Comments: 29
I generally do not rate, but I write a post on why I did not finish it. I have rated books that I didn't finish if there is excessive puncuation, misspellings, etc. I do make sure to flip through the whole book to be sure that the whole book is problematic.
Oh, and great post! I have read reviews on sites that said things like:

DNF, one star because...
it has the word "fuck" on the first page.
it is young adult, and I don't like young adult.
it is religious.

Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
Hopefully no one flips through whole kindle/ebook to see if defective. Counts as being read and some royalty programs and return policies are geared to number of pages read.
I don't use unlimited services or amazon too often. I tried a couple of them through their trial period, but that is it. I have only had it happen on books I was asked to review, or were free, or bought in physical form. I am adamant about reading an entire sample of a book and have even went as far as to go to a different site and check to see if a sample is longer if I am still unsure.
Also, I didn't know there was return policies on ebooks. That is great to know. I just always filed books that I purchased as a loss for me if they sucked. Thank you. How did I not know that? Does amazon have a return policy on ebooks?
I was gifted 3 months of Scribd and have actually had great luck there.
Spare Ammo 6 years ago
I think it is 7 days.
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
Amazon's return policy, like Spare Ammo says, I think is 7 days for easy return. But, you can also email their customer service after that easily if never read past a small percent and/or can complain it was bad quality aka defective product policy. Different sites and stores of course have different policies.

I actually won't return books anywhere (physical or ebook) just because I didn't like the book. I absolutely will if I mistakenly got an upload clearly not ready to be published. Outside of exchanging for exact same book over print issues (like my copy having pages bound funky or section faded/unreadable) that only happened twice. Once before I learned there's a damn good reason to sample. Again when a sample fooled me where the book after sampled pages was clearly a draft uploaded by an author who had to have known the same editing leading to sample should have been applied to rest of book.
I agree, no returning books because they sucked, but badly formatted or badly composed, yes, would return that. I bought one the was 400 pages but only 2 sentences per page, and I paid 7 dollars for it. The sample was not like that, and it was great. The book, not great and only novelette length.
Archer's Asylum 6 years ago
I'm not normally picky it's just something I've been thinking about for a little while.
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
I always specify in a DNF review that I didn't finish it.

If I'm sure "it's just me" -- particularly if I can pinpoint why it would appeal to someone else or did not appeal to me -- I'll leave an unrated review stating I stopped reading and explaining just those particulars.

If clearly someone's uploaded rough draft nowhere near ready to publish and returnable as "defective product" -- ½ star it and say so. Not likely to have read far enough to warrant a long rant and not wanting to waste still yet more of my time on reviewing it with a lot of details (sometimes I don't even take that time and just ½-star the thing and shelve it "DNF"). That's just the textbook "consumer speech" or "consumer boycott." I would loathe to dupe another reader into downloading/buying because they saw I had marked it "currently reading."

There's a point where I'm deciding if I want to DNF that I check the reviews to see if someone mentioned my issues and say they get better. Like maybe a convoluted intro to workd and characters that is slow-paced gets better and more action-packed the rest of the book, maybe an irritating character gets comeuppance or changes, maybe first-in-series-itis but picks up towards end, etc. Those reviews could make me give it a longer chance or ditch immediately if other reviewers had same issues.

If I DNF for reasons other than "defective"depends on how far I read whether I'll rate and/or review. I don't always read enough to form an opinion or have something to say. Sometimes was okay book that just couldn't hold my interest even if I couldn't pinpoint "why" -- those I almost never review or rate.

It took me years before I could DNF any book -- just too precious and could always tuck away on back of toilet or into a carry-on in case stranded in airports. The advent of ebooks, self-publishing and a not-in-my-lifetime TBR changed that. I don't DNF many; if unfamiliar with author's works (or an author I don't always like) -- I've learned to briefly check the sample first. I will say so if sample was clearly of a book not ready to be published but otherwise don't rate or say anything. Some samples have fooled me; presumably author had just sample edited or an unsuspecting editor did a sample for free to showcase their editing services.
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
I'm now having a bad flashback to a DNF book where I couldn't even make it past the first three kindle screens. I swear I kept having to re-read multiple paragraphs trying to parse what the heck they were trying to say (and who was trying to say it or do it to whom). It didn't read like a translation problem where someone just ran it through babelfish or google translate type of issue -- it was that bad. Plus a dozen probable typos that a basic spellchecker would have caught.
Murder by Death 6 years ago
I don't have any problem writing a review of the portion of book I've read and why I didn't like it. The way I look at it is: if someone was sitting across from me and asked me about the book, I'd unhesitatingly tell them I didn't finish it, and if they wanted to know why, I'd tell them. If I was in a book club discussing the book, I wouldn't think twice about reporting to the club I didn't like–and therefore didn't finish–the book and I'd naturally tell them why.

So why wouldn't I tell my BookLikes (GR/LM) friends the same thing?
Spare Ammo 6 years ago
I usually try to finish at least 50% before I DNF and I have no problem reviewing the part I read. Someone asked me once about why I felt it was okay to review a DNF and I told them this:

You read my review. If I had to read the whole book before I could tell the reading world what I thought of this piece of carp do you honestly think my review would be any milder? No. I can guarantee that that review would make this one look like kittens and baby unicorns. Be very thankful I DON'T have to read the whole damn thing.

TezMillerOz 6 years ago
I say, "Review - yes. Rate - no." Well, you can rate it with "DNF" instead of a star-rating ;-)
Archer's Asylum 6 years ago
That tends to be what I used to do. But even that wasn't right for some people
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
At no percent finished would you rate a book? Not even one where afte a very long, very little happening "meh" book you didn't care for but friends told you to persevere because it got good, where you read 75% of before it turned really atrocious on the grammar and readability as if author ran out of money to pay to edit that section?
So, question, my friends went out to dinner with me last night, and tasted something that they thought felt rancid. Are they obliged to finished the whole meal before they declare it tastes rancid?

