Rounding: Up or Down?

Picture yourself reading. You’ve finished a book, and you don’t know what to think about it. It’s not quite good enough to be a four-star read, but it had an epic twist at the end that made you gasp so it’s not quite a three star read either. You decide to rate it 3.5 stars, and then log on to Goodreads to write a review.

But, lo and behold, apparently the Goodreads programmers haven’t gotten the memo: there are no half stars! What do you do?

Tell me! What do you think about rounding when you rate? Do you usually round up or down?

86 thoughts on “Rounding: Up or Down?

  1. I do both! If it is more towards a four for me then I round up, more towards a three then I round down. Either way in the review part I put 3.5 stars, or whatever just so people know that I was on the fence about what to rate it.
    I do wish Goodreads used half stars. I know they seem silly to some but I really like them because sometimes a read just isn’t quite a sold star(s) for me.

  2. Ugh the .5 struggle! I often ask myself if the book was more ok(3stars) than good (4stars). I do think that in general I’m more generous with my ratings so often times I will be looking through my read books and feel like I overrated a book. Answer: i don’t know, really depends.

    1. I know right! It really is a struggle! *sighs* But YES to the whole okay vs. good thing – I should try to use that philosophy more often. Thanks for stopping by Mari!

  3. I round up 99.9% of the time. I guess I just figure since Goodreads (or Amazon) won’t give me the half star, I won’t penalize the author for that, so I round up. BUT then I feel my Goodreads average rating is skewed really high. I also usually mention in the review that I’ve given it a x.5 star rating on my blog. Seriously, why do they not just give us halves!?! I am curious to see all the results!

    1. That’s a really good point Shannon about not penalizing the author just because GR or Amazon don’t have .5 stars. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. For me, it depends on my feelings when I finish the book. If it left me intrigued or if particularly the ending impressed me some way or another, or if there are some really good aspects I enjoyed – if there was more positive than negative, I’ll round up. But if the book annoyed me too much, maybe I couldn’t connect with the characters, then it will be a round down. But why after all this time, does Goodreads not offer a half star option?? It just seems silly!

    1. That’s a really good philosophy Brit – I’m going to keep that in mind for when I next have this half-star dilemma.

      And ugh! I know, right? Goodreads really should get a half-star rating system. It’s getting ridiculous.

  5. Whyyyyyyyyy does Goodreads not have a half star rating??? I mean, there have been SO many people asking for it for years, you think they would have done something about it. This is a really hard situation. Usually I’m a round down sort of person (usually because when I look back at the books I’ve rated, I’ve questioned some of the high ratings I’ve given.) But yeah. That’s a hard one. If I really can’t choose, then I’ll say “closer to a 3.5 rating”or something like that.

    1. I honestly have no idea. Like you said, it’s such a popular request. You think with so many customers all asking for a certain feature, they would do their best to implement it, you know? They obviously have the technological power to do it, the question is why don’t they? *shrugs*

  6. This has bugged me since the day I first got a Goodreads account. I use a rating system on my blog where three is “it was ok but I wouldn’t re-read it” and four is “it was good but could’ve been a little better.” So when in doubt, I pretty much just decide whether I’d consider rereading it and round accordingly. I do tend to round up for 4.5 star books, and usually down for 2.5, but the 3.5 ones are another story entirely. Like, I couldn’t bring myself to give Blood of Olympus 4 because there’s A LOT of room for improvement, but then I’ve re-read it once and no doubt will do so again, so…3.5, but what about Goodreads? I think it currently has a 3 there, but I’m not really sure what to do about rating it.

    1. That’s a really neat trick Ellie – I really like your rating philosophy. So straightforward. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  7. I would definitely round up just because I like to be my generous with my ratings. I actually wrote a post about this where I explained that it’s hard for me to be really tough on authors. When it comes to Goodreads, though, sometimes I’ll leave a comment on my status saying what the actual rating was. However, I think the only case in which I won’t round up is if it’s at a 4.5 because 5 star reads need to be really special.

    1. That’s an interesting thought Ana – thank you for sharing! I definitely agree about how hard it is to be extra critical, especially with technology allowing authors to see what I think of their book. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Because of the Goodreads rating system, I have to do this a lot. I always round up, and then specify the actual rating below in my review. I don’t like to round down because if it should have had 3 stars, I would have given it 3, not 3.5. I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t like it. Plus, i’m just nice I guess.
    Olivia @ Fluttering Pages

  9. I think it really depends on if that .5 was negative or positive addition. I canโ€™t really explain it because sometimes I rounded up because I feel it was good but some parts felt inadequate therefore the half star. Aaaah~ such a dilemma tbqh. T^T

    1. Oh! Really good point Mitchii! That’s definitely something I’m going to think about. Like, am I adding this .5 star because it’s better than a whole star or am I subtracting a .5 star because it’s not quite the next step up?

