Book vs. Movie: A Survey Settles the Debate Over Which Is Better

The results also reveal the most-watched film adaptation.

As a child, reading was one of my favorite activities, 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 nonfiction 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 been turned into movies or TV shows.

Woman with dark hair sitting on a sofa reading a book
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The results were fairly close. Overall, 34% of people enjoyed the book, compared to 27% who preferred the movie. Although 82% of those surveyed agreed that "screen adaptations help books come to life," 46% of people argued that film adaptations "would never be as good as the book." Almost 25% 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 those surveyed didn'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 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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