Movie-like Content Ratings for Books

Movie-like Content Ratings for Books

For years I’ve been annoyed when I pick up a perfectly beautiful-looking book, only to be slammed by over-the-top content. Yes, I’m rather conservative in my reading. I dislike books with so many swear words that I feel like I’m in the middle of a juvenile swearing competition. To me, swearing is a lazy, telling way to show me how a character feels, and I much prefer more creative methods.

And sexual intimacy? Don’t even get me started. I love romance, kissing, and sexual tension, but I’m not into details. They bore me utterly, slowing the plot until I skip ahead. (Yes, I write romance, but it’s plot-based, not sex-based.)

Violence I don’t mind unless it’s very graphic or involves child sacrifice (which I can’t tolerate at all).

Yet invariably, I run into such content. No warning, just slam!

Of course everyone is different and has different preferences, which is perfectly fine with me, but there should be a way to have some inkling of what’s in the book before I buy.

Movies are rated, so why not books? If I’m going to fork out my hard-earned money, I deserve to have some idea of what I’m in for, right?

Well, a year ago another author, and editor and two programmers, and I decided to do something about it: the creation of Book Cave. If you are interested in finding great books that meet your expectations, I hope you’ll jump in and support this site!

Book Cave Rates Books for Content

At Book Cave, subscribers sign up to hear about free and discounted books that match their content ratings. So if you don’t mind violence but don’t want swearing or sex? You can choose that. Don’t mind kissing, but don’t want to see intimate sexual details? Then that’s what you choose. Or maybe you want book with intimacy and no violence. You can have that too. No more guessing!

Rated Book Database

Book Cave also maintains a database of content-rated books that you can peruse. There are thousands and thousands of rated books there already, and this should grow as the site grows. The book in the database aren’t necessarily discounted, but the content-rating is there. What’s even better is that readers like you can add to the database by putting in books you’ve read so that other readers will know their content.

Advantages of Subscribing

1. Use of the site is always going to be free for subscribers.

2. Books are free or steeply discounted, so you can try out new authors without a lot of expense.

3. Our editors look carefully at every book before approving the deal to make sure it’s a  quality product with decent grammar and formatting.

4. Every book is also content rated with movie-like ratings that tell you exactly what is in the book and why it’s rated that way.

5. Just for subscribing, you’ll get three bestselling, content-rated ebooks for free that aren’t discounted anywhere else (the books will change on January first, so if you don’t see ones you want now, you can wait for then).

So far this has been a labor of love, lol, but hopefully someday we’ll be able to pay staff to help out by charging authors a small sum to promote their books. (We have thousands of subscribers and some authors are already reporting significant downloads—authors can submit their deals here.) We are also are working on a sister site (My Book Ratings) that will provide a free permanent listing for all the content-rated books. Readers, authors, and publishers will be able to submit their books and the content ratings for each. I think it’s going to be a fabulous resource for readers.

Please pass this on to the readers and authors you know by using the share buttons below. We readers have the right to know the content rating of a  books before we spend money on them and the more support we have, the more books we can get rated!

I welcome any comments. Do you like the idea of content-rated books?

9 Responses to “Movie-like Content Ratings for Books”

  1. April Osborne

    All I can say at this point (well… not really) is Thank You!! I’ve been searching & beginning (and quickly ending) some new books in hopes of finding ones that have the appropriate content for myself and my 15 year old… and have failed many, many times. Finding this blog and being directed to Book Cave is something I’m so so grateful for. I’ve read several good YA books recently (perks of working in a library… like many of you) and if they aren’t listed, I’ll pass along the information.
    Just wanted you to know that after 3 years of no comments – your page & site are still making a difference.

    Thank you again.

    • Rachel Ann Nunes

      Hi, April. I’m so happy to hear you’ve found us! Book Cave has nearly 14,000 books in their content-rated database now that they maintain aside from the daily discounted books. It would be great, if you would add books that you’ve read to help others. Here’s the direct link to the database: Just click on Readers < Rate a Book I've Read in the menu!

    • Rachel Ann Nunes

      And in fact, if you are ever interested in volunteering, we do have always have a backlog of books that people have submitted that need their links and info checked before publishing!

      • April Osborne

        Thank you for the welcome! I’ll absolutely volunteer to review books – I just hope there’s not a quota. Haha. Sometimes things get crazy in my world with my teenager. =)

  2. Jana Brown

    I really love the idea of having ratings, I always have. But I think the hardest thing is defining what kind of content equates to what kind of rating and I'll be interested to see how you tackle that.

    I look at things like swearing and there are a lot of issues which can make a difference there, starting with where the author is from because language which one person may define as problematic may mean little to nothing to someone else. As well there are issues as to how words are used and which are chosen, particularly if you are dealing with religion, theology, deity and places in genre fiction. So it's sometimes a more difficult thing then just counting how many times a character says 'hell' since it can be used in a cursing fashion or very literally as a place or matter of theology.

  3. Rachel Ann Nunes

    Well said. This is the reason for the details about the ratings, so people who aren't disturbed by one aspect of the rating, will still be able to choose to read the book. So maybe MBR (that's the official trademarked rating name) will rate the book Adult for significant language (verses adult for extensive language), but another person might not consider the 48 d-words, 40-deity swears, and 28 h-words as important. So they can choose. Same with sex, crude humor, kissing, etc. One person recently submitted a book they claimed was rated "G" in movie terms, but it has 133 swears. Not something I think we'd see in even a PG-13 movie. But just because someone doesn't see something as a swear (like an atheist might not care about deity swears), they are still swears to some people, so they have to be marked. Seriously, it's been a real challenge to show all the warnings and give people a choice. But I THINK the ratings now, with a basic overall rating and then the details for WHY it's rated that way AND what else it contains, is the best compromise. But again, we'll need everyone to submit books they've read, and volunteers to approve them.

  4. Rachel Ann Nunes

    Arg, I had a long post written and it disappeared into the Internet. But I agree with you completely. We need to rate books, regardless of price or publisher.

    My Book Ratings will be a crowd-based site where readers, authors, and publishers can rate their books with official MBR rating system. We'd love it if you think we might be able to work together. If you are, let me know.

    Because there is still some variation, even with our rating system, we will also have RATED BY MBR for officially rated books, but most will be crowd-sourced. We have cool rating images for self-rated and MBR-rated books for authors to use wherever.

    We find the most commonly missed thing is cursing. Authors just don't see it. They'll say they have mild swearing and we'll count over 100.

    The upcoming website is fabulous and as simple to use as My Book Cave. I really can't wait for people to see it. If you are interested in working together, I'd love to discuss it. I'm excited other people care about ratings on books!

  5. cathylim

    That's pretty great. I've already been running Rated Reads for 8 years just to let people know about the content of books. It's more of what you'll be doing on My Book Ratings, just in giving ratings, rather than connecting readers to free or discounted clean reads. It's a labor of love for me and my reviewers, too, because it's something that a lot of us really want: information about content. If movies and TV have it, why don't books?

  6. Debra Erfert

    I think a book rating system is a sound idea. I sincerely hope it catches on. I'm all for it.


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