(Spoiler: There are none)
Recently there’s been talk about rating books without reading them. And though I personally have not rated anything before reading (not even a DNF, I think!), there really aren’t any rules concerning this. Etiquette? Maybe. But since Goodreads never defines what their ratings are for, it’s really free game.
In other words, it’s perfectly fine to rate a book without reading it. And here are some reasons why I think that’s the case:
1. As mentioned before, I don’t feel as if Goodreads does a good job defining what the star ratings are for. The most obvious is that it’s a rating of how much you liked the book. Or disliked it. Or it could be a rating of how much you don’t want to read the book. Or do want to read it. Users are allowed to use the rating system as they see fit, expanding upon it in the review section.
2. Goodreads doesn’t even add the book to your shelves as “read” after you rate it. I just tested this, and the book I rated remained on my “Want to Read” list. So okay, Goodreads obviously knows that users will rate books that aren’t necessarily something they read.
3. You might ask, why would they do that? Well that’s my next point. The fact that Goodreads even allows for the rating of books before their release date, or without even being on a certain shelf, shows that they are okay with it. Now, it might not be for the intention of deflating the rating of a problematic book, but their intentions were most likely to help with promotion. And excitement. Like I said, if they really didn’t want this to happen, they would have restricted the rating to after release, like Amazon does.
To be honest, I see Goodreads as the #1 place to find out about books. Before I joined the book community, I would rely a lot on the avg. rating to pick my books. That’s why I feel like one-starring problematic books on Goodreads is the best way to get the message out. That way, readers outside the community will avoid it because of its low rating. Of course, saying this is a bit controversial, and well, this is just how I feel about it I suppose!
Yet after saying all of that, I don’t think I would personally rate a book I haven’t read. However, I do hope my post convinces you that it’s something that’s fine to do.