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Books Vs. Films: Which Is Better? (INFOGRAPHIC)

Books Vs. Films: Which Is Better? (INFOGRAPHIC) has created the infographic “The Ultimate Showdown: Books vs. Films,” a thorough survey of contemporary and classic literary adaptations onscreen. Results were culled from an aggregate of reviews of both books and movies over the last two decades.The clear winner according to the graphic (below)? Books. And the results give a sense of what is gained and lost in translation from page to screen–and which, ultimately, audiences prefer.

While hugely popular books remain more beloved, and prevalent, than their movies, obscure source material made into hit movies is beat out, hence the gap between David Fincher’s “The Social Network” and Ben Mezrich’s Facebook backstory book “The Accident Billionaires,” for example. Meanwhile, love for “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s global blockbusters are roughly neck-and-neck.

2013 has been a banner year for literary and nonfiction adaptations, among them “12 Years a Slave,” “The Book Thief,” “Labor Day,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Long Walk to Freedom,” a few of which have landed on the NYT bestsellers list.

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Dennis Harvey

The comparison would only be interesting if it was a poll of people who'd both read the book and seen the movie, and if it somehow managed to weed out those whose automatically response is "The book is always better (because that's what I experienced first)." Of course most books are going to be more satisfying on the level of sheer detail (on all levels). But the issue would be whether a movie managed to fully capture the spirit of a book, and/or managed to make something separate-but-equal (or even better) of the same basic elements.


This is an unnecessary comparison. Of course books are going to be more satisfying, if we must use a word other than better, to an audience, as the material was originally conceived as a book, for that format, not to be transformed into a film. Books and film are very different mediums and as such aim to accomplish different things.

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