the cawpile rating system

January 22, 2021

When reading – or more specifically finishing – books, I always struggle to put my opinion into a rating. I usually just used a five-star rating system, more often than not with half-stars in between. But lately, this wasn’t enough. Even more specific ratings like 4.25 don’t feel right, since these don’t show off what exactly I liked or didn’t. Moreover, most of my ratings tend to have some emotional value and I might rate the book differently after I had some time to process. Thus my current rating system wasn’t enough anymore and I needed something new. After a bit of research, I found the CAWPILE rating system for books, which G from Book Roast worked out. It covers several aspects of what I might like or not like about a book. Namely, these are:

Characters
Atmosphere
Writing Style
Plot
Intrigue
Logic / Relationships
Enjoyment

Every aspect gets a score from 1 to 10 (no half scores or the like) and then the sum gets divided by seven, to get an average rating. This rating can be translated back into the five-star rating. That way, every important aspect of the book is taken into consideration but reflected into the well-known rating system (and you can put it into Goodreads and the like). The transition looks like this:

0 — 1
1.1 — 2.2 ⭐
2.3 — 4.5 ⭐⭐
4.6 — 6.9 ⭐⭐⭐
7 — 8.9 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
9 — 10 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I started using this system with the beginning of 2021 – a new year, a new (better?) rating system. Since I’m no mathematical genius and sometimes are simply too tired to actually calculate the rating, I put together a spreadsheet for my Notion, which you can find here. You can use it as a template if you want to and even add you own columns. I decided to add the title, author, date I finished the book and the status of the review. This way I see which review I still have to write. Other than that, I only need to put in the scores for the CAWPILE system and the spreadsheet automatically calculates both the average rating and how many stars that would be.

I know that this system might take a bit more time than simply deciding on a rating from 1 to 5, but with the help of my spreadsheet, it only takes me a few more seconds. The only thing I need to do is actively thinking about the seven aspects and the scores I want to use for them. The rest is easy. It will be significantly easier for me to write my reviews with this system from now on, and I’m so excited to get things done now!

Maybe you’d also enjoy this innovative kind of rating system. I definitely encourage you to at least try it – and if you use Notion as well, please feel free to try out my spreadsheet; and let me know if you use it as well, I’d love to see what you’re doing with it!

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