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Frequent Contributor
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Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

I personally would like to see some sort of rating system on books, but that's just me.  For example, I would give my novel, The Device, a PG-13 rating for a scene of brief violence.  What do you all think about rating systems? 



The Device



Author of THE DEVICE A Suspense Novel

[url=]The Device [/url]
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Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

Patrick_Skelton, yes, I share with your idea. 

"The NOOKcolor Aficionado"
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Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

Yes, I think I have to agree, for many a times have I read a book, and then read a scene that was a "little" graphic.  See I would rate Oliver Twist PG-13 or something like that because of the scene when Bill murders.  So I think that IS a very good idea.

~Tristan Amaya
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Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

While I agree a ratings system would help, but at the same time I shake my head sometimes at ratings, now you can movie ratings but let me add video game ratings to you almost any game that has any level of violence is handed a T for teen, regardless of the level of violence of the game because they are some pretty violent games that only get a T, M for mature tends to be only given out to sexual content or bloody gore.  Apparently its ok to hack and slash at someone as long as they're bodies don't spray blood everywhere? it's a double standard.  The same thing happens in movies at times as well.  PG-13 given out a lot to movies I would consider more R rated in my mind.  It can be a great idea as long as whoever doing it doesn't just throw ratings in like a catch all rating for things like I just described

Help me down the crooked road. Lead me to the light. I'm not sure I know the way but with you beside me, I'm certain we'll make it through.
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Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

Yes, I think there should be rating system.  There are many erotic novels being pushed as romance.


My nonfiction are all PG.  But there can be and are adult books that are normally controlled from under age reading.

Inspired Contributor
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎02-08-2010

Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

Off the top of my head I can think of at least two things that would go wrong with such a system:



  1. It might raise the price of books as such a system would presumably have to be paid for by someone
  2. I can just imagine the controversy when the bible gets a R-rating!


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Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

No, the current MPAA system for movies is flawed and applied arbitrarily - I would hate to see something like that applied to books.  Giving a movie an "R" rating - like The King's Speech, which received an R for the f-bomb while horror movies with gore but no f-bombs squeak in at a PG-13 - can affect the way it is distributed and perceived.  Both the movie theatres in my town are owned by the same conglomerate and controversial/art house/independent/R-rated films do not receive the same distribution as other commerical/non-R-rated films.  If a rating system were applied to books, that would be a logistical nightmare; we already have a problem in this country with people wanting to keep books out of libraries, restricting access to books, and a rating system would just contribute to the problem.


I don't see a problem with codes for content as a guide for readers, but an acutal rating system will always be flawed and subjective.

Melissa W.
I read and knit and dance. Compulsively feel yarn. Consume books. Darn tights. Drink too much caffiene. All that good stuff.
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Registered: ‎07-17-2009

Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

I appreciate the movie rating system but often it fails... Spectacularly.  Like the remake of Starsky & Hutch (PG-13... really? with a drug deal gone bad as the opening scene then later on a threesome with Starsky & 2 girls). What's really sad is when parents bring their babies, toddles and young kids to R rated movies. Not only is it not good for them to see R rated movies, but the sound system is usually so loud it must damage the hearing of little ones.


I also like parent advisory labels on music. I've come to realize that I'm now out of the loop on what's "in" (when you can't tell the name of the album from the group, then you're part of the uncool crowd) and with a teenage son, I appreciate knowing what I'd rather not have him listening to... as if I have that much control anyway, but I try.


If you know where to look, books are already "rated" when they're published. If they've had cataloging done by the Library of Congress they will assign appropriate subjects that can give you an indication of this. Look on the back of the title page to see if it's been cataloged.


Also, books are reviewed and recommendations made to libraries as to age and reading level appropriateness. You can access just about any library online and search their catalog. When you look at the full record of an item (juvenile and young adult books only) it will have this information. 


I don't know if it's just because things are more progressive these days, or I'm just old fashioned, but it does seem like a lot of books geared towards teens are a lot more graphic then when I was reading teen fiction in the 70's.


As in most everything these days, it's up to the parents to monitor what the kids are reading, not the store, the publisher or the library. What you may find offensive, someone else may think it's not that bad.

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Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

I'm gonna say "No". I look at the categorization, the description, and read the reviews. I often read a sample of the book.


There are too many considerations for a simple rating. One person doesn't like explicit love scenes. Another doesn't like blood and gore. Someone else doesn't like four-letter words. Someone else objects to preachiness. Another considers paranormal elements to be blasphemous. Me, I hate books written by people with no command of written English. :smileytongue:


By the way, I ignore the ratings on movies, too. Until the movie starts and the MPAA placard comes up, I usually don't even know what the rating is.


Distinguished Scribe
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Registered: ‎12-28-2010

Re: Should books have a rating system similar to movies?

I am going to buck the trend here with a resounding NO! I think that ratings are arbitrary and sujective enought to render them basically useless. I read books based on whether the description sounds good. I also check the reviews that typically reference graphic sex or violence.


I am an adult and perfectly capable of determining if I think a book is something I want to read. As a parent I can also make choices about what my child reads. My fear is that rating books starts us down a slippery slope that ends in censorship which I am totally against. Writers should be free to write whatever they want with the sales determining what is acceptable. It only takes a bit of research for an individual to decide if a book contains content that they or their child would find offensive. In my humble opinion to rate books is unnecessary and could potentially stifle creativity.