On Amazon, a one-star rating is “I hate it.” On Goodreads, “Did not like it.”
Let me start by saying I seldom use the word “hate” in any situation, and if I do, it’s usually in anger over something profoundly evil. And books I don’t like are not necessarily evil.
Anyway, I don’t ever give fiction a one-star rating because if I think the work is poorly written or not a story I would like, I don’t read very far into it. And if I don’t read the whole story, I don’t rate it.
I can usually determine from the first few pages, first chapter, or a sneak peek of the middle that I won’t enjoy a particular book, but that doesn’t mean the next person won’t. With excerpts available in so many places online, including author websites and reviewer blogs, I don’t think a reader needs my one-star rating of a novel or novella to decide whether to read it. For me, if an excerpt doesn’t grab me, I don’t buy the book — and probably won’t look for it at the library either.
I’ll often give an author a second chance if I reject the first of his or her novels I pick up (not always the first one written). Most of the time, I’m glad I did.
This brings me to the other rating levels.
On Amazon, two stars mean “I don’t like it.” On Goodreads, “It was okay.” To me, there’s a huge difference between them. I give two stars to a book on Goodreads if I was able to stick with it and read all the way through but it didn’t impress me in any way (therefore, it was okay). On Amazon, “It was okay” would be three stars, whereas three stars on Goodreads is “Liked it.”
The rest of the rating systems for Amazon and Goodreads compare as follows:
4 stars: Amazon – I like it. Goodreads – Really liked it.
5 stars: Amazon – I love it. Goodreads – It was amazing.
If I review a book on one site, I copy and paste the same review on the other, but my star ratings usually differ. For a book I “liked” on Goodreads (three stars), I “like it” (four stars) on Amazon. For a book I enjoy a lot, if I “Really liked it” on Goodreads (four stars), it’s probable “I love it” on Amazon (five stars).
Good books are like my friends. If I “really like” you, you can assume that I love you too (in a nonromantic way).
Do you rate books on either site? What are your personal rating criteria? Do you ever stop reading a book because you don’t like it, or force yourself to read one, and then give it a low rating?