Let’s Talk Bookish: Is 3 stars a good rating? – 600th BLOG POST!!

Happy Friday, readers, and welcome to my 600th blog post!!

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Today is a choose your own adventure day, so I’m doing one of the old prompts from before I started writing the Let’s Talk Bookish posts on my blog. The prompt I’ve chosen is Is 3 stars a good rating?


A lot of reviewers think 3 stars marks a book as bad; do you?

Book ratings are highly subjective and it depends a lot on the reader’s taste. For example, when I read books of genres I’m not accustomed to or generally dislike, my rating tends to be on the lower end. I also have certain pet peeves when it comes to certain tropes, especially in contemporary or fantasy novels which automatically reduce my rating. Basically, personal preferences play a major role in how a reader rates a book, so a rating often does not tell the whole story. A 3 star is on the poorer side for me, but could be an excellent read for someone else.

What makes you personally rate a book 3 stars?

I’m a rather stingy rater, but only towards the higher end. Most of my ratings are 4s and 3.5s. 3 stars is a rating I give out when I am able to finish the book, but it was either pretty mediocre or some or the other aspect of it didn’t sit right with me.

Do you hesitate to pick up books that seem to get a lot of 3 star ratings?

Goodreads has been my main source for finding new books to read for over a decade, and while I now use other sources like book blogs and Twitter, I still go back to Goodreads when I can’t decide. That said, the site does have its downsides, such as allowing reviews and ratings well before the book has been published, no half star ratings and so on. So I take the ratings with a pinch of salt – a general rule I use is to ignore Goodreads ratings for a book unless it has been out for more than 6 months, which is ample time for a decent number of genuine ratings to come in and for the two extremes to balance themselves out. Anything newer than that, I don’t use the rating to decide and instead rely on other methods like reviews from trusted bloggers. When I do look at ratings though, I’m generally very hesitant to pick up any book rated lower than a 3.8 star average and anything below a 3.5 is a definite no.

Do you think a 3 star rating is good, bad or neither?

I would say neither, because it depends on perspective of the reader. On my blog, a 3 star rating is not favorable and I’m unlikely to recommend any book with this rating unless it’s a serious case of ‘it’s me, not the book’. On the other hand, I’ve seen reviewers who are even more exclusive with their ratings and consider 3 stars to be very good. The bottom line is that a rating is meaningless without knowing the scale the reader or reviewer uses.


Do you think 3 stars is a bad rating for a book? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


18 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Is 3 stars a good rating? – 600th BLOG POST!!

  1. TheFantasticalWorldOfReading September 24, 2021 / 3:59 am

    I’m someone who isn’t afraid of giving 1 or 2 star ratings, but I do always try to elaborate on them. I just checked my average rating for this year and it’s 3.7. Last year it was 3.6. I like to use the whole scale so it’s easy to differentiate between books. With that, a 3 star for me is just above average.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) September 26, 2021 / 11:14 pm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! That’s quite interesting, I don’t think I’ve ever rated a book lower than 2.5 stars, but you make a good point about using the whole scale.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel September 24, 2021 / 7:42 am

    Congratulations on your 600th post, it is a brilliant milestone!
    Yes I consider myself lenient to 4 star ratings, I give them wayy too often haha. So 3 stars from me would mean the book was sub-par, mediocre at best.
    Loved the discussion!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mani September 24, 2021 / 9:19 am

    To me a 3 star ratings means it’s a average/good book, that the reader managed to finished, but there were things that didn’t work for them. I’ve read quite a few books that others have rated 3 stars but I’ve ended up loving and rated higher. On a few occasions the same has happened with lower rated books. I agree it does depend on the readers preference when it comes to star ratings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I'm All Booked Up YA September 24, 2021 / 12:04 pm

    Congrats on reaching 600 blog posts! For us, three stars means average. We enjoyed some aspects of the book, but wouldn’t read it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. readandreviewit1 September 24, 2021 / 12:46 pm

    Congrats on 600 posts – that’s crazy! I think for me personally a three star rating would be a bad one as most of my reads are four or five. I definitely agree with only recommending three star reads if it’s a case of me rather than the book though! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) September 26, 2021 / 11:20 pm

      Thank you! Yes I tend to rate most of my reads as 4 stars on average too, so a 3 is pretty bad and it’s quite rare that I would recommend any of them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Genie in a Novel September 24, 2021 / 2:50 pm

    I think they are. For me it’s usually a book I enjoyed but probably won’t read again. Anyway, I see nothing wrong with three stars. Once a book goes under that… forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) September 26, 2021 / 11:25 pm

      Thanks for reading! I agree, I probably wouldn’t reread a book I rated three stars either but it was probably an ok read atleast.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jaya Avendel September 24, 2021 / 4:17 pm

    Three stars on a book tells me it is a solid story that neither fails in delivery, but perhaps does not evoke strong enough emotional responses for readers to feel wowed. I would only recommend a book with an average of three stars IF the book summary is unique, clever, or entirely original.
    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) September 26, 2021 / 11:26 pm

      Thanks for reading! I totally agree, there have been so many books that had low ratings that I picked up anyway because the summary was so interesting and they turned out to be quite good!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Georgia @ Lost in Neverland September 26, 2021 / 4:12 pm

    For me 3 stars can either be good or bad, but it means I enjoyed some elements of the book, otherwise it wouldve been a lower rating!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mummyconqueringanxiety September 26, 2021 / 6:20 pm

    Congrats on the 600th post, that’s amazing. I think I’m on 15 (only started the blog about 5 weeks ago!)

    This is such an interesting point and some of it definitely has to come down to personal preference. Personally I would view a 3* rating as low, but then again it should be used if that’s the honest answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) September 26, 2021 / 11:33 pm

      Thank you, and welcome to the blogging community! I definitely agree it’s so important to rate books honestly!

      Like

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