This is quite the controversial question. Do young adult books need a rating system? Movies, video games and music all have content ratings these days, why don’t books? It’s a really good question, don’t you think? Why has the book industry shied away from adding ratings to their books? While we don’t have the answers to all of these questions, we do have some educated guesses.
The fear of censorship: We all believe in our right to free speech. In researching why people think ratings are censorship, I came across this post on Book Riot. Rachel makes a great point when adding the Webster definitions back to back next to each other. The definition of censor and rate are not one in the same:
“According to Marriam-Webster:
Censor: to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable <censor the news>; also: to suppress or delete as objectionable <censor out indecent passages>
Rate: to set an estimate on; or to determine or assign the relative rank or class of.
Nowhere in the definition of rate does the issue of suppression or deletion appear.”
Rating a book is simply giving information up front. Transparency. Ratings are not saying that a book is bad or that it shouldn’t be read. It’s up to the reader to know what limits or what content is okay for them to read.
The fear of banned books: While there are still plenty of organizations who are banning books for whatever reasons, adding a rating to a book is certainly not the same as banning a book. A rating once again is just giving disclosure to the reader about what the content inside the pages. It in no way is saying that a book is bad or that a book shouldn’t be read. Movies aren’t banned because of their ratings, why would books be banned?
At Clean Teen Publishing, we have decided that we want transparency in every book that we publish. We believe in the need to have a rating system for the young adult genre. We do not believe in censorship, nor do we believe in banning books.
The Young Adult genre has an average age range of 12 years old to 18 years old. The seven years in that age range may not seem like a large gap, but in terms of emotional maturity and understanding, it is a huge gap. Also, we understand that one 12 year old can vary in maturity from another 12 year old. This is why having a clear and up front detailed rating about a book will help the reader and or their parents know what they are getting into when they read one of our books.
Our rating system
will continually be a work in progress as we find and learn more about what readers and parents want disclosed. We have worked tirelessly to make our ratings as non subjective as possible. We have created a blueprint form for our reviewers to use when applying a rating to a book. Each book will be rated using the same blueprint.
Since rolling out our initiative to create a rating system, we have received an overwhelming response from the Indie community. Many Indie authors have asked us about our system and have shared their support with us. This is why we have decided to offer the service of rating books
to all Indie authors and publishing companies who wish to be rated using our system. Each rating will come with a jpeg image of the rating, a content disclosure section with a link to where to buy your book on our website and a QR code that leads to your disclosure.
We would love to hear everyone’s thoughts and opinions about our rating system. Please check out all of the information on our Clean Teen Publishing
website. Then come back to this post and leave us a comment! We look forward to hearing from you.