Can you (and should you) trust Goodreads reviews?

Posted June 18, 2020 in Discussion Tags:

Hey Disciples! Your time is valuable, right? You don’t want to waste time on a book that got lots of hype on Goodreads, but turns out to stink. Let’s talk about reviews. Many people check goodreads to get information on books. Its great because you can get SO MUCH information-versions, reviews, author info, other books in the series, reading order, and more. Its also great for helping you remember and track what you read (because after awhile, I totally forget I read a book). But, like any user generated info, reader beware. So, here are some things you should know so you can be an informed user!


First, anyone can create a book or version of a book in Goodreads. Its kinda like Wikipedia in that sense. However, you can only put in certain info (title, author, series, pages, synopsis) so for the most part, these are usually correct. But, if you are looking at the “other editions” and see a bunch (like 5 different audio versions or 21 kindle books) then its usually because a user, not the author or publisher, has created an entry. Its not that this is a bad thing-but, it could contain incorrect info.



Second, you can rate a book without reviewing. You can rate/review before the book releases. So, a person could create a book by an author the moment they hear about it, then rate it 1 star. Always look at the number of actual reviews with words! If 80% or more of the rate/review are just ratings with no explanation, be suspicious. This goes both ways-authors will have their street teams go and 5 star all their books to get the rating average higher and they don’t say a thing about the book. Or, authors have asked their street team to go 1 star all their competitors books (yes, this has really happened). My recommendation is to always look for more REVIEWS and not just RATINGS.

goodreads goodreads

Third, reviews from your “friends” on goodreads always appear first! If you have like minded reading friends, this can be VERY helpful. However, if you (like I used to) accept friend requests from randos, this might not be as helpful. I have culled my friend list in goodreads and tried to find other people who read romance. I find that these reviews are much more helpful to me and I think they will be more helpful to you too! Use the “compare books” features to see if you are literally matched!


Bottom line: Like most websites, be mindful of the limitations or lack of oversight. Goodreads has some cool tools if you know about them and if you understand the ways people manipulate the site, you will know what to look for!

And, the best person to follow on goodreads? Well, me of course! If you want a trustworthy friend, hit me up!

my read shelf:
The Romance Book Disciple (Samantha)'s book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Do you have other questions about goodreads and how best to use it? Let me know in the comments!

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8 responses to “Can you (and should you) trust Goodreads reviews?

  1. I hate ratings without any sort of thoughts, and then there are the people who protest-rate books. I won’t even get started on that mess. I need stars and words to form a full impression of a book.

  2. Great post. I accept any friend request that come in, but I’ve found that if you uncheck “top friend” then their reviews don’t show up on your feed. I check “top friend” on those that are like minded and read what I read, so I can see what they think on a review, but all the others are weeded out. If you don’t know how this works, then you get everyone who you have friended showing up on the feed. You can change this at anytime in the friend field. I agree on the review ratings. I always check to see how many of words and look at those reviews. I don’t care for the gif or just rated and no words in the review. I always wonder on those extra editions. Now that’s been clarified for me. Thank’s!

  3. Great post, it’s so easy to think Goodreads is filled with like minded people reading and reviewing the books they’ve loved but so often that doesn’t happen. We have people who are rating low just because they can. I usually don’t trust the rating of the book on Goodreads and instead always check to see if my friends have read book (if they haven’t I do begin to question if I want to) but also read a few reviews if it truly is a book none of my friends has read. I like to look at a couple of high and low ratings (and avoid spoilers if I can) because so often low ratings reveal where the weaknesses lie and if what bothered others bothers me then I might leave it but if they’re complaining over something I view as nothing I’ll check it out.

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Sunday Summary // 14.06.2020
  4. The only time I look at reviews and ratings is when I’m on the fence about reading a book. I get slightly annoyed when people rate books before they read them. I’m looking for real reviews because I’m on the fence, but I just get a bunch of people ranting or fangirling.

  5. I’m more interested in what people have to say about a book than how they rate it but this is solid advice especially for those new to Goodreads!
    It boils my bloody when I see a book that’s just announced with 1-star (or 5-star come to think of it) reviews… I mean, no one has read it yet to have an opinion! Yet there it is with all or none of the stars… Just, why? Grrrr.

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