Their meals are also products, yes?

I try to only review books I finish, but I certainly will call out books even on the first or second page if the grammar is lousy. I don't need to finish my meal to tell it's undercooked, just like I don't need to finish a book to tell that it hasn't been edited. If it is bad enough? I will rate and review. No matter how little I've read.
Archer's Asylum 6 years ago
I agree. You don't need to finish a book to know that it's not for you.
Or to know that the grammar is messed up. If you order something off the menu, just like when you buy a book, and it isn't to your taste, that's different than being fundamentally... bad. And one can argue about the subjectiveness of literature, but in general, grammar is far more objective.

Either way, one can say that they didn't enjoy the meal and why and explain that others may find it enjoyable. Or one can say, hey, this restaurant gave me and my three friends food poisoning - another dinner of ours - and that isn't a matter of taste, so I won't touch it with a ten foot pole again.

Either way, the consumer, the person who spent time and money on the thing, has a right to say something. And other consumers have a right to know when food is going to make them sick, or, y'know, defying the laws of grammar that much is also going to make them sick.
Great post and question. I do not always review DNF's but I totally agree with you statement about some negative reviews are tempting and some positive reviews put you off. Again ... Excellent post.
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
I suspect I should review more DNF and bad books. I tend not to want to waste more time on them in order to review. Anymore I seldom read a bad book because I now quickly DNF a lot (and I mostly sample first so avoid some potential bad reads that way). I do review some DNF and don't think there's anything wrong with that -- but, I often don't read enough of a DNF'd book to feel comfortable reviewing. That's not a set percent or a certain number of pages; just a "feeling" of whether or not I read enough to write a reasonable review.
6 years ago
I think it comes down to why we DNF.

If I just don't get into the story or identify with a character who might be too young/military/political/paranoid or anything else but someone else might love it, I may not make the effort. If I think the description led me to believe something different from what I found, I might mention that to help others decide if it's for them.

If a book is soooo badly edited that it's unreadable, readers deserve a warning. It's the one occasion that I won't think badly of an author if they drop me a message to say it's been fixed. Yes they should have fixed it before release, but many new authors don't realise how much gets by you when you write until someone points it out.

If the book loses steam halfway through and I'm struggling to finish, I might do like Jessica says and mention but not rate. Different readers have different patience levels or love/hate for exposition etc.

It's case by case with me.
Debbie's Spurts 6 years ago
"...description led me to believe something different from what I found, ..." — ooh, yes. That one. In this current world of odd ideas of book descriptions and "my book cannot be pigeonholed to a certain category" books, I will leave a review commenting to that effect (usually no rating, depends on if I read far enough to judge if a well-written book even if misleading description made it not appeal to me).

That's one of two review things I will change later for an author. (1) if they fix the book description and (2) on sites where it's not clear my review was of an older edition I will add that disclaimer at polite author request that they've made a new edition (I won't change my review of that older edition nor will I read the new edition even if free.). I firmly believe you can only review the book you read and the meal you ate with no obligation to keep reading or eating more by same person. I don't care less that a published work of fiction has a new edition; the time to create new editions and do more editing is before publication with your beta readers and not for customers who are not getting your sold as a published book in order to provide editing feedback or editing/cover funding. I almost never add the "review of older edition" disclaimer because most sites do that already and mostly authors who contact reviewers about a review tend to be at best demanding rather than polite (the few polite queries about reviews stand out from the bilge where I will add the disclaimer for them).
Witty Little Knitter 6 years ago
I review DNF books and always state why I did not finish it. Though I don't always rate them as well. When it was just clearly a 'not for me' book (writing style, did not like the voice of the narrator etc.) I mostly leave the rating blank. If there's stuff like grammatical errors, offensiveness and so on I'll also rate it 0.5/1 star. Which to be fair is also always subjective but as said: I clearly state that I did not finish the book at the beginning of my review so nobody can claim I'm misleading anybody.
Archer's Asylum 6 years ago
The way I see it, my ratings are my enjoyment levels of the books I read. If I am not enjoying it to the point that I put it down, I am OK to rate it low because it wasn't for me. I understand that not everyone would agree with my ratings of the book, but not everyone agrees with my positive ratings either.
6 years ago
I'll have to agree with you on that. Ratings are all about enjoyment level.
Archer, the DNF question is something that has been hanging on my mind too, although I personally don't DNF a lot because I try very hard to avoid books I think I'll dislike. Your questions about "would all the questions you have about a book be answered if you read the whole thing--yes, no, maybe so" etc also raised to my mind about reviewing the first book in a series. Because sometimes first installments are disappointing, and all the fans tell you "keep reading, all the stuff gets resolved in book number x" and so on.

Personally I think reviewing DNFs are just fine. Good stories in general don't hinge 100% on some big dramatic ending that you have to persevere to reach, good stories will engage you consistently from beginning to end...and if there are some weird authors out there who write poorly for the first 70% or whatever of the book, then abruptly raise the quality to that of a literary masterpiece in the last 30% you didn't read, then that says a lot more about their authorial failings than a reviewer's lack of understanding. So bottom line is, I agree with you--review DNFs as much as you want, say why it made you give up and maybe it will help a fellow reader. Thanks very much for the post!
Archer's Asylum 6 years ago
In a series I expect there to be some things that don't come to fruition by the end of book one, otherwise why make a series out of it. The question was based more around singular titles. I just feel that maybe there are too many people who don't understand why some people write their reviews. They don't do it for other people, rather they do it as a kind of journal of their own literary adventures for their own sakes.