Feral Friday - Rating unread books on Goodreads

Hi everyone! It is time for another Feral Friday!

Feral Friday is more of an opinion piece… and I certainly have an opinion about this topic! It really does make me feral.

When people rate books on Goodreads when they haven’t read the book.

I HATE IT!!! (with a few expletives in there too). I honestly, truly and passionately hate it when people rate a book on Goodreads when they haven’t read the book.

Why? Well, for multiple reasons really.

I just don’t understand why someone would do it? What is the point? There are multiple answers to this I guess: to annoy others, to show their excitement, to solidify their dislike for an author’s work… the list goes on. But realistically, whyyyy??????

I want to say right from the start that I hate this equally for books that have been given high and low ratings. I have been questioned on this before when I made comments about ratings on an unreleased book, but let me assure you, I bitch about unqualified high ratings on books just as much as I do about low ones.

I am sure these types of ratings happen on all books, but it is most prominent on upcoming titles. Sure, I understand that some people may have read the books, but they would be few and far between before ARCs/proofs are released. And IMPOSSIBLE on books that haven’t been written (or completed) yet. For example, ‘The Raven King’ by Maggie Stiefvater: to date, this book has 182 ratings. 182!! That is pretty good for a book that has just been completed and the first draft has just handed to the publishers! This has a combination of star ratings, with 1 through to 5 stars all being a recorded rating. By far the majority of ratings are 5 stars - but how on earth have 182 people read this book? By following Maggie on Twitter, I would say that less than half a dozen people would have had access to this book so far.

But if that is not a good enough example, let’s try ‘The Muse of Nightmares’ by Laini Taylor. You all know that I love Laini, so you would think that I would be happy if her books have high ratings. But this is not true! Sure, I hope that this upcoming book will be a 5 star book for me (and for others), but I am certainly not going to rate it that without reading it first!!! To date this book only has 10 ratings (5 stars, 3 stars and 2 stars), but that seems like 10 ratings too many. Now I know for a fact that this book has not been completed, so therefore how did these people read it? None of the people who rated it are her, her husband, agent or editor, so it is not as if these ratings were given due to WIP reads, or even a pitch or sample.


But why does it drive me crazy? Well, besides the fact that it is completely illogical to rate a book you haven’t read, but this sort of false rating affects other Goodreads users. I am currently picking on the books that haven’t been released, not because rating them makes even less sense when people know there is no way you could have read them (which is true), but because they are easier to see. But it is the ones you can’t identify that really affect other Goodreads users.

How many times have you ever had a quick look at a Goodreads rating to get a snapshot idea of a book? I know it is not the ideal way to judge a book, but on more than one occasion have been in a bookstore, picked up a book and had a quick look at Goodreads. Now, if that book is one that I haven’t heard of before, and it has an average rating of 2.1 stars, I am more than likely to put it back without considering it further. But what if a majority of those ratings were from people who had something against the author, didn’t like their previous titles, or just rated it to be annoying? Their ratings would turn me off a book unnecessarily. And that is annoying! It could have contributed to me missing out on a great book.

I admit I try to look a little further than the average rating… but sometimes time or phone service hinders this, so I use a quick snapshot that is the average rating. Am I crazy for wanting to know what people actually though of a book rather than finding out what they think it would be like?

I just do not understand why people do it. I really don’t. Goodreads ratings are supposed to be used for rating the book, not rating how good you think a book will be!

I understand that some people like to fan-girl about upcoming releases too, but I don’t think that is a justification to rate a book they haven’t actually read. Surely putting comments in the review section is enough to express a person’s excitement? I am more than happy for comments in the review section, but don’t give it a rating - you are only guessing on how good you think it will be! And likewise for those negative ratings: although I don’t understand why someone would bother. Just because you dislike an author’s other titles, or the author themselves, doesn’t mean you won’t like this title. So if you insist on proving to the world that you will not like this book (and wasting your own time) leaving comments in the review section will suffice.

And what boggles my mind even further is when someone rates a book that they haven’t read, but gave it 2, 3 or 4 stars. If you are going to go out of your way to rate a book that you haven’t read, you must be pretty passionate about it (either in a negative or positive way), wouldn’t it be either a 1 or 5 star rating? Surely, a dislike for the authors work may lead someone to rate something 1 star, as would a love for an author’s work lead someone to a 5 star rating - but why 2, 3 or 4? That seems even more random to me.