    1. I know, right? You think with so many customers all asking for a certain feature, they would do their best to implement it, you know? They obviously have the technological power to do it, the question is why donโ€™t they? *shrugs*

  10. I’m so bad with star ratings. I don’t really use them on my blog, so I I post on goodreads, I tend to leave it blank unless it was AWESOME or something. Amazon makes you do stars so it’s hard. I would probably round up – if it’s a 3.5, making it a 4 would make sense to me unless I really just think the book is “good but not THAT good” then maybe round down. It all depends.

  11. HA THIS IS A TERRIBLE QUESTION. Actually this is 100% of the reason I don’t use half stars. I can’t decide if it’s meant to go up or down. Like I feel maybe down? Because if I’m happy to call it “4-stars” then I should GIVE it 4-stars. If I can’t give it 4-stars and it has to be 3.5…then it deserves to be, like, 3. Basically I would just give it a 3 everywhere. XD

    1. Wow. I’ve been following your blog for how long now and I just realized you don’t do half stars? Wow. I am such a lousy friend.

  12. I have made it a thing to round down, but then I always put my actual half star rating in the review. SERIOUSLY GOODREADS needs to come up with half ratings ๐Ÿ˜›

  13. I used to round up but now I round down. A 3.5 is really not quite of a 4 star and it’s just misleading, you know? Especially since in Goodreads, they’re just so very strict about it. It’s like you see a 4 star rating and you immediately think, “AH THIS IS GOOD.” But between a 3 star and a 4 star? The distance is GREAT. That’s why I just explain in my review if it’s a half star so as not to really mislead the followers!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    1. I completely agree 100% Faye. The distance between 3 stars and 4 stars is extremely large, and without half stars it can be so misleading.

  14. I usually round down if the the only good thing about the book was manically the ending, like Red Queen. But in ACOTAR, I loved the characters and the romance, but the book was really slow in the first half, but it got better halfway, so I would round up. If it’s just the ending that’s good I round down, but if there is more to the book then I round up ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I know, right? You think with so many customers all asking for a certain feature, they would do their best to implement it, you know? They obviously have the technological power to do it, the question is why donโ€™t they? *shrugs*

  15. Oh my gosh, this is such a struggle. I’m so annoyed that Goodreads still hasn’t implemented half-stars (like, what on earth is stopping them?! I’m starting to think they have some personal vendetta against half-star ratings, tbh!), but since I’m a picky reader and am not generous with my ratings, I usually round them down. In very rare cases though, where I feel that the half star is positive, then I might round the rating up. Most of the time it’s down, though.

    But I’m curious about what YOU do in situations like this, Zoe! Do you round up or round down? ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. I’m completely with you Meg – I’m very stringent with my ratings and tend to round down as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ And I know, right?! Come on Goodreads!

  16. I put round down, but it depends on the book. If I am going back and forth between two and three stars for instance, I will think about whether I liked it more than I hated it. If I did, then I round up.

  17. it depends on the situation honestly. sometimes i round up and sometimes i round down. i literally just sit down and ask myself does this book make sense classified as a (insert number of stars here) book? in comparison to the other books i have rated that number, does it fit? and then i adjust accordingly. so there are books that i have as 3.5 in my personal records that i rated as 3 on goodreads because they felt more like a 3 to me and others that were a 3.5 that were a 4 on goodreads because they felt more like a 4 to me. honestly it’s a very confusing system and not very clear. there is no standard at all, it’s just whatever i feel like.

  18. This is basically the question of the century, Zoe. xD But personally, I chose “I don’t know” because I wasn’t given enough information, haha!

    Typically, I check which of the aspects had a greater impact on me. If the book as a whole was a bit “good but not great”, but the ending made me go “WTF JUST HAPPENED I LOVE THIS BOOK GIVE ME THE SEQUEL!” then I’ll round up. But if the ending was just “wow” and the rest of the book was just okay, then I’ll round down.

    Not sure if my rambling made sense, but… Yeah. It really depends on the situation. xD

  19. It usually depends on the book and how much I enjoyed it. If I have to give a straight answer, though, I’ll usually round down. Mathematically it doesn’t make sense because of the whole “four-or-les-round-down” rule. The way I see it, though, if I’m between three and four stars for a book, I’ll give it three because it wasn’t strong enough to reach a four. It made three stars definitely, but four is uncertain. I actually recently changed my entire blog rating system to exclude half-stars to match the Goodreads ratings, so I debate this with myself constantly.

