From TV to Books: How Movies and TV Shows Bring in a New Reading Audience!


October is an exciting month for any YA lit fan, because it includes Teen Read Week! In honor of this annual celebration of young adult literature, YALSA invited book-loving teens all over the world to apply to share their enthusiasm for reading in a guest post for The Hub. Thirty-one talented young writers were chosen, and we’ll be featuring posts from these unique voices all month long. Here’s Sara Boivin from California.

by flickr user o5com
by flickr user o5com

It seems today that the argument “the book is better” intrudes into every conversation about the latest hit film in theaters. But how many people truly know that anymore?

It’s no secret that when it comes to movies and books, movies seem like the much less time consuming and much more entertaining option for entertainment, especially in today’s world where time is scarce to spare.
But as an avid reader, and also a true cinema lover, I’m here to say with all seriousness that reading the book is nothing to shake your head at.
And I get it. Reading a book takes more time and the story isn’t always your cup of tea. A movie will give you that similar conclusion but usually within the much shorter time it takes you to watch it. But out of that conclusion comes a new opportunity. Just bear with me as I explain.

There are many reasons a movie might motivate you to read its book. The first thing to remember is that in the cinema world, it doesn’t matter how long a book is per say when you’re adapting it into a film, but keep in mind that movies can rarely stretch past two and a half hours.

ender's game orson scott card coverAn example of this is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi series called Ender’s Game. I’ve read every book in the series and if you’ve read it too you probably saw this coming. Only the first book in the series was made into a film (I say with all sureness that the rest probably won’t be made simply because the later books lack a lot of the action the first one has and they focus more on philosophical points that most people just won’t get. The first book was successful so I’m happy nevertheless).

However, like most movies adapted from books, many of the major characters’ feelings, and struggles, as well as other details and plot points were glossed over or simply excluded from the film for the sake of time. And I understand why. The director knew that covering the whole book would ruin the budget and make the movie way too long for a regular audience. The book covers a much longer time frame than the movie and has much more extensive detail.

This is where I draw my reasons for reading the book. Let’s be honest, a two and a half hour movie drains you completely. Very rarely after watching a super long movie do I feel like watching another movie. Trimming out the ‘fat’ (the director’s view of what is unneeded) in a book to make a movie is a standard process, but in the book world, that sort of behavior is unacceptable.
Books are different. A book you can put down and come back to. A book, you can still have a story full of love, passion, feeling, detail, and substance. Books are great because you can skip right to the chapter your feeling into and experience the full taste and idea of the story. A quality author would probably rather die than trim out the “fat” in their story that a movie would not hesitate to cut for the sake of time or attention.

That doesn’t mean that movies and TV shows can’t urge you in a good direction though. Like I mentioned earlier, I love cinema. For certain movies I do get upset over directors slicing up my favorite books, but for many others I get excited to see the characters from an imaginary world appear in a real life setting.
A major example of this for me has to be through superheroes. If you haven’t already guessed, on top of my major love of books and movies, I have a certain love for comic books (which I guess do count as reading but it depends for some people). This hobby didn’t come naturally though. My inspiration for looking into reading them came from a well-known all-time favorite movie called Batman Begins.

I’m not going to pretend that I wasn’t still a little girl at the time the movie came out, but I was still the same movie junkie I am today. And nothing quite pushed me more towards reading comic books than my newfound curiosity on a superhero I knew of, but knew nothing about. The rest is history.

I noticed that as I grew older, I experienced similar situations with other popular movies and TV shows like The Hunger Games, Jurassic Park, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter (mentioning this was unavoidable), and many more.
For teens nowadays, every time a hit book comes out, the film follows close behind so there’s no time to waste! If you need reassurance, just remember that if a movie or TV show is based off a book, chances are the book is pretty good. Especially if it gets a film adaptation of it.fault in our stars

In particular this formula also applies largely to girls who more often or not are the main majority of fans when it comes to teen novels. While I’m not one to judge the individual male, it’s no secret that a large audience in the hit novel ‘Fault in Out Stars’ is female. This may be because of the heavy emphasis on teen romance amongst today’s options in teen literature as well.

It’s undeniable that film is more money mastered force over books these days. Much more people watch films than read books during their down time. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Movies have proven to drive an audience to the book.

If you find yourself in love and just engrossed in a movie/TV show, look to see if it’s based on a book. You owe it to yourself to find a way to enjoy reading and if a movie leads you to an open door, take it!

– Sara Boivin is a senior in High School who loves to read and watch movies in her spare time. She is really passionate about pop culture and how it affects her generation. She hopes to one day become an accomplished film director and writer. 

4 thoughts on “From TV to Books: How Movies and TV Shows Bring in a New Reading Audience!”

  1. Wow! This was a great article, I loved how you expanded on the statement “the book is better than the movie” and made it into a cohesive argument and analysis of pop culture. What a fascinating read! :)

  2. I love the twist that you put on the competition between movies and books. I saw the Maze Runner recently without reading the book and it makes me want to read the book even more now! I do agree that movies can direct people to books. Great job!

  3. Hi Sarah! I really enjoyed reading your post- you had a very clear, precise argument that was easy to understand despite the fact that I might still be half asleep right now :) I’ve read the first book in the Ender series, and now I think I need to see the movie- and probably read the other books as well. Congrats on an amazing, insightful blog post! Keep it up!

  4. Hola Sara! What a great post! I love your “unavoidable” reference to Harry Potter…Potterheads unite! I thoroughly enjoyed your point of view, and how you argue that teens should pick up the books that the movies/TV shows are based on. Because of this post, I now want to read up on the (very long) Game of Thrones series!

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