This whole thing drives me crazy. I just don’t understand. Please help me understand. Or please send the memo to the rest of the world to not rate a book unless they have actually read it!



What are your thoughts on when someone rates a book on Goodreads when they haven’t read it? Am I totally insane? Tell me below!


What do you think?

  • Aentee says:

    Yes!! This is one of my top pet peeves with book reviews. If you loved the previous books of the series/by the author so much please go and unleash your enthusiasm in the appropriate page.

    Reviews should only be done by those who have read. Or at least attempted to read it. These false reviews are usually at the top of the pile too so I have to scroll through them and a gazillion gifs to find actual opinion on the book. So annoying! Great post, I wholeheartedly agree.
    Aentee recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: The Scorpion RulesMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      I am more than happy for people to be exciting about an upcoming title, in fact, I think that is fantastic! But like you said, that energy should be put towards the correct place.
      I agree with your comment about “attempting to read it”. I have no issues with someone rating a book if they did not finish it, after all, they are rating the book on their experience.
      And GIFs… yes, the “OMG I am so excited” reviews tend to have a lot of GIFs.

  • This is the one thing I hate more than anything! That people can and do rate books that they have not read. Like you said, it skews the overall rating, which gives the rest of us an unrealistic expectation towards a book, be it better or worse than what the true average rating is. Now, when it comes to thousands of ratings to a book, those ten ratings become neutralised anyway what with the standard deviation and all that stats jazz buuuuut when a book is just about gaining traction, those stray ratings don’t belong there at all.
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    • Kristy says:

      You are correct, when there are thousands of ratings, those incorrect ratings don’t make too much of a difference, but they certainly do until the book gets some traction.
      Besides the average rating issue, I think my issue comes from not understanding the purpose of rating a book that you haven’t read… It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  • Marina Sofia says:

    I may rave about a favourite author but I’d do it on my blog or on Twitter or tear somebody’s ear off, but not when rating a book I haven’t read yet. After all, even favourite authors can disappoint at times. No, I’ve never rated a book I haven’t read (and in fact, I feel guilty about rating books on Goodreads which I’ve read years and years ago, because I might not recall them all too accurately), so I really can’t understand that!
    Marina Sofia recently posted…Things to Look Forward To: Livre Sur les Quais 2015My Profile

    • Kristy says:

      I don’t mind raving and ranting at all - I think that is a good thing… but just not via a rating! And you are right, even a favourite author can disappoint on the odd occasion.
      I wouldn’t feel too bad about rating books that you read a while ago, generally speaking you will remember how much you liked it, even if you can’t remember specifics :)

  • Marianna says:

    YES! I’ve been wondering why people do this ever since I joined goodreads. I almost wish rating a book before its release date wasn’t an option, except that wouldn’t work because of the ARCs people get sent. I agree with every single word of this post!
    Marianna recently posted…Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Book ReviewMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      It does make it a little difficult, and early reviews do help me decide to see if I should pre-order a book… but that is based on those who have actually read the book! Ratings when it hasn’t been read drives me totally insane

  • Cassie says:

    But what I find truly annoying is when the book has been out for a year, and the only reviews you can find are the “OH MY GOSH I’M SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK”…I mean, how am I supposed to know if it was any good? These people don’t seem to update.
    I usually portray my excitement for the next book in a series in my review of the previous book.

    Though what I really dislike is the ‘excitement reviews’ that are composed entirely of large or slow-loading gifs. My computer is slow at the best of times, how on earth am I supposed to get a general gist of the feeling about the book when I can’t even load the flipping page.

    And then I also get annoyed with people who have shelves like “never ever read”…like, what even? Just click the ‘not interested’ button on the recs page and you never have to see it again.
    It’s like that time my mum saw a comment on an article, and the comment literally read ‘this is not worth commenting on’.

    *sighs* I just don’t understand people.
    Cassie recently posted…A Challenge for JulyMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      I totally agree with the gif thing - I know some people love them, but I really do not! And the time it takes to load…. OMG!!!
      LOL ‘this is not worth commenting on’ - that is hilarious!

