2. Books or films?

Transcript item

Jo: Hi, everybody. So I'm here with Kirk, and we're talking about the big question: which is better, the book or the film? What do you think?
Kirk: I would say the short answer is the book, usually.
Jo: The book?
Kirk: Yeah.
Jo: OK. Why is that?
Kirk: I ... Well, there's just so much more background information, you can usually get some insight into what the character's thinking and feeling in a way ...
Jo: Definitely, yeah.
Kirk: Or, at least, it's more developed in a book than in a film.
Jo: And does it happen to you where, like, if you've read the book and you imagined the characters in a certain way, sometimes when you see the film, you're just like, 'No!'
Kirk: Yeah.
Jo: 'That's ... That's not right!'
Kirk: Yeah. No, though it's curious, then later on the film ... the character in the film kind of takes over—
Jo: Yeah.
Kirk: the character in the book, at least in my experience.
Jo: Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Kirk: Which I don't necessarily like, but that's the power of the films.
Jo: Yeah. So why do we spend so much time watching films, then, if reading is better?
Kirk: The million-dollar question. Yeah, I don't know. It's definitely true, I mean, even ... I watch more films and series than I do read, that's for sure.
Jo: Mmm. It's kind of more entertaining when you're tired.
Kirk: I think it is a lot easier and you can do it with other people as well, in a way that you can't do with a book exactly.
Jo: Yeah, OK, that's true. It's more social. I feel like that's kind of unfair to films, though. I've seen some amazing films. For example, I recently really enjoyed the Dune film. 
Kirk: Uh huh.
Jo: It reminded me of the book, which is even more amazing, but it looked beautiful.
Kirk: Yeah, I really liked it too. I was just relieved that it was actually good, because often books made or – sorry – films made of difficult books just don't come out very well. But I think they did a good job.
Jo: Yeah, definitely. OK.
Kirk: Well ...
Jo: Well, shall we find out what our learners think? So, we're interested what you think about this question. Do you prefer to read the book or the film, or maybe both?

Do you love reading? For some people, there's nothing better than a good book. You create a whole world in your head and imagine the characters for yourself. 

Or are you more of a film fan? Films look amazing these days, even at home. Maybe you prefer films for quick, visual entertainment?

Watch the video to find out whether Jo and Kirk usually prefer books or films. Then tell us what you think in the comments below!

What about you?

  • Do you prefer reading books or watching films?
  • Have you seen a film based on a book that you've read? Which one did you like more?


Average: 5 (6 votes)

Submitted by mrcd93 on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 21:08


As for the quality of experiences, books for sure. although there are some few exceptions like "Gone by the Wind" that the film was way more better maybe it is because of the story's backdrop which is not very easy to imagine and so the movie's special visualization helps a lot getting up with the story.

Films are a lot more quicker and are less challenging, so in many situations even people who believe that written version is better end up watching the movie when both options are available. 

Submitted by mrcd93 on Tue, 04/06/2024 - 20:41


Hello everyone 
I'm currently reading "Dear Life" a book that comprises short stories from canadian Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro.
What's special about this book is, its non judgmental storytelling tone which is also very straightforward and human and make the story easy to follow.
 Each story revolves around a main character and their emotions and choices and the consequences of their decisions in epic but not extraordinary situations (as how life really is) while the story remains completely unpredictable until its ending. 
I'm really enjoy it and just about to finish reading it. I Definitely recommend it to anyone who is passionate about real life since, the book is far from fantasy.
Personally, for me, this sort of books that shows ordinary people reactions to important powerful yet not rare situations such as grief, love, relationships, misconceptions,failures and success In various settings, are helpful as they add to my experiences by letting me think outside the box and away from prejudice. It elevate my strength to accept people as the way they are. 

Submitted by isabo on Thu, 02/05/2024 - 21:51


Generally I prefer books because I made my own films in my head. However, there are some films that I liked like the books. One of these is Umberto Eco’s The name of the rose, a beautiful book and a really engaging film with an always fantastic Shean Connery. I liked the Harry Potter saga, books and films, both really amazing.

Submitted by jessia on Thu, 02/05/2024 - 14:18


If someone were to ask wether I prefer books or films, I would say both, because both has its pros and cons. Firstly books is a way for many of us to escape reality, and just by reading we learn so much new vocabulary. However films has  the same concept, we learn new vocabulary as well. But to be honest I prefer books more, because I felll like I'm alway behind a screen, in school and on my spare time, therfore I try to incorporate reading. Last summer I read "The seven husbands of Emily Hugo" And it's soon to be a film, and I  can't wait. 

Profile picture for user maceciliaherrera93

Submitted by maceciliaherrera93 on Wed, 01/05/2024 - 18:27


I love both books and films, but I prefer reading books because while I am reading, I can imagine the characters and the scenario, creating my own film in my head. However, I also enjoy watching films and experiencing the stories created by others. It can be quite disappointing when they distort the story too much to appeal to a mass audience and do not respect the original author's vision. So far, my favourite book-to-film adaptation is "Harry Potter", and the one that disappointed me the most was "Dune".

Profile picture for user Diadem

Submitted by Diadem on Mon, 29/04/2024 - 02:44


Well, I don't know what to choose because I'm a fan of both.

I enjoy reading, you imagine the scenario, and you create the image in your head. Hence, reading improves or increases your imaginative skills.

But movies entertain and educate me at the same time.

