I’ve been checking out Goodreads reviews a lot more lately and I’ve noticed a trend happening that made me look up my ceiling and wonder why? The Goodreads reading and reviewing system works it’s best when reviewer do their part and rate books they spent hours reading and reading so they could share their thoughts. However, the integrity of that system is lost when people start rating books they never read a word of. 

This is a trend that I’m simply NOT ok with. For one thing this is a matter of respect. Of respecting authors and frankly other reviewers that may or may not be interested in a book but then see the sea of 1 stars from people who haven’t even read the book and think “That book must be terrible there is no way I’m reading that.” You cannot judge a book that you have not read. You might be able to see if you are interested in it based on reviews, blurbs, the author, and the cover itself, but you CANNOT rate it if you never took the time to open the book and read it. 

This goes for those who rate a book 5 stars without having read it as well. It is a false rating of the book and messes with the average rating that would be a helpful score for people to look at if only those who read the book actually rated it. 

The worst thing is though, there is a way to share your thoughts about a book without rating it. If you want to say that your not interested in reading let’s say “The Diviners” (an amazing book btw) don’t rate the book 1 star and start complaining about why you don’t want to read it. You can share why, but just don’t rate the book. Hell, talk about it while commenting on others reviews, but do NOT rate the book. 

*disclaimer* this is in no way related to reviewing books you have DNF’ed, as long as you didn’t DNF page 1 then you probably read enough to rate the book and talk about what went wrong for you. 

I’ve been seeing this trend way too often recently and I’m desperate for it to stop. There is honestly no reason for anyone to try and rate or essentially grade something that they’ve never even looked at. It saddens me at some primal level. 

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic! (Even if you do not agree with me) I’m sorry if this was a little ranty, I have just seen this too often lately and I’m fed up and tired of it. 

-Till next time!


50 thoughts on “Goodreads, Posting Star Ratings on Books you Haven’t Read: A Discussion

  1. I’ve seen this happen a lot and it’s such shame. I don’t think it is right and I feel people should judge the book for themselves before giving it a rating. I sometimes will rate books I DNF but that’s only if I really strongly disliked it or I read majority of it and had to stop. I try not to rate ones I’ve only read a little of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s understandable. Like I said it’s fine to rate a book you DNF’d it’s good to talk about what stopped you from continuing in that situation.

      It really is as you’ve said a shame. It seems to be happening more and more and I wish it would stop.


  2. OH GOD YES. It actually messes the average rating of a book and thought it’s amazing, people don’t read it just because of the average rating. Honestly, if you have to put up a rating, then READ the book before you do that. What if the book is terrible and you just randomly hand it a 5 star rating without even opening a page? THAT’S THE WORST. *you as in someone else😂* Plus, this happens a lot with hyped new releases. I’m like, “Oooh look at this. It’s got so many good ratings* and then I look up the release date of the book. Guess what? It hasn’t even released yet. I get it. People get excited for the sequels of their favourite books, but WHY WHY WHY. JUST WHY DO YOU WANT TO RATE IT BEFORE YOU’VE READ IT? 😧

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is SO TRUE! It’s especially upsetting because you can comment under the book without rating it to show your interest or disinterest in a book. The worst part of it for me is in fact the messing of the average rating. That’s the first thing people see when they look at a book in Goodreads and it is a big factor in deciding if a book will be read for a lot of people. I just got so frustrated with seeing this that I had to speak out about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. 100% agree with this! This is why I don’t bother looking at the average ratings of books on Goodreads anymore..

    It also annoys me when people rate a book that doesn’t release for like another year *cough* Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff *cough*
    That is just annoying, using Obsido as an example, they haven’t even finished writing the book as far as I can tell, it’s not released for another 11 month or something, so there is no way that anyone can have read it yet! So why is there 39 5 star ratings, 4 4 star ratings & 1 1 star rating?! I just don’t get it..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. EXACTLY! It doesn’t make any sense! It messes with the integrity of the system and it kinda makes me sad. Your example is perfect, because no matter how excited you are you can’t just rate a book that doesn’t yet exist in a lot of ways that’s even worse.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. SHAME SHAME SHAME on people who do this! I hate that this is a thing. You are so right! They should either write about it without rating or comment on another review. There’s no reason for them to bring down the beautiful rating system just because they THOUGHT (without reading that) a book wasn’t great. Ugh.😓