  • Yes!! I’ve NEVER understood this, how can you rate something without having read it?! It’s not an excitement rating, or lack thereof, it’s supposed to be your rating of the book once you’ve read (or attempted to read) it. I almost wish Goodreads would make it so that you can’t rate a book unless you’ve read it… Although people would then probably just add books to their ‘read’ shelf to get around this…

    I also don’t understand the super excited gif reviews that seem to clog the reviews section of upcoming books - who has time for that?! And what assistance does it give to a potential reader? I’ll tell you, absolutely none. If you’re excited, there’s a time and place for that - like “Waiting on Wednesday” which is entirely devoted to that. But don’t spam the Goodreads page for a book so I then struggle to find legitimate reviews when I want to know how a book was.

    Rant over! :)
    Bernadette @ The Bumbling Bookworm recently posted…Review: Saint Anything by Sarah DessenMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      Rant away Bernadette! After all, that is exactly what my post was lol.
      Even adding books to their “read” shelves getting around it doesn’t make sense - because it still doesn’t make sense - why would they bother?
      Oh gifs - don’t even get me started on those!

  • Lauren says:

    AH, yes. I totally agree… it makes me angry! It irritates me in both regards also, low ratings and high ratings… I don’t want to see any! I don’t understand the low ratings more though… if you really dislike the author/the authors work that badly, why are you even wasting your time to go and rate a book you haven’t read? Confusing haha.

    Great post Kristy!!!!!

  • […] @ Book Nerd Reviews questions ratings of unread books on Goodreads. These ratings skew the averages before anyone has even the chance to read these books, which […]

  • I think I remember this being a thing in the Goodreads drama debacle of a couple years ago with authors being mad about books being rated before they were finished and I think the explanation a lot of people gave was that it was to show excitement or rate the cover? I don’t agree with it either (as long as we aren’t counting dnfs?), but I think that Goodreads decided it was okay? I guess I hope that once the book is out those ratings are outweighed by real readers and I always try to see what my friends thought anyway since I don’t trust the general populace >.> ;-)
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    • Kristy says:

      Oh I missed that. Rating a cover? It is GoodREADS not Goodcover. That is even more annoying.
      I don’t mind people rating it on a DNF - after all, they did start reading it, and didn’t like it, so I am okay with a low rating for that.
      I also feel for the “up and coming authors” as the ratio may take some time to even out and actually reflect the true ratings - especially if they are debut and someone has rated it low for no reason at all.
      Friends are far more trustworthy - but sometimes I just want that actual “snapshot” :(

  • Lola says:

    This drives me crazy as well. You might dislike or love an author so much you want to show that, but rating a book that isn’t released yet and you haven’t read isn’t the way to do that. I belive you can’t rate a book before you have read it.
    You can say I expect this will be another 5 star, but put that in the review section not actually rate it. When I posted my review for a book today I noticed the next 3 books in the series which aren’t out yet already had quite some ratings, I just don’t get that.
    There are books that aren’t even written yet that already have been rated. I also look at the average ratings sometimes, especially when I am not sure if I want to read a book. Like you said it’s a quick snapshot to get an idea of if people like the book or not. Those false ratings skew that. So I totally agree with you and think it’s weird people rate books that they haven’t read yet.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #133My Profile

  • I totally agree with every word of this post. I myself check out ratings on Goodreads and it’s very annoying when you see an “average” and then realise that most of it are people station “I’m so excited to get this book in my hands” and I think WTH! I don’t understand WHY Goodreads is allowing it but I suppose it’s a bit difficult to police as we wouldn’t really know if someone has truly read it or not once it’s released, but I truly don’t see it’s purpose. Rating books is so that you can tell others what you think of it, so how can you do so when you haven’t read it or attempted to read it?

    It’s so annoying and it makes GR silly, now I pretty much just search through my friends list to see their personal reviews, but I do understand when your at a book store you don’t have time to stand there and read a few reviews to see if you want it or not.

    This practice is totally POINTLESS!
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    • Kristy says:

      Thanks Angelica.
      I tend to search through my friends too, but sometimes you don’t have the time :( It really bugs me that I am looking at ratings that aren’t real!

  • […] Kristy discusses rating unread books on Goodreads. […]

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