    1. Interesting thoughts Claire! I completely agree – I usually tend to round down as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  20. I don’t really use the half star system just because of Amazon and GR- but I think I would round up in that case, just because I like to give the author the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure there are others who would enjoy the book generally. But then I feel like if a book was only meh for the most part, and then had an amazing ending, I wouldn’t feel like that redeemed the whole book for me so much- I would still weigh it all equally. So this is a very difficult scenario!

  21. This has been a huge struggle ever since I started Goodreads but because we are limited to a 1-5 rating I usually round up. But there are times when I don’t because a sudden “meh” feeling creeps on me that makes my rating change. To put it simply, I don’t know haha!

  22. This is a huge struggle for me, especially when I used to do half ratings on my blog. Now I just either round up or down when I am rating a book, even if I am thinking it’s a .5 in my head. I usually end up rounding down, as there was a reason why it didn’t feel like a 5 star read for me, but a 4.5.

  23. Honestly, I ALWAYS round up. Call me a sucker, or a sap, but I just figure I’d rather give authors a little more than take it away. You’re right… Goodreads definitely needs to get with the program and give us half stars!! I can totally see your dilemma. It’s a tough one for sure! <3

    1. You are not a sucker or a sap at all Lisa – just completely generous. ♥ I wish there were more people like you out there.

      And ugh…I know right! I wonder how long it’s going to take them to get the memo.

  24. I always round up, at least until Goodreads gets with the program. I don’t understand why they haven’t introduced the half star as yet, surely it’s not that hard to implement. I figure it’s better to add that extra half point on than to rate a book below what I think it’s worth to me personally. I always add the actual rating at the start of my reviews on both the blog and Goodreads though. Really interesting topic Zoe, seems like the voting is pretty split with this one. I wonder if anyone has seriously approached Goodreads to put this to them. I dare say yes and they’re probably not interested sadly.

    1. You’re so generous with your ratings Kelly. ♥ I wish I was more like you.

      And I know, right? You think with so many customers all asking for a certain feature, they would do their best to implement it, you know? They obviously have the technological power to do it, the question is why donโ€™t they? *shrugs*

  25. To be honest, the difference between a 3 star review and a 4 star review is pretty huge to a lot of people, especially those on Goodreads. At the end of the day, if it’s not worthy of being a solid 4 stars, it’s closer to being a 3 in my opinion.

  26. I voted round down, but sometimes depending on the book I still round up. It really depends on why I rated it 3 stars, I always read the GR rating, like 3 stars is liked it and 4 stars is something else. Okay that doesn’t really make sense but I hope it did to you XD *hopeful*.

    1. It makes total sense Jeann. If you feel its more than simply a 3-star “like it,” then I round it up to a 4.

  27. Ooh, this is certainly an interesting discussion, Zoe. At the moment, people are favouring rounding up, but I put “I don’t know!” because it fluctuates, and it all depends on the book. I might round it down if overall it wasn’t as fantastic as four stars, but I’d round it up it it was that bit closer to being worth it. I don’t think I could ever say definitively that I’d always round up or down. I do have the trouble with wanting half stars, though! I’d love it if GR did that, one day. Though I don’t know- would I have to go and re-rate from that point on? xx

    1. Thanks Romi! ๐Ÿ˜€ It usually fluctuates for me as well – there are so many different factors that could determine whether I round up or down.

      And that’s what I was thinking. Would that mean having to rerate all the books I’ve already rated before? Interesting thought.

    1. I usually round down as well Lucia! And gosh…I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t use half stars on my blog – ha! Thanks for sharing!

  28. is it weird that i round down? always. i like to keep the base number there. so if it’s 4.5, i knock off the decimal. it’s more because i know that 4.5 is very different from 5 and to me, its closer to 4 than 5. anyway, i tend to be a tough critic so i only rate things 5 when they deserve it. my problem is that i have an “infinity star” for the books that rocked my world. hey goodreads, mind adding that??

  29. What an interesting question! I have to say, it depends on the book I read. Some days I just round up, and others, down. I think the hardest for me, is to put 5 stars. Even if I loved it, these days, I tend to put 4 stars on Goodreads, because I feel like it has to be exceptionnal to earn 5 stars…but maybe I am too harsh, haha! Great topic! ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. I think it depends on the book. I used to do half ratings on the blog but then stopped altogether because I could never half star on Goodreads. So now I am much better and rounding up or down in my head, although I usually have to think about it for a while before I finally decide.

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