The results also reveal the most-watched film adaptation.

By Jennifer Aldrich
February 06, 2020
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As a child, reading was one of my favorite hobbies, and it still is to this day. I've always loved immersing myself in the pages of a novel, entirely captivated by fictional characters and their stories. One part of the experience that almost always left me disappointed, however, was when one of my beloved books became a movie. And according to a recent survey, I'm not the only person who is let down by book adaptations.

SuperSummary, an online resource that provides study guides for fiction and non-fiction books, wanted to know the answer to a burning question: Book or movie? The company asked 2,030 people, ages 23 to 62, to answer questions about books that had turned into movies or TV shows.

Credit: Morsa Images/Getty Images

The results were fairly close. Overall, 34% of people enjoyed the book, compared to 27% of people who liked the movie more. Although 82% of surveyors said "screen adaptations help books come to life," 46% of people argued that film adaptations "would never be as good as the book." Almost 25% of people declared that movies even ruined the original book. The top three books that people preferred over the films were: The Da Vinci Code with 53.9%, The Chronicles of Narnia series with 52%, and the Fifty Shades trilogy with 47.3%.

The top reasons for not approving the film adaptation weren't surprising. Nearly 32% said that the movie was too different than the book, 13.4% of people said the film lacked key details, and a little more than 10% of surveyors don't like the approximate two-hour movie time limit.

Although respondents were divided on whether they prefer reading vs. watching, they were more aligned with the most-watched adaptation. Forrest Gump took home the top spot, with 76.9% of people saying they've seen it. However, only 5.6% of people said they enjoyed the book. Following Tom Hanks' movie was the Jurassic Park series with 74.8%, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with 73.7%, and the Harry Potter series with 70.1%.

Perhaps the slight preference of the book over the movie is related to libraries being a little more popular than movie theaters. I completely understand why people might prefer watching a live, condensed version of a story on the big screen, but to me, there are few simpler pleasures than getting lost in the pages of a good book.


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