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September 27, 2008 6:49 PM   Subscribe

Judge a book by its cover. See if you can guess the Amazon rating.
posted by prefpara (42 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Does any book ever get a rating under 4 stars?
posted by melgy at 6:52 PM on September 27, 2008


Here's a hint. Give every stupid-looking self-help book five stars. It will vastly improve your score.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:00 PM on September 27, 2008 [7 favorites]


louche mustachio, you should write self-help books!
posted by inconsequentialist at 7:06 PM on September 27, 2008


I'm either a very tough critic, or no book ever gets below three stars. (Sorry for the spoiler)
posted by misha at 7:08 PM on September 27, 2008


Both As I Lay Dying and One Hundred Years of Solitude are rated lower than a diet book whose cover orders you, in 72-point type, to eat Big Macs instead of Whoppers.

It is to weep.
posted by decagon at 7:11 PM on September 27, 2008 [16 favorites]


Does any book ever get a rating under 4 stars?

Same here. Every book I got was four stars.
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 7:16 PM on September 27, 2008


Here's a hint. Give every stupid-looking self-help book five stars. It will vastly improve your score.

That was very helpful, thanks!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:18 PM on September 27, 2008


The only one I saw under four stars was Who Moved My Cheese, which I understood to be sort of a big deal a few years back, IIRC.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:19 PM on September 27, 2008


I just did 35 of these books and just one was below 4 stars -- What to Expect When You're Expecting got 3 stars only. I'm assuming that's one crappy book.
posted by peacheater at 7:19 PM on September 27, 2008


Why this is not fun:
People review books they loved. Therefore, nearly all books are 4 or 5 stars.
posted by k8t at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2008


This has caused me to ignore amazon.com ratings from here on out. Thank you.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 7:21 PM on September 27, 2008


Here's a baseline for you.

3 1/2 stars.
posted by felix betachat at 7:23 PM on September 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


There was a Stephen King novel that got zero. But the rest were 4 or 5.

Am I supposed to have learned something from this?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:23 PM on September 27, 2008


Another baseline.

Also 3 1/2 stars.

this could get fun.
posted by felix betachat at 7:26 PM on September 27, 2008


Both As I Lay Dying and One Hundred Years of Solitude are rated lower than a diet book whose cover orders you, in 72-point type, to eat Big Macs instead of Whoppers.

That's massively unfair to "One Hundred Years of Solitude."
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:26 PM on September 27, 2008


louche mustachio, you should write self-help books!



__________________________________________

IMPROVE YOUR AMAZON RATING
WITHOUT REALLY TRYING



-Boost self-esteem!
-Feel accomplished!
-Become the envy of your friends and family!

ALL BY RESTATING THE OBVIOUS AD NAUSEUM
AND SLAPPING A COVER ON THAT SUMBITCH!


by Louche Mustachio

*****!
-Amazon.com
____________________________________________


I like this idea of yours.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:28 PM on September 27, 2008 [12 favorites]


The Cliff's Notes for The Sun Also Rises gets four stars? Does this mean your paper will get a B?
posted by longsleeves at 7:36 PM on September 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


The literary equivalent of Hot or Not?. About the same conceptual depth.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:38 PM on September 27, 2008


Self help books rate highly among people who read self help books. Whereas classics rate poorly among people forced to read classics.
posted by DU at 7:39 PM on September 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


What to Expect... gets a lowish rating because it's full of fearmongering and bullshit, and is as hated as it is loved.

Who Moved... gets a lowish rating because people are forced to read it by their bosses and professors and whatnot.

At my public library, we've recently gotten a ton of people coming in asking for The Last Lecture. One of 'em eventually mentioned that reading it, and writing a report about it, was part of the terms of their pretrial diversion program.
posted by box at 7:45 PM on September 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Reviewers who post on Amazon tend to lean to the high side. And it is only a 5 point scale, there is not much room.

The reviews on LibraryThing I've found to be more helpful and honest. I don't know what it is about Amazon that people tend to get more pumped up and less objective. I guess the sense your influencing someone to buy the book, and not just giving an honest review for internal reasons.
posted by stbalbach at 7:54 PM on September 27, 2008


Ugh. Man, a lot of shitty books get 5 stars. Wisdom of crowds my ass!
posted by graventy at 7:56 PM on September 27, 2008


The Cliff's Notes for The Sun Also Rises gets four stars? Does this mean your paper will get a B?


the book itself got zero. 0. no stars.


i weep
posted by localhuman at 7:57 PM on September 27, 2008


I haven't seen a book get fewer than 4 stars, including a Lynne Cheney book that got five. Ouch.
posted by Mister_A at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2008


I actually didn't believe that rating, and looked it up on amazon. The book actually gets around 4 stars, so I'm not quite sure why this website told me it had 0 stars.

Anyways, I always love reading that book. Regardless of its cover or purposed rating on a website.
posted by localhuman at 8:07 PM on September 27, 2008


the book itself got zero. 0. no stars.