I remember watching a documentary about a famous musician, her name was Nina Simone. It was awesome and heartbreaking getting to see how she lived her life and how things turned out for her eventually.

Profile picture for user iEdd

Submitted by iEdd on Fri, 19/04/2024 - 18:47


I preffer reading a book to watching the film or series. The story is better since we have the original idea from the author as well as a deeper covering of the characters. Of course, the reading process carries with in the improving of grammar skills when you are learning a language. Not all the great stories are put into the screen so why not keep reaing a lot?

Submitted by Aoki on Wed, 24/05/2023 - 16:08


Well, for me I prefer reading book to watching film, because when reading a book there are a lot of details that film can't express. Plus, reading books helps me a lot in enwiden my imaginative skill.

I partially agree with you sir. However, people tend to be interested in watching movies, generally speaking. Maybe because it is funny and not boring. Reading a book requires much concentration.

Submitted by Luneuma on Wed, 26/04/2023 - 15:17


Hi there!
This is a really difficult question because I love both books and films. I agree with Kirk when he says we can watch films together family or friends and it is easier than reading when we are tired. Nowadays I am watching more than reading.
I have seen many films based on books and some of them I loved and some I did not. A movie based on a book that I really loved is Much Ado about Nothing by Kenneth Brannagah based on Shakespeare's play.

Profile picture for user Andres Felipe Murillo Ayala

Submitted by Andres Felipe … on Wed, 26/04/2023 - 00:05


In my opinion, I prefer reading books, because not only I can read stories or history, but also I can learn new things such as languages, also it is good for having a good memory.

Hi Andres, I think you and @marcelobj make a really interesting point about considering the effects of books or films on us and our minds. Although we typically don't think of books as a kind of technology, they are -- they're just an old technology. We've had thousands of years of books and hundreds of years of books produced by the printing press and so we take their effects on us and on our society for granted.

With television and film, the technologies are only about 100 years old. We're still living through the effects, and with the introduction of streaming platforms, new ground is being broken.

I've heard some people link the introduction of the printing press with serious changes in society and even a series of wars for several generations after its invention. Today the world certainly seems to be unstable and I wonder how much technology is playing a role in this.

I'd say it's probably more the internet and its availability in our pockets than films instead of books. What do you think?

LearnEnglish team

Profile picture for user marcelobj

Submitted by marcelobj on Tue, 25/04/2023 - 22:59


I prefer reading books to watching movies because I can think, imagine the characters, the author's messages on my own.

I also prefer reading books to watching films.
Reading boosts our concentration and focus.
Besides reading books allow us self-observation and self-regulation.

Submitted by JaniKe on Tue, 25/04/2023 - 15:59


I like a moment when I read a good book and I drink a good coffee. It is a big relax for me.
I like books of The second war of world with story ( The tattooist of Auschwitz).
I like the book: Me before you. The book is better than film.

Submitted by Najah1 on Tue, 18/04/2023 - 21:19


realy i prefer to read abooks, rather than films

Submitted by Rudresh Singh on Tue, 18/04/2023 - 18:09


Well, for me for a long time it was the films but as I read more and more books I would definitely now say Books over films. Because in books characters are build really really slowly and that determines in which directions the story will go. But in films the characters are right in front of your eyes from the very beginning, so they take away much of the suspense and substance from the story. So in that way I say books. And also books feel much more engaging to me now than they used to earlier. Especially the classics by Dostoevesky and Don Quixote.

Submitted by Alishba Bashir on Mon, 17/04/2023 - 13:28


If you have asked me this question 10 to 15 years ago, my answer definitely would be books. But, now a days life has become quite busy so I prefer watching films. On the other hand, I think by reading books your mind can get more insights regarding characters and feelings.

Hi Ahishba,

I think I'm similar to you, and used to read more a few years ago ... I don't seem to find the time to sit down and read a book unless I'm on holiday. It's so easy to flop in front of the telly and watch a film. Saying that, I love going to the cinema to watch films! I just love the whole occasion. The big screen, the adverts leading up to the main film, eating popcorn (I rarely eat popcorn!), the hush that comes over the room when the film starts and then I really enjoy chatting about the film, on the way home, with whoever you went with!
I need to take time out to read. Do you remember the last book you read? What sort of books do you like to read?

~ Tinaツ
LearnEnglish team

Submitted by User_1 on Sat, 15/04/2023 - 15:30


Books or Films?
For sure, in the book, it is easier to get some insight into what the character is thinking and feeling.

I would suggest "Into the Wild" by John Krakauer: it is a true story.
The main character, Christopher, is leaving his comfortable life and he is going off into the wilderness. He is not doing that because he needs to survive, but trying to find himself away from the burden of society.
I saw the film based on this book. If the book is full of maps and real pieces of writing from Chris, so you can feel his real emotions along the journey; on the other hand, the film is well - structured with a fantastic soundtrack played by Eddie Vedder.
Could I know what the LearnEnglish team thinks about this book?

Hello User_1,

I'm afraid I haven't read the book, but I did see the film. I thought the film was really good -- his story is so compelling and interesting, and of course tragic.

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by najwa_2001 on Sat, 15/04/2023 - 07:49


I think that reading books is more important for mental health that's why I'm trying sometimes to read books in the staff of watching film but the problem is reading books takes a lot of time then watching films so when I want to enjoy in watching films I usually prefer the one based on history or real stories to learn more and more about life.