Sometimes I wonder about the effectiveness of 5-stars reviews for books. I wish I have a statistical data about how many readers purchase a book because of 5-stars reviews. I can’t give opinion based on other people. Everyone has their own process in sorting and choosing which book to read/buy. To be honest, I tend to gloss over dimiss 5-stars reviews — unless I know the reviewers taste and preference. For me, 5-stars reviews mean absolutely nothing. It usually contains only the good things and it does not help me what-so-ever in decision making process.
When I use reviews to help me in culling my never-ending to-read shelf, my first option is to find friends’ reviews — which is why I still think Goodreads to be the BEST place to look. I tend to already familiarized myself with their preference. I know that their 4-stars rating can be my 2-stars or vice versa. I know they have their own pet peeves … like cheating, or rent-boy themes, or lack of smut. I know how to ‘read’ their reviews.
BUT there are books that none of my friends have read. This will be a foreign territory. So how do I process with available online reviews, especially those ARC-reviews? Well, I tend to go with the ‘less perfect’ rating. I prefer to read the 4-stars to find the goods and the 2-stars to find the bad. But the reviews that usually help me the most? The three’s. Yep, those 3-stars reviews (or the 3.5-stars). Because those usually give the good and the bad; it feels more balanced. I could try to read between the lines then… and those helps me better.
So you see, I never buy books because of 5-stars reviews. The 2 – 4 stars reviews on the other hand, have been known to influence my clicking that buy button.