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This comment made me laugh so much! I’m just imagining you as a teacher just yelling SHAME at all the people scorning them with a wand in your hand. The rating system is Beautiful but this trend is tarnishing that beauty and I’m not happy at all about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This trend came to my attention when I looked up Patrick Rothfuss’s Doors of Stone). It doesn’t even have a publication date yet, but has over 2,000 starred ratings and 329 reviews, one of which is the author stating that if anyone has a copy of the book to please send it to him so he can just publish it 😀

    I really don’t understand why Goodreads allows this to happen. Even Amazon, which owns Goodreads, doesn’t open up reviews until after a book has been published.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree that this is a trend that should die, but I’m not sure how Goodreads could go about stoping it, since there is the matter of ARC reviews. This also doesn’t simply happen on Goodreads. On the Indigo (Canadian bookstore) website, there were 10+ reviews for ACOWAR before it was even released, all basically saying “can’t wait”. There was even a review that made it seem as if they had read it already. Everything about this trend is just really frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree, it really aggravates me when people rate a book they haven’t read because it doesn’t make sense, and it’s so disrespectful when they give a low rating. But like you said, even the 5-star ratings are aggravating because then it might mislead other readers. Personally I don’t pay attention to the overall rating when I’m deciding on books, so that one doesn’t really affect me, but it still doesn’t make sense. And like you said, people could so easily still post their thoughts without putting a rating.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s so irritating. It’s also a really strange thing to do. I don’t quite understand it, I mean sure, you don’t think people should read a certain book but using your words to tell people not to read that certain book is a lot more effective than giving it one star without having read it. Leaving ratings without reading also reduces your credibility so it’s bad all round.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I noticed this quite a while ago. Reviews were coming out for books that’s said “can’t wait for this book!” Attached to a 5 star rating. Wait a minute – I know you’re excited but how can you rate something you haven’t read. Just the same as I’ve seen 1 star ratings with reviews saying “all this author writes is awful”….. but you didn’t read it! I stopped putting any faith into the rating of books a while ago

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Very well said. It was meant to be a system for book readers to gauge the ratings before they picked it up. Since it’s being misused the system no longer works like it should. I guess we just have to trust in other bloggers and book lovers for their thoughts and opinions!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Hear, hear Tiana! I just wrote a longggg blog post on this over the weekend because I was utterly flabbergasted to find that there are a number of books (specifically YA fantasy books) that a small chunk of readers have taken to 1-starring because of things they “heard” about the book via twitter or a review they read. It’s appalling behavior any way it’s done in my opinion, but it’s worse when it’s towards a debut author. As a writer myself, I cannot imagine how hurt I would be if I spent years on a project, finally got it published, and then had the Twitter and Goodreads community decide it was terrible months before it was even published.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true!!! The author standpoint is also one that I thought about while I was writing this post. One book that has 1 star reviews due to the twitter/basing your rating on other reviews instead of reading the book itself is Ramona Blue. That one is interesting because people started rating it 5 stars to try and combat the unfair 1 star reviews. It’s all so convoluted and yucky.

      I’d be happy to read your post if you sent me the link!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think it happens just as bad with fake five star reviews. People will get so hyped for a book and instead of just adding it to their “want to read” or posting something about how excited they are, they automatically go and rate it five stars…before any review copies or ARCs have gone out. That drives me crazy. This morning I went on the page for The Becoming of Noah Shaw, because I just heard it’s happening, and there are 74 five star reviews that all start with something like “AHHHH I’m so excited.” Kills me.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m not on Goodreads, but I totally agree! It’s throwing off the average rating for people who genuinely want to know whether they should read it or not, and you shouldn’t say a book is 1 star or 5 stars if you haven’t read it — ESPECIALLY because other people say it’s 1 star or 5 stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I used to rate books one-star if it was due to an author, such as in the Kathleen Hale incident, but I don’t anymore. If there’s a book I don’t want to read, I just put it on my ‘abandon ship’ shelf and move on so I know not to read it. I don’t think I’ve ever rated a book five-stars before I’ve read it in my entire life, even for authors that I really, really love.

    I agree with you. That’s why I stopped. It messes with the rating and how the book is received, and I don’t want to be a part of that system.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly I want to thank you for this comment. It’s easy to get upset about a book and rate it one star even if it’s just due to the author. An abandon ship shelf is a much better way of handling it. I think it’s awesome that you are so honest about it! A lot of people wouldn’t want to admit that on a post like my own. 👍😄

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My gosh, I completely agree! This is something that’s annoying me more and more these days. If you love the series, that’s great but don’t go rating the book before it’s even been released. It completely messes with the average (something I’m almost ashamed to say I probably pay wayyyyy too much attention to these days) and more importantly, the book could end up completely sucking. Extremely frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

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