The World’s Ten Best Books (based on total number of stars)

“How many stars does it have?” is a common thing to ask about books.

And yes, the star ratings really do matter. So much so, in fact, that every now and then an author seems to get caught buying reviews to inflate his star count. I have to admit that this has ruined Amazon reviews a bit for me, and any book I’ve never heard of that has 4 five-star reviews, each of which is very short (often riddled with typos), gets a bit of an o_O from me. The clever XKCD poked fun at this a while back.


I recently wrote a whole post devoted to reasons I buy the books I do, but I’m still not sure exactly how this book discovery thing works.

So I devised a new way to see which book is the best: Total Number of Stars.

I went with a top-of-mind random sample; books I either knew where immensely popular interspersed with books I find immensely good. Of course, I would imagine that a book that is both very popular AND really good would win this competition hands down (are you thinking The Great Gatsby? I sure am). I take the book’s average rating and multiply that with total number of reviews to get what I shall humbly call the Johann Star Total.

So for instance, A Game of Thrones has an average rating of 4 stars. With 4,350 reviews, that gets it a Johann Star Total of 4 x 4350 = 17400. Feel free to use this from now on when discussing books.

Top Ten Books, based on total number of stars:

To Kill a Mockingbird cover

10. To Kill a Mockingbird.

Average rating: 4.5. Total reviews: 2,548.

Total number of stars: 11,466

The Great Gatsby

9. The Great Gatsby

Average rating: 4. Total reviews: 3,711.

Total number of stars: 14,844

The Da Vinci Code

8. The DaVinci Code

Average rating: 3,5. Total reviews: 4,973.

Total number of stars: 17,405


7. Nineteen Eighty-Four

Average rating: 4,5. Total reviews: 3,878.

Total number of stars: 17,451

twilight original book cover

6. Twilight

Average rating: 4. Total reviews: 6,236.

Total number of stars: 24,944

wool cover

5. Wool

Average rating: 4,5. Total reviews: 6,291.

Total number of stars: 28,309

Harry Potter

4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Average rating: 4,5. Total reviews: 7,758.

Total number of stars: 34,911

Gone Girl cover

3. Gone Girl

Average rating: 4. Total reviews: 13,599.

Total number of stars: 54,396

50 shades of grey

2. Fifty Shades of Grey

Average rating: 3,5. Total reviews: 21,254.

Total number of stars: 74,389

Hunger Games UK paperback Film Tie-in

1. The Hunger Games

Average rating: 4,5. Total reviews: 17,405.

Total number of stars: 78,322

* This post originally appeared on Bookriot.


2 thoughts on “The World’s Ten Best Books (based on total number of stars)”

  1. That’s an interesting way of looking at the star ratings and, I’m not a statistician, but seems more accurate, or, at the very least, more ‘telling’. The only problem would be duration the book has been out along with how it was released.


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