Is it Ok to Change Your Rating on Review Sites?

Recently, I have been thinking about all the books I’ve read, reviewed, and rated on Amazon, GoodReads, Audible, etc. Generally, I try to review a book very soon after I read it so that the impressions are fresh in my mind. But in doing this I may miss important points that my mind later fleshes out over time – things that it didn’t have time to process immediately after reading. Parts of the story that might have been small nags at the time of the review/rating, but grew in size as my subconscious finds time to process it all. A missing plot moment, a character trait I find more and more incredulous leading me to want to downgrade a rating. Of course, there have also been times when I’ve wanted to upgrade – where I was thinking…”Forget these flaws, I really enjoyed that one!” This is where my struggle is today – can I go back and change the rating on the review sites? Or, is it rude and in poor taste?

Generally, I see 4 and 5 stars as those more desirable by authors. They both mean that the book is decent, readable, and enjoyable. It’s in the 3-star category where things change a bit. I once saw a very long Twitter discussion on whether or not reviewers should even given 3 stars or less and if this is considered rude. Some truly only believed that 4 and 5 stars were appropriate. But, let’s be honest. Not all books are created equal. Some are good in quality, but are not necessarily one’s cup of tea. Then, there are others that are just poorly written or executed. It’s these in the latter category that my main concern is over. Books I’ve given 4 stars that I now find reason to see them as 3 stars.

So, my question is: Is it ever OK to go back and change one’s rating on one of the review sites? Is it rude? Is it acceptable, but only in certain circumstances? What if the author has seen the review and retweeted it? Or, is a book you’ve reviewed from Netgalley and so potentially the publisher may notice too? What if the author only has less than a handful of reviews, then it really is quite noticeable.

I’m in a quandary and am looking for any thoughts or comments anyone may have on the subject. There aren’t hundreds of ratings I want to change, instead it is only a few that I’ve rethought over time, but they still nag at me and won’t let me go – especially the books that I want to change the rating from 4 stars to 3 stars.

What do you think? Have you ever gone back and changed a rating on Amazon or GoodReads? Is this something you would do?

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6 thoughts on “Is it Ok to Change Your Rating on Review Sites?

  1. I think it’s okay. I’d also like to have a word with these people that think you shouldn’t rate a book 3 stars or less. Than literally the only gauge you have is Good – 5 Stars. Not good- 4 Stars. That’s terrible. Rating is subjective- no one person is going to be the right audience for every book.

    In regards to changing ratings- I think it’s fine to do. I usually add a little update to my original review and say: After sitting on it a while, I enjoyed this much more in retrospect than I initially thought I did… or something similar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was actually really surprised at all the Twitter comments too regarding rating books 3 stars. Some were of the mind set that the reviews are for the readers, not the author and so there is nothing wrong with a 3 star rating. But then others were more in the camp of ‘if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all” – meaning if you can’t rate it ok, then don’t rate it at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would guess those second groups of comments are coming from independent authors. The thing is, you can write a kind review that still explains your problems with the book. In many of my reviews (especially in ones where I know it was just the wrong book for me) I try to find at least one nice thing to say, or at the bare minimum, try to explain who I think would be a good audience for the book.

        Reviews are for the readers, not to artificially inflate an author’s ego. If you don’t like having your work criticized, than get out of publishing. That’s all I can say.

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  2. I don’t see any reason why not. You may read a second book in a series that changes your opinion of the first. Storylines could have been tidied up, a character changes, it links back to the beginning that was originally confusing. Nothing at all wrong with that.

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