Giving Books Low Ratings Before Reading Them: A Discussion

We’ve all seen books being rated on Goodreads before they’re released – or even before ARCs are available. These people rate the book before even reading it.

Where do you stand on this? I personally think that it’s wrong and is a huge problem in the book community. That’s why I’m writing this post today. I don’t think we talk about this in the book community enough. It should be talked about.


Rating a book before even picking it up yourself is a) unfair and b) a childish thing to do. I feel like some people do this only because they don’t like the author so they feel the need to give every book that author has come out with – and will be coming out with – one star.

This is disgusting behavior. I understand if you don’t like an author for whatever reason it might be but that’s no excuse for going out of your way to make their book’s overall rating on Goodreads – which effects other people’s choice to read the book or not, so you’re costing the author readers and money – plunder.


The worst thing is when a rumor is spread about a book or an author and then people start rating that book low solely because of the rumors they heard. I’m sorry but that’s just wrong! You could be destroying an author’s career by doing this!

i mean, that’s probably most of these people’s intent but still!
go sit in a corner

Even if the rumors about the book or the author are true, that still doesn’t give you the right to bash them and rate their books low without having read them. Authors are human beings too! Even if they’re problematic, you can showcase your thoughts elsewhere – or after you read the book. Reviews on Goodreads are only for those that have actually read the book. THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED A REVIEW! YOU CAN’T REVIEW SOMETHING YOU HAVEN’T READ!

*le sigh*

There’s a different way to approach this. A more civil, grown up way to approach this.


Spread your concerns or opinions on Twitter

That’s kinda what Twitter’s for. But do this without tagging the author. You can inform others about a book or author that could be harmful without letting the author know that you’re doing it. Unless you want to create a feud. Which trust me, you don’t.

book twitter already has enough drama

Write a blog post about it

I mean – that’s what I’m doing! If you have a blog and you want to spread the word about something that you’re passionate about informing others about, then why not write a blog post about it? That’s what I do and it seems to work for me.

Discuss with people that have read the book

If you haven’t read the book but want to know what the controversy is about, ask somebody that’s read it before you go on and babble about it. You’ll just embarrass yourself if you jump into things blindly.

At the end of the day, I think that rating a book without having read said book is wrong. Unfortunately, there will always be people that do this but hopefully this post has brought an issue to light that you weren’t aware of before.


Let me know your thoughts on all of this! Do you think rating books before reading them is a good or bad thing? Why?

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49 thoughts on “Giving Books Low Ratings Before Reading Them: A Discussion

  1. I always feel guilty if I give a book a low rating, even if I absolutely detested it. I am also bothered by the fact that on neither Goodreads nor Amazon, do they have .5 ratings. I think the whole 1-5 thing is an issue and they should at least implement a 3.5 . It would make it easier. I myself have rated books I DNF but only if I have read a large part of the book. I cannot imagine giving low ratings before a book is published but maybe if they get enough complaints the websites will do something about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Goodreads at least should do .5! I rate loads of my books like that and I know a lot of other readers out there do it too. If you’ve read most of the book and DNF’d it I think it’s okay to rate it, as long as you say that you read _% before DNFing.


  2. I totally agree with you! It is extremely unfair to put up negative ratings before you’ve read the book, even if the author isn’t entirely innocent themselves. It goes the other way, too- it isn’t fair to put up amazing ratings before you’ve read the book, either. It gives a false representation of the book and your enjoyment of said story. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Urgh, I agree! It is so annoying and actually really disrespectful to the author.

    I wish goodreads had a way of showing you which reviews are from people who didn’t even read the book, people who started but DNF and people who finished it. I think there is some value to DNF reviews sometimes, but I never even bother with people who didn’t pick up the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. DNF reviews are okay, I think, as long as they didn’t read – let’s say 10% – of the book before deciding their final opinion on it. There really should be something where those that haven’t read the book can voice their opinions on it without affecting the overall rating of the book!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. People who rate books without reading them, whether it’s a high or low rating, annoy me so much, though low ratings annoy me more because like you said that can actually harm the author’s career. If you have concerns about things like harmful rep, write a review WITHOUT giving a star rating to inform people that the book might be harmful. But rating it when you haven’t read it yourself? That is indeed childish like you said

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad you agree with me. You can write a review talking about potentially harming things without rating (when you haven’t read it yet haha). Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yes, I 100% agree! And not just low ratings, high ones too. Any ratings before you have actually read the book are just misleading to people who are looking to the review system to help them choose their books.

