The Movie Vs. Book Debate: Which One is Better?

Movies or books, which one is better? Let me get the first thought stated, and then we can build up from there. Simply put, the question is this, “Which is better, movies or books?” The answer is quite simple and yet very complex as well. The simple answer is that books are obviously better. But the complication is the fact that it’s not fair to compare them. Now just to say this to my old Movie Gallery customers wasn’t enough, so I’ll assume it’s not enough for my readers either, so let me expand on this concept.

For a fast reader, how long does it take to read through a good book? I’m not talking about speed reading either. I’m talking about quickly reading a book while going slow enough to enjoy every detail. Well, my best friend is probably about the fastest reader I know, so I’ll use him for my example. And since many people will probably be familiar I’ll also use the first “Twilight” movie and book for a point of reference. One evening while we were visiting my brother, my friend spent most of the evening reading the first book in the Twilight Saga. Reading at what he called a comfortable pace, he smashed out the first half of the book in a mere three and a half hours. Now let’s go ahead and stop here to think about something important.

Why do we read or watch movies? Entertainment is pure and simple. We do these activities to provide ourselves with entertainment. So if we go back to the example, we know that half of a normal book equals about 3.5 hours of entertainment. This would make the whole book worth an astounding 7 full hours of entertainment, or probably closer to 10 or more for an average reader. Now, what about the movie? Well, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), the first “Twilight” movie has a run time of 122 minutes. Since that is only 2 minutes past the nearest hour marker, we’ll just call it 2 hours. is where you can enjoy movies for free. There you get countless hours of entertaining movies of every genre. 

So in truth, we are trying to compare 2 hours of entertainment to 10 hours of entertainment. Is that even a fair comparison? Of course not, but who really cares about the fair in this discussion. The final part that I would like to share to sum it all up, and the line that I used with my customers and still use now is this, “Have you ever read a book that was 5 times better than the movie counterpart?” I rarely hear anyone answer yes to that question which gives the real answer. Movies are usually better, just shorter.

Now let’s add another thought that I have shared with many people. Have you ever watched a movie after reading the book and felt discomfort with the choice of actors and actresses? It’s a statement I’ve heard many times, “So and so just didn’t play the part well enough.” Now this gives the implied meaning that watching a movie after a book is a gamble, because if you have details about the characters solidified in your mind, the movie may not represent them in a perfect way for you, dropping the quality of the entertainment. But if you watch a movie first and then read the book, your entertainment is maximized because you now know EXACTLY what the characters look and sound like to the T. This final thought proves further still that on a head to head comparison, books may win against movies, but when you look at the bigger picture, movies provide the most powerful entertainment of the two, and when viewed in “reverse order” can even increase the value of the book as well making movies win this little battle hands down.

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