Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rating Trends

In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of giving numeric ratings in reviews even though I have chosen to do so. There are so many factors that go into what makes a book good, bad, week, strong…that it is really unfair to sum it all up in a single number between 0 and 10. Just look at the books I’ve reviewed and rated – two books that are vastly different will score the same.

All that complaining aside, ratings do provide some useful information for some people. And they allow for me to geek out and look at things through a statistical lens. The chart below shows the distribution of ratings for the 78 books and series I’ve reviewed since starting this blog. It’s interesting to see some of the trends that are evident.

As I’ve described elsewhere, I have some general guidelines as to what the ratings mean and I’ve included them on the above chart. Simply said, below 5 is bad, between 5 and 7.5 is good with some reservations, and above 7.5 is great. Since I ultimately choose the books I read, and I only rarely read a book that I’m not already pretty sure I’ll enjoy, the ratings are skewed significantly toward the good and great end of things. But looking at the data trends makes me think that a better division of the ratings might be what’s shown in the chart below. While I’ll still aim to rate as I always have, I think that I’ll have to keep this distribution in mind as it just might more accurately reflect my feelings.

Anyway, I hope that people out there might actually find all this interesting – I know I did.


Chris, The Book Swede said...

I found it interesting! I agree with you about giving books scores, actually, but I do find it useful, and I'm going to have to go and do a chart sometime, too! :)


Carl V. said...

You tend to be more critical in your reviews than I am, and I mean that in a good way as you give really thorough reviews, so I was suprised to see that most of your books fell into the good+ categories. I'm like you though in that I tend to pick books I like or suspect that I will like and so disappointing reads are a rarity.

I found the whole thing interesting, so keep it up!

Larry said...

I wonder what'll happen if/when you go back and re-read some of your reviewed books and perhaps re-rate them? I think that'd be an interesting thing to see what might happen. I'm going to be doing that shortly, as I'm set to re-read Wolfe's Soldier of Sidon late this week.

Interesting graph results, though. Linking it with a post I was working on for Hump Day :D

TK42ONE said...

I like the graphs. And I think the spread is about right since you pick the books. More than likely you know what you'll enjoy before you read it, and that goes for most readers out there. So you've automatically shifted the bell-curve to the right.

Now, what I'd like to see is the same chart with the book covers instead. That would be a nice visual reference.

Carl V. said...

The re-reads and subsequent reevaluating of ratings would be very interesting.

Neth said...

It'll be interesting to see what will happen with re-reads - though I'm not planning any at the moment.

I'l glad others have found this informative - thanks for the link, Larry.


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