Goodreads Ratings - rating before you've read the book

Rating a book on Goodreads before you've even read the book, is a topic I feel very strongly about. I recently saw some ratings on Goodreads that came from people who hadn't even read the book they'd rated, so I thought I'd do a blog post discussing that. 
Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts because I really want to know what you guys think! 

High Star Ratings

Last week, I was scrolling through the Goodreads reviews for A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews. It's obviously a hugely hyped book, and from what I've seen it looks brilliant. Cait is popular - people are excited for her book. It makes sense.

But then I saw that someone had rated the book 5 stars. And they hadn't even read it. They said something along the lines of "because I love Cait I'm so excited for this book", and then they'd rated it 5 stars.

That makes me furious. Yes, I'm sure the book is good, and yes, Cait may be an amazing writer, but you are rating her book based on your opinion of the author and based on your surface-level reaction to the book. You haven't read it, but you think you're gonna like it so you're rating it 5 stars.

That's dishonest. It's misleading for other readers, and it's deceptive. I don't think you should rate a book highly simply because you think you'll like it - you don't know if you will, and you haven't even read it so how can you make that claim?

Low Star Ratings

Remember all the controversy over Laurie Forest's The Black Witch? People were hating on that book, and I mean trolling. The hate was unparalleled. Hating on a book is for another discussion, but the thing that gets me with that particular case was that most of the people rating The Black Witch 1 star and writing rant reviews hadn't even read the darn thing. They were getting worked up over reviews from other people who'd read the book, and from what they had seen from other people, the book was awful and deserving of hate. But most of them hadn't read the book themselves!

That's inexcusable. You're hating on a book that an author has spent time and money on, and you're rating it 1 star because you think it deserves that.
That's cruel. That's malicious. It's unfair and totally insulting for the author. You have no right to subject a book to a negative review and low star rating when you haven't even read the book yourself.

I would love to rate Fifty Shades of Grey 1 star on Goodreads. I'm sure that it deserves that, and I'm sure that when I do eventually read the book I will end up giving it 1 star (or less...). But until I've read the book, I simply can't rate it with a clear conscience. It wouldn't be right. It wouldn't be fair. It would be completely cruel, selfish, and arrogant. Until I've read the book and formed a strong opinion on solid grounds, I can't subject the book to any rating. There wouldn't be a legitimate reason for me to rate it.

In Conclusion...

But so what? What do ratings matter anyway? What difference do they make?

They matter. They make a lot of difference. Every single rating goes towards the book's overall average, which can be a deciding factor in the book's popularity and whether or not someone picks it up to read. By giving a book 1 star when you haven't even read it, you are hurting the author, the publisher, and your fellow readers. You're being incredibly selfish.
If you rate a book 5 stars without reading it, you're being misleading, and you're perhaps giving the book praise that it might not deserve. What if you rate a book 5 stars, popularize it, then when you read it you realise it's actually extremely racist? (For example).

My point is, you need to be able to back up your opinions when you rate or review a book. The best way to do that is by reading the book. If you rate a book positively or negatively on Goodreads without actually reading the book in question, you're discrediting yourself, the author, and the book. You're being cruel and selfish.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Do you think it's wrong to rate a book you haven't even read? Please let's discuss! 

No comments