Readers focus on the rating of individual books. They see five stars as the best books to read, and the one stars as the worst ones a reader should avoid. Ratings will weigh heavier to a reader than the actual review. That is why they should be correct.
What do I mean by correct? Being on the same page. We have to agree on what each star means.
Basic Standard Rating
There is a basic standard rating that is used across the board for nearly anything. Five stars is used with the absolute best being five. One star is the absolute worst. Three is typically acceptable and okay.
I have seen a few book reviewers use a ten star review. That can get confusing when you are used to the five star standard. You might could argue a different rating system, but remember that you don’t want to push readers away. You want them to know exactly where you stand when they glance at your rating system.
Make sure you understand how a site uses star ratings. I review for one site that uses a slightly different view of the 5-star ratings than I typically use. I adjust my review accordingly.
Different View of Ratings
Everyone has a different view of ratings systems. Some see anything less than a five star as something they want to avoid. Others are okay with anything over two stars. Some don’t care. There is a different view on which star value is the most important, but it is the difference of view on what the stars stand for that makes the biggest difference.
Book reviewers should explain their view of ratings. The standard is as follows:
1 star — did not like the book and would not recommend it to anyone.
2 stars — did not like the book but others might
3 stars — liked the book; was okay
4 stars — really liked the book and would recommend it
5 stars — really, really liked the book and would recommend it and talk about it long after.
Idea of No Ratings
Because of the confusion of ratings, some reviewers are going with the idea of no rating and just the basic book review. The thought is that ratings can be subjective and can get in the way of the real review. The real review is within the words from the reviewer. No rating is given to muddy the waters.
This actually is a good idea that I employ on reviews that are on my own sites. I want people to read my review and not stop at the stars and misinterpret what they mean. It works.