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Curious about the Shelfbuzz rating system? You’ve arrived at the right place.

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About the Shelfbuzz Rating System

Important Note: Please keep in mind that our ratings represent the subjective opinion of our editorial staff (informed by looking at some data from Amazon).

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. If your opinions differ from ours, that’s great. You are free to express your opinions on your own website or other sites such as Goodreads, Amazon, Reddit, etc.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about how we at Shelfbuzz rate books.


This gives you a sense of how popular a book is. We look at the number of Amazon reviews as a proxy for downloads or purchases. This is different than Amazon’s sales rank — which can be affected by different factors. Note that a book that is new or undiscovered may have a low downloaded score.


The best way to judge the quality of a book is to read it yourself. But that means we would only be able to feature a dozen or so books a year. So we do the next best thing. We read reviews. A book that is well-reviewed will score high on our liked meter.


Shelfbuzz was actually founded on the belief that if an author or publisher cares about the quality of his or her book, they will most likely invest in a professional cover design (and professional editing). Our professionalism meter shows our opinion of how well-designed the cover is (along with some other factors). Important note: just because an author pays for a cover design, doesn’t mean they automatically have a well-designed cover. Apologies for sounding harsh, but there are plenty of inexperienced or untalented cover designers out there. Need a professional cover designer? We have a list.


This is kind of a touchy subject. Everyone has their own opinion about how much an ebook should cost. The Big 5 publishers like to charge as much as $15 for a fiction ebook. Amazon seems to feel that ebooks should be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. We started Shelfbuzz several years ago when there was a plethora of free ebooks out there and so we initially focused on finding good free ebooks. As of 2016, the landscape has changed a bit. We’ve noticed that many of our readers would rather pay a few bucks for a really good book than to pick up a book of questionable quality just because it’s free. So we’re presenting books at different price points (including free) and giving you some idea of the price using our price meter. Free books will show a blue bar with the word FREE in it. Inexpensive books will show a small green bar — while the most expensive books will show a long orange/red bar. In most cases we won’t feature a book that costs more than $5, so “expensive” is a relative term. IMPORTANT NOTE: prices change frequently. This meter represents the price at the time we featured the book.