Do You Change Ratings? | Discussion

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I recently went through my “read” list in Goodreads, and while I was looking through the books I’ve read, I had several sudden impulses to change my ratingsโ€”I thought a few deserved an extra star, some I wanted to take away a star. These books were ones that I had written reviews for, in which I was quite positive with my feelings about them, which begs the question: should I change the rating? If so, wouldn’t this really override my original thoughts on this book?

Usually, when I finish reading a book, I immediately write my review. I do this because of a few reasons.

One: I have a bad memory, so if I write my review right after I read the book, it’s likely that I’ll have more insightful things to say.

Two: I’m trying not to procrastinate, and/or I have to submit my review to a publisher.

But I’ve found that writing reviews immediately after reading has a few problems. Well, first of all, I can change my initial thoughts, which include instances of “this book has lost its initial charm on me and I might take away that one star”s, and “I actually can’t stop thinking about this book and I’m going to add another star and no one can stop me (or can they)”s. And also, there’s really no room to take in what I read and mull over it a few days.

This brings about a few questions as well. Would it be better to write reviews right after readingย a book? Or would it be better to write the review after a few days or a week so I can really understand my feelings for this book?

Which brings up another point. If I review a book a few days after I read it, does that mean my initial thoughts are invalid or need to be corrected? I know many bloggers/reviews include an “initial thoughts” portion of their review, but I don’t know how I feel about that. Yes, it’s interesting to see how thoughts can progress or regress regarding overall feelings of the book, but if this is a book that’s reviewed for a publisher, how might that change the submissions of reviews?

I’m actually super conflicted about this. I readย this one book that I thought was pretty okay, a 3.5/5 (or 4/5 I can’t remember) star one that I reviewed right after reading, but after a few days, I realized that I loved it more than I realized; I wanted (still want, actually) to change it to a 5/5 star book. But the problem is, I still want to keep my initial review and thoughts but I’m not sure how I can change the rating without sacrificing my objectivity during myย reviewing process. I’m still thinking about how to approach this problem, but in the meantime, I’m totally welcoming any thoughts to help me solve it!

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So how about you? I know this is a really open topic and I really didn’t have an argument of any kind, but have you ever been in a situation like this? What did you do? What should I do about that one book I want to bump up a star? Or what would you do if you wanted to take a star away after further consideration? Let me know in the comments!

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40 thoughts on “Do You Change Ratings? | Discussion

  1. This is a really interesting discussion! I agree with all of your points, and sometimes I have rated a book really highly and then realised afterwards that it wasn’t that great. Great post!

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  2. This is something I’ve often thought over. Great discussion piece.

    My reasons for writing a review immediately after are pretty much the same as yours. (Particularly the bad memory.) I’ve also had my feelings change on certain books after leaving them to digest for awhile and would probably give them a different rating, but after long thought I’ve decided prefer to give my first reaction while I was reading the book. I feel like that’s my most truest impression of a book. So I don’t change my ratings regardless.

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  3. I actually write my thoughts down while reading the book so that after finishing it I can take a few days to reflect on what I’m feeling without forgetting anything. That way I hopefully don’t feel the urge to change the rating but it still happens sometime haha

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  4. I love this post. I often think about doing this because books that stay with me end up being better than I might have initially felt and other books aren’t nearly as good after the excitement wears off.

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  5. Great topic! I actually have been planning to blog about this topic, too. I write reviews a few days after I finish the book. I don’t want to leave it for longer because of the memory issue, but I also like to sit on it for at least a day to digest (also sometimes I just don’t have time right away). Then what I typically do is also sit on my review for at least a day – I never publish it right when I finish writing. I like to come back to it and reread it with a fresh mind after a day, and usually I change things. But looking back at books on Goodreads I read a long time ago, there are definitely books that I rated 4 or 5 stars that I don’t remember much about, and then books I rated 3 stars that I can’t stop thinking about. It’s strange just how much time can impact the impression you have of a book! Some might be great initially, but not have a lasting impact, and vise versa. I’ve changed a few Goodreads ratings because of this. Ultimately I think if a book lasts in your memory a good long while, it’s probably better than those you initially love but forget about. Phew, long comment! Great post!

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    • I really appreciate this comment! I wholly agree with a lot of what you saidโ€”my initial thoughts do change a lot as I spend more time thinking about them. I also do try to spend time thinking about my review and spend a little time away from it so I can come back to it and make any adjustments necessary. Thank you so much for your input!

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  6. This happens to me all the time! I’m like you in that if I’m reviewing a book, I need to do it right after I’m finished reading it, otherwise it’ll probably never get done. But my feelings usually change a lot. I don’t change my ratings though – I think I would go a little crazy. I’m planning to keep a journal where I take down notes so I don’t forget parts of the book, that way I can wait a few days and think about it before rating ๐Ÿ™‚

