Tag Archives: Barnes and Nobles

Up for Discussion: Do you know your star ratings?

I spend a lot of time of Goodreads. Partially because I have a book out and feel uncontrollably compelled to obsessively check for new reviews and/or comments. But also partly because I just love perusing the forum threads, pontificating on who knows what, and generally making an online spectacle of myself. 

A thread that recently caught my attention questioned why Amazon reviews tend to be tougher than Goodreads reviews. To be honest this isn’t something I’ve noticed, but I trust that whomever started the thread had a reason (possibly personal) to ask the question. 

The actual 1st post said,

Why do you suppose Goodreads reviewers are harsher than Amazon reviewers? It’s an interesting phenomenon. I wonder if Amazon filters out some of the bad ones in order to boost sales numbers….

Responders came up with a number of plausible reasons. It might be that readers are at least peripherally aware that a book could be someone’s livelihood and are cautious about being too critical in the selling environment. Come on, it’s possible. It could be the terms and conditions or one website being more willing to enforce them than the other. It could be that readers are more likely to have purchased the books they review on Amazon since Goodreads is a great place to find free reads. 

Since the initial question wasn’t entirely clear whether it was referring to the actual review or the star ratings, my own contribution to the discussion centered on the later. Having thought a little more on the matter I think it is worth reviewing how each site classify 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 stars. 

Amazon:                                     Barnes & Nobles                                Goodreads:    
1. hate it                                      1. poor                                                     1. didn’t like it    
2. don’t like it                           2. below average                                 2. it was ok 
3. it’s ok                                      3. good                                                    3. liked it 
4. like it                                      4. very good                                           4. really liked it    
5. love it                                     5. exceptional                                        5. it was amazing  

As you can see an Amazon 3 stars and a Goodreads 2 stars actually mean the same thing, the reader thought the book was OK. While an Amazon 4 stars and a Goodreads 3 stars mean the reader liked the book. From this example it makes perfect sense that a Goodreads rating would seem harsher.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but if someone says a book was OK I take that to mean the person didn’t dislike it and it is still worth reading. I don’t have the same feeling about a 2 stars rating. It is below the median (just as Barnes and Nobles clearly states) and feels like a bad rating. I say that even though I’m currently looking at the break down of the rating system. The end result is that I could read the same review on both sites and be pleased with one and disappointed with the other. 

This is especially pertinent when one considers that a number of sites-Smashwords comes to mind-don’t dictate what their stars mean. It is up to the reviewer (and then the reader) to decide what they stand for. I suspect people have an innate sense of bad (1), good (3), better (5) and tend to not put too much thought into the ratings beyond that. But the next time you feel disappointed or put off by a review pause a moment and see what the number of stars is actually meant to mean.

The Weeping Empress is FREE to download on Goodreads

I’m trying to drum us some reviews for The Weeping Empress. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am more than thrilled with the ones I’ve recieved so far. Check these out:

5/5* “I really liked this book and really liked the characters. Chiyo, Muhjan and Senka have such chemistry. They kept me coming back for more.” Iris – Amazon

5/5* “Forsythe creates a new and strange world, rich and complex in both it’s characters and history. It calls to mind those tantalizing and complete worlds created by C.S Lewis and Tolkien. As with a C.S. Lewis novel, Forsythe transports us into this alternate universe from a real and modern timescape, giving the reader just the right amount of believability to step into the reluctant heroine’s shoes. Though Chiyo finds herself in what, to her, is a nightmare, the escapist in all of us, will find her story intriguing and irresistible. A fabulous read!” Heather – Amazon

5/5* “A very well written and engaging book that is impossible to put down. It’s the story of a woman’s survival in adverse conditions, and the price of that survival. The characters are well developed and interesting. The story moves fast, and the twists and turns are surprising. It has a little bit of everything – the development of friendship, love, violence, betrayal, and loyalty, and the endurance of the human spirit. I’d recommend this book to anyone.” Karen – Amazon

“What? A woman, seemingly happy in her modern day life as a mother and a wife suddenly awakes to find herself transported back in time, to a place unfamiliar where emperors ruled in castles, where one defended with swords and people were looking for a savior. Not a book I would typically read nor want to pick up, however it was sitting in my nook as a free download and I needed something to read, so I went for it. I was pleasantly surprised by how addicted to the book I became. The writing was crisp and the characters engaging. Toss in battles, heartache, triumph, loss, strength, a bit of mystery and you have ‘The Weeping Empress’.  Overall a good read, I would actually give it 3.5 stars!” – Diana, Goodreads

5/5* “The Weeping Empress is a hard hitting, manga-like epic fantasy. What it lacks in warm-fuzzies it makes up in determined action. The main characters come across as sharp and vivid, and the ending is truly chilling.”- googlebooks

5/5* “This is a worthy read. From the very first page you, like the main character, are thrown into the action, keeping you interested in what happens next. The characters are relatable, despite the fictional setting, and the ending leaves you wanting more. Anyone who likes a strong female lead, untenable situations and a little titillation will love this book. I know I did and will definitely read another one of Forsythe’s books.” Barnes & Noble

4/5* “Totally unexpected storyline, Very enjoyable and unexpected story. A pleasant read.” B&N

5/5* “Excellent. Thoroughly engrossing.” B&N

Plus, two people have given it 5* on Lulu without leaving reviews and one person gave it a 4* on Goodreads without a review.

Not bad right? It makes you want to run out and read it right? The problem isn’t the quality of the reviews. How could it be. I’m tickled pick with the response so far. The problem is that there aren’t enough of them. I need more, MORE, MORE! <Insert Mwuhaa-ha-ha style laughter here> Seriously I need more readers. For this reason I have made it free for download at Goodreads, or you could read it here. There is a reader widget on the The Weeping Empress page.

I know the market is flooded with free ebooks. I swear sometimes I feel like swatting them away like flies, and mine is just one more in the swarm. But look up. Look at those fab reviews (and I didn’t cherry pick them, thats all of them). This isn’t a thrown together saga of sappy teen romance designed to take advantage of the urban/paranormal fantasy lovers. This is a real story worth your time, even if I am saying so myself. Again, scrollup.

So follow this link: The Weeping Empress is FREE, hit the download button, make a quick cup of tea (or sake if past 4:00), and settle down for the ride. Then go back to this link (its the same, don’t bother following it yet), and write the review you think it deserves. Alternatively this link  (Amazon) and/or this link (B&N), and/or this link (google books), or any other one really. So what are you waiting for, hop to it. 🙂 

If you are a book blogger and want a physical copy leave  comment or hit the email button in the upper right corner (it’s the orange envelope) and shoot me a quick request.