    I don’t even look at the ratings when choosing books anymore. If I think it sounds interesting, I will read it and form my own opinion, just because I know there is a good chance that half the reviews weren’t even by people actually reading the book! And if the book simply wasn’t for me, I will still review it as a whole, not just based on the fact that I didn’t connect with the story. It really bugs me when people give a 1 star and just comment “too much romance” or something like that. Obviously the book was written for people who enjoy romance, like the author must do. Was the book well written? Were the characters well developed? Were there any other parts of the plot you enjoyed? Tell me more about the book as a whole please, not just one thing you didn’t like.

    I not long ago wrote a post about negative bookworms this is honestly just another branch of the negativity we sometimes see in the online book community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, both low and high ratings when you haven’t read the book are a problem. Those are the worst reviews, when people criticize a book for something completely unreasonable like you said.


  6. Yes a million times to this post!!! I ONE HUNDRED PERCENT AGREE!! Firstly, it’s totally unacceptable to rate/review books without reading them, cos it’s dishonest and yes it’s childish and mean spirited and gahhh it just makes me so mad. Also, I don’t see why people have to tag the author with their negative comments! Jeez- they’re people, leave them alone. And also yes to writing blog posts on it (though it’d probably be better if they don’t make a post giving a book they haven’t read bad press). I know these people don’t want to support the author’s work, but I think the best port of call would probably just be to go away and read the book, then publish opinions about it (obviously it’s fine to have opinions, I just wouldn’t personally chime in on something I didn’t know anything about) Because yes, chiming in too quickly may end up backfiring. Anyway- great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tagging authors in negative comments/reviews is the absolute worst!! Yeah, I get what you’re saying about the writing a blog post bit. No matter what I think you have to read a book before spreading your opinions about it. Thanks for reading and commenting 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Agree! A lot of “agree”. I’ve serious problem with people who just rate – one star as much as five without reading it – and the ones who rate one star and than add: another author that does this or that. Okay, fine. But I need reasons. And I get it must be tiresome to always add reasons, but…. I can’t. I just can’t. Also because a lot of people, as you wrote, listened to false information or other people of the same group disagree with the problematic or controversy of the case.
    In the end, if I want to understand something, as a reader who might not be touched by a certain problematic, I’ve no idea to which person I should listen and trust.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is really difficult as someone who is trying to decide if they should read a book or not because you don’t know who’s opinions are more trustworthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I completely agree with you on this but I it’s not just low ratings. I also think that super high ratings are wrong. The star system is tricky, but I don’t think you should give something 5 stars just due to plain excitement. You gave so many other options that let you voice your opinion. Great discussion post!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. YES YES YES. I get SOOOO riled up over this issue because it is entirely disgusting and unfair behavior. You may not like an author or you may think that their books stink, but 1) you need to give them a chance, 2) you can’t properly rate a book you agent read yet, and 3) it’s so rude and unfair to the author to trash a book that hasn’t even come out yet and make people not want to read it. (I’ve seen people rate books negatively that don’t even have a release date yet and UGH. I hate it.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I totally agree!! Thank you so much for writing this post, its so so important! I hate seeing books rated and rated so low before ARCs have been released or before the book comes out just because people have issues with the author or hate the previous books. JUST DONT RATE IT! IT’S LITERALLY NOT THAT HARD. JESUS PEOPLE. Like if you aren’r going to read the book that’s fine, put it in a DNF or a never-to-read shelf WITHOUT RATING IT. Stop ruining the thoughts and opinions of everyone else who has read/liked the book! So frustrating!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES!! If someone has an issue with an author or their previous books they can deal with it on their own without ruining everyone else’s perception of that author/book. And the thing is, the negative reviews can oftentimes overshadow the good ones… and that causes it’s own problems *sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s so true. And then what I’ve been seeing is reviewers giving books that haven’t been out yet five stars! Just because an author’s previous book is worthy of 5stars does not mean that all h/his books are equally good (although there are writer’s out there who will always get my full support. Still, we shouldn’t do that. It messes up the rating and gives readers such high hopes, only to be disappointed afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah you make a good point there. It doesn’t bother me as much as the low ratings, but it does still mess with the rating and hypes up the book so much to the point where the entire book community gets hyped – and then let down.


  12. UGUGHUGHUGGHHHHH! I HATE HATE HATE IT when people rate a book WHEN THEY HAVEN’T REAd it. I remember before ARC’s were even being printed for All The Crooked Saints people were bashing Maggie Stiefvater for culture appropriating WHEN THEY HADN’T READ IT? Like…okay…what no.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES!! Oh my god! The controversy and rating of All the Crooked Saints is one of the main reasons I decided to write this discussion.