Hm? I think it's impossible to give a book zero stars, as I've noticed angry one-star reviews saying "If I could give it zero, I would". The edition you looked at probably just hasn't been reviewed.
posted by CKmtl at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2008


It's easy to find one-star ratings. They're what progressives give wingnut books whether they've read them or not, and what conservatives give to loony liberal books ditto.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:13 PM on September 27, 2008


Any book you've never heard of tends to get 4 or 5 stars, because it's reviewed by the two people who read it and liked it.

Any book that was popular and deals in anything people have opinions about will be three stars. What to Expect When You're Expecting, for example, is a book that's always recc'd to pregnant women. A lot of people will read it and like it and rate it highly, and then there's going to be women who latch onto some stuff and claim it will kill your baby or whatever, so they take the time to rate it lowly.
posted by Nattie at 8:15 PM on September 27, 2008


Is there a book on how to properly rate books? I smell a market!
posted by jamstigator at 8:21 PM on September 27, 2008


With regard to the Mein Kampf baseline suggested by felix betachat, man are some of the reviews there interesting. Amazon breaks them down like this:

152 Reviews
5 star: (69)
4 star: (26)
3 star: (24)
2 star: (10)
1 star: (23)

Most of it's the typical 5 stars 'Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world' or 1 star 'I'd never read this but I hate what I think it says.' But some of them are actually really good, in-depth reviews.

As an aside, I generally find the three-star reviews to be the most helpful.
posted by resurrexit at 8:55 PM on September 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thank you for helping me to not pay attention to book reviews. Ever.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:48 PM on September 27, 2008


Both As I Lay Dying and One Hundred Years of Solitude are rated lower than a diet book whose cover orders you, in 72-point type, to eat Big Macs instead of Whoppers.

It is to weep.


I used to think it was sad that many bookstores have shelves and shelves of self-help and diet books but no poetry and little classic literature. I've realised that it's actually inevitable. If you've got the latter, you have no need of the former.
posted by atrazine at 12:56 AM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Typically when I read reviews, I start with negative ones and seek out critics who seem to have a firm grasp of the English language and appear well-read. I always find these to be the most insightful.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 1:20 AM on September 28, 2008


The ideal book: How To Improve Thine Kampf in 30 Days or Less
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:04 AM on September 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


So, this post got me looking at the reviews for Mein Kampf and buried among the Hitler-loving 5 star reviews is this absolute gem:

The Hobbit is an excellent work of fiction. However, many believe Tolkien's masterpiece was brought on by his severe heroin addiction. Clearly Bilbo Baggins is what he views himself as,a dillusional 3 foot tall man. Heroin makes addicts feel as if they shrink, and become thieves, stealing from loved ones to pay for their costly habit. When Bilbo steals the ring of invisibility, it's clear that he feels himself as invisible to his wife. I suggest marijuana.

I kid you not.
posted by boubelium at 5:11 AM on September 28, 2008


As is my tendency with this kind of thread/conversation, I'm gonna have to break out this review of Night by Elie Wiesel:

I do have lone friend that is would recommend this to because she liek to read about true storys and what has happend in our past history in amarica. The reason i did not like this book was because I am a hores freak. My friends say that I eat, dream, and sleep horses. Which in most cases is true. Most the time when i read a book it has to do somthing with horse or i just not intrested in reading the book. Most my friends say that I will grow out of this thing I have with horses but they told me that four years ago and i still love horses. I will always be a horse freak. Theses are some of the reason why i did not like the book "Night."
posted by decagon at 9:26 AM on September 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


boubelium reminded me of some other entertaining Amazon reviews:

Many reviews of Milk. (This is my favorite link.)

Almost all of this user's reviews

Reviews react to an impossible computer.

This user, also

Self-inflating Whoopie cushion
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:05 AM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really hate the majority of US covers -- some are so garish and SELL SELL SELL tacky; like the SF and Fantasy covers we get over here, but for everything.

I like a lot of UK covers, but am a total sucker for French and German covers, especially the stripped-down all-typographic ones.
posted by bonaldi at 10:53 AM on September 28, 2008


Katie's Amazon.com > Recommended For You

-------------------------------------------------
1.       Equus
          by Peter Shaffer (Oct 4, 2005)
          Average Customer Rating: ***** ▼ (2)
          In Stock

          List Price: $12.00
          Price: $9.60
          8 used & new from $9.60

I own itNot interested     x|☼☼☼☼☼ Rate it
Recommended because you used the phrase horse freak and more (Fix this)
-------------------------------------------------
posted by CKmtl at 11:18 AM on September 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


How to Take the GRRRRR out of Anger: 5 stars.

This shit: 4.5 (on this site, it counts of 5 stars).

I weep.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 1:42 PM on September 28, 2008


next, judge Lethal Weapon by Danny Glover.
posted by darkripper at 4:13 PM on September 28, 2008


Metafilter.com: I eat, dream, and sleep horses
posted by minifigs at 4:46 AM on September 29, 2008


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