Books VS Movies- It’s a tie!

A number of discussions can be found online on the eternal question of ‘books vs movies-which is better’.

The opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of books, but that is a bit unfair.

I would like to present the arguments favouring books that seemed to be the most logical ones:

1) A lot more time and effort is expended in reading a book and therefore they are a much more immersive experience.

2) Books offer a blank canvas for the readers imagination to paint onto, whereas movies do the imagining for you (which in some cases can go very wrong):

From BuzzFeed (1)
From BuzzFeed (1)

3) Meeting someone who loves the same books as you is a rarer and more rewarding experience than meeting someone who loves the same movies as you.

There a ton of horse-crap arguments as well (tempted to give hyperlinks but that’s not the point):

1) Books do not require a power source, you just open and read them– presumably the person who wrote this was like Lord Buddha or Lady Galadriel, with luminous aura around him/her to require no source of light even when reading books at night. How about people reading books on Kindle, are their lives a lie?

2) Hugging a book feels so much better than hugging a CD/DVD– I could put a CD inside a fake-book which was actually just a CD case, and you would have slept with someone other than who you should have been sleeping with.

3) Books are easier to carry around than movies-let’s just leave this one.

4)You can pause at a particular point in the book, just stop reading and take your time to immerse in the scene-whereas to do the same with a movie you might have to hit the spacebar.

Getting back to the good arguments, the following are the reasons why I believe that this debate should not really be a debate to start with as we are comparing apples to oranges (someone please invent a new metaphor for this idea):

1) Extent of immersion into the experience: No one has tried to make a movie that is say 100 hours long, which you can watch for a few hours every day and eventually get to the end over a period of a month. Oh wait, TV series work that way don’t they. Does one tend to get immersed in a TV series more than one would in a movie due to sheer longevity?

Not convinced yet, think about the games like ‘Skyrim’. Each player plays their own version of a fantasy tale, with just the core elements of the storyline acting as the common thread (more about Skyrim and open world games).

Imagine playing out the plot of an entire movie. How is that possible you ask-well I’m sure you have heard about Oculus Rift.


This could happen to books as well, getting to act out the story of a character. Thinking about it this way, it’ s more a question of what technology makes possible. Books were possible much before movies, who knows how we will consume stories ( or information) in the future.

2) The impetus to imagination that books provide: Yes, this is a very good argument but I did not have the creative juices required to out-imagine the depiction of the 700 foot wall of ice in the Game of Thrones TV series.

By George! (2)
By George! (2)

So a lot of times the on screen imaginations actually do us a favour.

Also, aren’t we disrespecting the team of artists who put their hearts and soul into creating imageries for us. Look at the fascinating visual world of Hellboy movies:

3) People who love the same books as you: Oh yes, finding love! I don’t want to negate this point as it might actually be the case. But let me ask you this, isn’t making-a-move-while-watching-the-movie the cliched thing, and not making-a-move-while-reading-a-book.

So I hope this levels the playing field for movies.

If you have been so influenced by my words that you can’t decide what you should do later-read a book or watch a movie, I’d suggest reading a graphic novel, or listening to an audiobook, or a combination of the two and try and think about which would you prefer! (You’re welcome!)


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About Madhur Oza

Aspiring artist. MBA. Erstwhile corporate cavalry. Live to eat. Nerd. Suburban Mumbaikar (pseudo Mumbaikar technically). After having been conditioned by society, it's time to be conditioned by the soul...

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