  13. Such a great discussion! I have seen people of Goodreads rate books that they haven’t read and it always puzzles me because how do they keep track of whether they really read it or not if you have a rating and a “review” rant or rave or whatever?! I tend to NOT rely on ratings… I skim the reviews and if similar problems are popping up they I know there is a problem! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing is, you can’t! Goodreads marks it as read… 😦 Yeah, if I see a common thing discussed in multiple reviews I know that it’s most likely true. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Agreed! I feel like it’s become some way for people to feel like they’re so important and doing it just become other people are. It’s disgusting behavior and, just like you said, extremely childish. I typically don’t even look at Goodreads ratings anymore, especially for books that haven’t been released yet. I’ll just wait and read a review by a blogger that I trust, or if no one I know has read it but it still interests me, I’ll read it anyway. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I hate those that do it just because others are doing it… it is truly childish. The reviews from fellow bloggers I trust are definitely the opinions I care about more and focus my attention on. Thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree with what you’ve said. I’ve seen quite a few ratings/reviews where people have attacked a book without reading it. I refuse to do this, but I will admit it has influenced me a little bit on whether to read a book or not. I need to ignore it more. I prefer to at least give a book a try before I rate it. Even if I don’t finish a book, I usually try to read a third of it. I’m not really one to follow others in general, and I don’t quite understand how people just start bashing a book based on one person’s review which I’ve seen quite a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah same. I try not to be influenced by it but sometimes I can’t help it. And you never truly know whether somebody is rating it low because they just don’t like the author or because they actually didn’t enjoy the book.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Yep, I completely agree with what you wrote. People shouldn’t bash without having read the bool even if they end up DNFing it. I think it would be better for them to talk to someone who has read the book before taking it to Twitter or their blog. At least then if they still decide to hate the book they’ll have some legitimate evidence for it, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I really enjoyed this discussion! ❤

    I think it's highly unfair for someone to rate a book they haven't read and will never read! I won't even rate a book I DNFed because I think that's unfair to a certain degree too. I didn't read the entire book so I'm not going to give a negative rating – which is what it would come down to. All I usually do is post a quick review saying I didn't get into the story and that I DNFed it.

    What I love seeing for unreleased books by an author is the pure EXCITEMENT of people waiting for it! That's something I think is fair and in no way influences the overall Goodreads rating – in whatever way. If people really need to show their dislike of a book/author they should just write a quick comment or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I can definitely jump on-board the hype train and show excitement for the book to release – but then there are those that rate it 1 star because they don’t like the author or something else like that. That’s a good idea when you DNF something! If I end up DNFing books more in the future, I might end up doing that. I’m so happy you liked the discussion 😀 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I never rate books before I’ve actually read them. Honestly, it’s our “job” as reviewers to give our honest opinions on the books we’ve read. If we didn’t read them, we can’t give our honest opinions. Giving ratings that way? Well, then let’s conclude you can hardly be an honest reviewer?

    There’s an author our there I’m no fan of, at all. But that’s towards the author as a person; not to his/her books/writing. And yes, there’s a huge difference in that! I actually rated most of those books 5 stars although I simply don’t like the person behind it. It’s called being honest and true to yourself – and to others, really.

    Honesty’s a big thing for everyone. Now if only everyone behaved like it.. :’)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Exactly! Very well-put. We’re honest reviewers who rate the books we *read* honestly. There are some authors that I’m not a huge fan of as a person but then I like their books – and I think that’s totally okay. It’s important that we reviewers, especially, put our personal feelings for the authors themselves aside so that we can give our complete honest opinions about the books for what they are without the author.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t take the Goodreads rating too seriously unless the book is over a year old. And sometimes, depending on the author, completely ignore it. I can understand how people get excited about a book and want to give it a high rating (or the opposite). Sometimes if a YA book has an intense sex scene people will rate it lower for some reason. I think we have to read a book before we can tell people how good or bad we think it is. I don’t think it’s an issue, but I do think we have to look at goodreads (and probably other sites) rating with a grain of salt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I personally glance at Goodreads ratings as a whole and judge whether I should read the book or not (in the past I’ve read a book that was rated 3.5 stars and ended up regretting it because I didn’t want to listen to the rating). I think it’s saved me from reading books I know I wouldn’t have liked if I had picked them up, even though I do know that they can’t always be reliable. You make a great point 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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