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  7. This is a very hard question to answer! My first impulse was to say: of course you can change the rating after some time! But then I thought while reading the book I am invested in the story and basically detach from the real world. After a few days I tend to connect what happend in the book to memories and notice the difference in my thinking (if there is any). So, I would say the immidiate review is kind of the essence, more of an emotian-bound rating and the one after some days or a week is more about facts and a lot more objective. Overall I would leave it at the original rating, but, if it feels necessary, include an edit at the end of it stating how your thoughts and feelings about it have changed and the ‘new’ rating. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  8. This is a great topic!
    I review books right after I read them and the pros and cons are the ones that you said.
    Maybe I should write my review, wait a few days, re-read the review and add a new part into it if I feel like something changed before publishing it.
    I don’t know, when I go through my read shelf in Goodreads, mostly with the first pages I feel like I should quit stars in some books but that might be a consequence of the time, that has been a long time since I read it.
    I don’t know if there is a right answer for this, maybe you sould start trying things and maybe you find something that works for you?
    Oh, and talking about the ones you want to change, I would change the rating but at the end or beginning of the review I would write something like *originally x/5 stars. I changed my rating after a few weeks/months(idk) because…* or something like that. I don’t know, these are ideas and what happens to me.
    Hope you can find a solution!

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  9. I think changing ratings is a really good thing (especially for people like me – and you, it would seem -, who rate books immediately after reading them), as giving myself some more time to let my feelings settle can help me to be more objective about a book. I don’t tend to do it that often, but in the case of series, or books that have similar topics or tones, I like to rate them as compared to each other…

    I actually just changed the rating of a book that I reviewed a couple of months ago, because it was throwing off the way I judged some of the other books I’ve read more recently. I’d given it 2 stars, since, even though I didn’t like it that much, it was still better than this other, truly terrible book I’d read just before. A little while afterwards, however, I came across a few very “meh” books, which I wanted to give 2 stars as well, but I ended up looking back at that old review and thinking that, if I’d given that book 2 stars, then these ones probably deserved 3… Which ended up meaning that the ratings of all my contemporaries were skewing much higher than books of a similar “good-ness” in other genres… :/ Eventually, I just dropped the rating on that first book, and left a note at the bottom of my review letting people know.

    Good luck finding a solution that works for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. I think if you want the best of both worlds you should have a follow up review. Like maybe a little mini thing where you reflect on books of the past and see if you feel differently or the same about them. I’m planning on rereading some books that I haven’t thought about to see if the same feelings apply years later. So maybe having a reread review or something might help. I think both views from the past and the present are valid they just change like we do.

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  11. Great discussion!
    I am actually really good at sticking to my opinions and ratings after reviewing a book so this isn’t really I problem I face. However if you do really different after reading and reviewing a book I say just put UPDATE at the end of your review and say why you are giving it taking away a star. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. I don’t often change a review, I think I have done it only like twice and the stars went down so I try to leave them as they were initially XD

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  13. Yes, I have definitely rethought my ratings often. Though, I haven’t actually come around to change any. I write my reviews right away too, mostly because of my bad memory too ๐Ÿ™‚ But I have realized that my mood definitely affects the rating that is why I on;y post good reviews. I have put aside books that I didn’t like and now I think they are AWESOME. Two examples: Ciinder and Miss Peregrine. Great Post Ali.
    BTW… I see you are reading End of Days! rate it 5 stars and then come back and add 2 more ๐Ÿ™‚ That series is GREAT ๐Ÿ™‚

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  14. I do occasionally change my ratings, but mostly to make them lower. I figure that if I didn’t rate a book five stars while I was reading it, it probably didn’t deserve those stars (since for me, if I have to question whether a book is five stars, it probably isn’t). But awesome discussion! It’s definitely a difficult one.

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  15. Agh, I had this exact same thing about a year ago when I started looking through some old reviews and thought all of my ratings were wrong. On one hand, reviews that I write immediately tend to me more in the moment and how I felt while reading the book whereas later on I might have analysed “problems” with the book more. So I feel like for me, writing a review sooner rather than later is a better representation of how I actually felt while writing the book. As for changing ratings, I’ve been tempted but I rarely do it because otherwise I think all of my ratings would go down. Great discussion topic!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

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  16. I’m all for changing reviews. Like you, I try to write down my thoughts on a book soon after reading it (definitely before I read anything else) so that I don’t forget what I loved or what annoyed me. I have the best recollection soon after reading. I don’t have the best objectivity.

    If the author pulled me in with a fun romance or funny dialog and I’m still riding that wave of excitement from the climax – it might get a star or two more than I think it deserves a few months later. That doesn’t change that I liked the romance or the dialog so I don’t feel the need to change my review – just the stars which (for me) express the extent of that love/like/apathy.

    Also rereading makes a difference. I’ve had books that were ok the first time through but then I reread them and suddenly like them a whole lot more – extra star for you! Maybe I’ll add a sentence to my review that says I liked it better after rereading it – but again, I don’t feel that the metric I use to rate/star books is absolutely connected to the text of my review. So I have no problem bumping stars around without feeling that it invalidates my initial thoughts or response.

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    • Those are some really interesting points you made! I totally agree, rereading a book can also change ratings a lot. It’s interesting that your rating isn’t completely connected to your reviews; you’re giving me a lot of good ideas about what I could do! Thank you, Annie!

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  17. Oh, this is an age-old book blogger question – one that we’ve all struggled with at one point or another. There are people who say you should go with your gut and rate based on your initial reaction and then there are those who say you should wait. I’ve gone back and forth on it, myself. I say, do what makes you happy and don’t worry about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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