70 Following


In which I find evidence of the efficacy of reviews (maybe)

You know how sometimes you have the urge to collect statistics on some random phenomenon that doesn't really matter? Maybe you don't. I do. Tonight it was my Goodreads ratings by popularity of said books. Now I am not someone who thinks of myself as liking popular books: I don't go to bestseller lists for recommendations; I think a lot of popular books are crap, and even when I like them, I have a hard time feeling passionate about books everybody loves. So I was surprised by what I found.


Books with 0-100 GR ratings: My average rating is 3.1. (9 such books rated out of 13 read)

Books with 101-1000 GR ratings: My average is 3.2. (68 books rated out of 95 read)

Books with 1001-10,000 GR ratings: My average is 3.3. (112 books rated out of 150 read)

Books with 10,001-100,000 GR ratings: My average is 3.4. (90 books rated out of 172 read)

Books with 100,001+ GR ratings: My average is 3.5. (39 books rated out of 130 read)


(I excluded books published in 2014, since their ratings aren't indicative of much yet.)


So, apparently popularity means more than I thought. Are popular books better - or my tastes more conventional - than I thought? I'd rather attribute it to reviews: the more a book has been vetted, the wider the range of opinions represented and the better I can predict whether I'll like something. The fewer reviews, the more I am doing the vetting, and the greater the chance of finding a dud.


So, thank you to all of you out there who read critically and write reviews! I've always felt that reviews made a big difference in my reading but this is the first time I've had numbers on it.