exception of a precious few authors who are an auto-buy for me I never buy a book without reading the reviews. I linger over them and look for certain things because wasting my time on crap books burns me up.

message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13804 comments I pick books solely from recommendations, so ratings and reviews have little meaning to me. My cousin is my BookBub -:) - he's a real bookworm. He reads hundreds and recommends me the best, so I know the chances I'd be disappointed are slim

message 4: by M.L. (new)

M.L. The sample and the cover - or the other way around, cover and sample. The cover has to attract. The sample has to reinforce. If there are a zillion 5*s, I will still read the sample.

message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13804 comments Melanie wrote: "Believe me it has hurt, a lot!!!..."

Sure, if someone slams without even reading, it's undeserved and hurts -:(
Heroin is a very dangerous drug

message 6: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments for fiction, reviews mean nothing to me.

if there are thousands of titles in the search results, I try to narrow it down by the average rating. This is applicable to both fiction and non-fiction.

for non-fiction, after narrowing the results down, I go through the reviews. I typically look at the latest reviews. if the last review was over a year ago, I move on to the next book, unless that book is the only one available. I also prefer books that have more than 5 reviews.

message 7: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments Review content is important to me. Ratings not so much.

message 8: by Alex (last edited Oct 20, 2016 01:30PM) (new)

Alex (asato) this study (which I'm reading now) concluded that ratings (not reviews) by themselves (that is, w/o reading reviews and other external influences) rarely positively affect the decision to read the book, but, otoh, negative ratings by themselves do influence readers to not read the book.

in other words, from an author perspective, we really need to avoid those negative ratings more than look to get more positive ones.

message 9: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I like to read reviews, and they are my first port of call when I'm checking a book out.

message 10: by Kent (new)

Kent Babin | 176 comments I try to avoid ratings and reviews as much as possible. I really don't want other people's opinions to cloud my own before I read the book. All I need is for the genre to be one I like, the setting/time period to be interesting, and the description to clearly explain what I'm about to read.

message 11: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 13 comments Readers these days go by reviews & ratings. I don't. I have read some entertaining books that were considered badly done and a few were by trad pub houses. It's a shot in the dark. What I like don't necessarily mean you will too. I could hate on what you love and vice versa. These days I don't hold much stock for chasing reviews and high ratings and have quiet releases. I have much more other work to worry about...

message 12: by Nihar (new)

Nihar Suthar (niharsuthar) | 38 comments I've found that putting a note in my book towards the last chapter when I send them to readers or give them to people at events helps me get a lot more reviews. I simply remind the reader to write a review and talk about how much it helps authors out. Perhaps this might work for some of you!


message 13: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Nihar - sounds like good advice.

message 14: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 685 comments Melanie wrote: "I think people's rating mean a lot to readers!! I asked a reviewer to review my book, after she asked several questions, she decided she would not read/review my book and marked it "not safe". Now ..."

That sucks Melanie :( Even more so since there is little as authors that we can do about it.

message 15: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 685 comments Melanie wrote: "I have a question, so feel free to jump in!! Many times when I have read a book, the 1-5 star rating page, to leave a ranking, is at the end of the book. Who puts that there, the author or a publis..."

I can't swear to it but I think Amazon puts that there...

message 16: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 62 comments I put more stock in reviews than star ratings.

Meaning... if I see someone give a book one star, but there's no corresponding review, then I'm not going to pay that one star much mind (this is true whether it's my book or someone else's). If that one star comes with an actual review describing why that rating was given, that's different.

And I don't count a one-sentence "review" like "That sucked." Because there's no telling how true that review is; it could be a troll review, for all I know.

Don't just hand out stars; explain why.

message 17: by J.D. (last edited Oct 20, 2016 11:23PM) (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 62 comments Alex G wrote: "...we really need to avoid those negative ratings more than look to get more positive ones."

Almost impossible, given how subjective book tastes are. Sure, you can make sure your work is properly edited and formatted and looks as professional as possible... but if someone doesn't like your story, they don't like your story. In a lot of ways, this is out of our hands as authors.

message 18: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 685 comments J.D. wrote: "Alex G wrote: "...we really need to avoid those negative ratings more than look to get more positive ones."

Almost impossible, given how subjecting book tastes are. Sure, you can make sure your wo..."

Well said J.D. :)

message 19: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan J.D. Agreed.

message 20: by Zee (new)

Zee Monodee (zee_monodee) | 0 comments I tend to check for the 1-2 star reviews before I buy a book that is higher than $2.99 (that and below are auto buys and I won't be too sad for losing the money if the book sucks. But more, I get thrifty, LOL)
Usually, when I don't like a book or DNF'd it, I will see echoes of what I didn't like in the 1-2 star reviews, so I know to read them now before I get the book. If it's something I can live with (maybe character was unsympathetic for a reader), I can give it a go. But sometimes, red flags pop up (TSTL heroine, for example), and I take those into account.

message 21: by Mehreen (last edited Oct 21, 2016 07:34AM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Ratings and reviews are partially important. There are lots of other factors that can influence book purchase. Word of mouth could be one, awards could be another, yet people tend to buy books written by acclaimed writers. However, never judge a book by its cover.

message 22: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2151 comments Neither really affect my decisions, but I actually look for the reviews that come with the 1- and 2-stars. While I am skeptical of reviews at both ends of the spectrum, people who give 5 stars in my experience don't tell you much about the book - at most they just recap the plot which I could have gotten in the description. People who review negatively tend to tell you more about what to expect - the things others have problems with don't usually bother me, but it lets me know what to expect from the story more than the glowing reviews, or even the blurb do.

For an example, take a look at the reviews for Starship Troopers. It gets about as much love as it does hate. Those who hate it aren't afraid to tell you the book is nothing like the movie, that the action of the film only encompasses three chapters throughout the entire book. I was one of those that love the story of the hero and his training, but all the haters let you know not to expect the movie between the cover.

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