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The Contender
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Books are Better than Movies

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/20/2016 Category: Movies
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,705 times Debate No: 97187
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
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This is a challenge to all those who think movies are better than books!

Round 1: acceptance
Round 2-3: rebuttal of opponent and arguments
Round 4: rebuttal; no new arguments


Welp, here goes nothing. I accept!
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly, let me define the terms. I define:
~book: a written text that can be published in printed or electronic form
~better: comparative of good; of a higher standard, or more suitable, pleasing, or effective than other things
~movies: a film shown in a cinema or on television and often telling a story

The arguments I shall tell you this round are:
~books allow you to use your own imagination
~movies are often based on books
And next round I will explain why:
~books include more detail
~books help improve your literacy skills

Firstly, books allow you to use your own imagination. "How is this?" you might ask. "A book still tells you exactly how a character or place looks." Well, that's true. A book will tell you a description, however, it can be interpreted in different ways. And the way you interpret a passage depends on who you are. Meanwhile, a movie just gives you the image. There is no room for maneuvering. You must accept the image the way it is.

For an example, I'm going to use the ever popular "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" novel, which was later adapted as a movie. "Mr Dursley was the director of a firm called Grunnings. which made drills. He was a big, beefy man with hardly any neck, although he did have a very large mustache." This passage, while it does tell you what Mr Dursley looks like, there is plenty of room for your own imagination. You can imagine him with all kinds of hair, eyes, and mustaches. There is plenty of room to let your own brain do it's work. However in the movie, Mr Dursley's image is set. He has blondish-brownish hair, and brown eyes. He also has a typical mustache. Whilst in the book, you were allowed to imagine those features anyway you want, in the movie, the image is "force-fed" to you, if you will.

"Why is that bad?" you may ask. "What is so bad about the images given to you? How does that make movies inferior?" Well, being allowed to imagine the various bits-and-bobs of a book's character's and settings makes it more personal. By making Mr Dudley's mustache a curly type of mustache makes him not only J.K. Rowling's character, but yours. It makes the story more intimate, and more real. The movie is cold and distant. It is someone else's interpretation of the character.

Secondly, movies are often based off of books. Rarely do find a book based off of a movie, unless it's a Disney book of Frozen for 4+ . Mostly, it's always the movie based off of the book. The book tends to be the original, the more valid version. Therefore, the book has more credibility and is more authentic. And that makes it much better.

So for all these reason, books are better than movies!

~Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


Alright, using the same template my opponent has used, I shall also define said terms.
- Movie: a story or event interpreted via moving images
- Superior: higher in quality
- Book: Written work, often telling a story

[ Anybody can watch them]
Not everybody can read. Not everybody can correctly interpret or define what they are being told. With movies, anybody can sit down and watch them. Families and people of all ages can watch, without having to use skills they may or may not have to enjoy the media. People can band together in groups and watch at once, sharing a wonderful and memorable experience. Books cannot be experienced all at once or with family.

[ An entirely different experience ]
In 1977, a film called 'Star Wars' opened in theaters everywhere. The moment the movie opened, viewers were introduced into a world that instilled awe and a sense of 'Could this be real?'. Books could never achieve the feeling Star Wars could. A whole new world people were never familiar with and could possibly never imagine could be real; yet they saw it for their own eyes, starships drifting across the screen, glowing swords, and special effects that wow-ed the audience into utter amazement. Perhaps books can tell of fantasies that are from real, but one can never see them firsthand in such detail and wonder as a movie did. With music and actors and visuals, movies all but enhance the world of story-telling on a level books can not match. After all, visualization is better than imagination.

[ Watching / Reading ]
Not everybody has the time or stamina to read through a 500+ page book, nor the skills to do so. With movies, all you need to do is sit down for 2 to 3 hours and enjoy a story you can watch, rewatch, and analyze at your leisure. With books, to read, re-read, and analyze may be more of a hardship. People can watch the Lord of the Ring Series on their couch with their friends over a weekend. Reading the Lord of the Rings Series of the course of one, tasking week just for the fun of it doesn't work with most people who are simply looking for entertainment.

All in all, movies can do things books can't and do everything books could, sometimes to a better degree.
Debate Round No. 2


Your points are rather interesting, however have a few disagreements. Firstly, you said "not everyone can read". However, that is mainly in less developed countries, where people probably can't afford a TV anyways, if they can't afford education to read, or in younger children, in which the movies you referenced wouldn't be age appropriate. The age appropriate films they can watch, almost all of them don't have book basis you can compare to. Also, a whole family can enjoy a book experience. One person can read aloud and the rest can close their eyes and watch scenes, battles, and dramas fold out in their heads...sorry, I got distracted. :)

Now onto my own arguments. Firstly, books include more detail. I noticed your second point say in " can never see them firsthand in such detail and wonder as a movie did". However, I have a counter-argument. It is, in fact, the movie that can't catch the wonder and detail of the book. The book, with it's flowing narration, can describe scenes in much more detail than the movie can. While we see it, panning across the screen it is just background. However, in the book, you see it in high definition in your minds eye. And you can catch subtle references in the description you can't just see on a movie screen. The narration provides much more detail than "moving images" on a screen, to use your definition.

Secondly, books help to improve your literacy skills. Not only do you get the benefits of using your imagination, you improve your literacy skills. Movies, can only help your...eye tracking skills? Meanwhile, a book helps improve your reading skills, helping you with every day life not just with entertainment. And while thrill seekers looking for entertainment can just watch a movie, you can get the same thrill from reading a good book, plus benefits.


First off, I do not see how the point 'the book has more credibility' relates to this argument in any way, and originality does not determine the quality of a book or movie.

Again, looking back to Star Wars, we can all remember the epic battles between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, Yoda and Darth Sidious. Can such epic battles and corresponding music be carried on to written text? Perhaps, but the music will be redacted, the fast-flowing battles will be slowed or written in a very sloppy way in order for it to work.

While I do agree that books improve your literacy skills, I do not agree with the fact that they can be more detailed than movies. When you watch things on the big screen, they are much more in-depth and wonderous. Books only leave it to the readers imagination, while the book itself does not precisely determine what is going on. Movies, however, set the scene for you, delving you into a world where you don't need your imagination to enter a new world, only your eyes and ears; all attention to the screen. You cannot say that books have more detail than movies when it varies from how different people see books.

Using your Harry Potter example, I will quote the first line from the first book;

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense." (Which is still a fine opening, if I must say.)

Meanwhile, the movie opens with an owl standing atop a sign reading, 'Privet Drive', as a foggy mist shrouds the street. A robed figure enter the scene, capturing 'light' from the street lamps, as a cat magically transforms into another robed figure, donning a witch hat.

When I look at it, I see that the movie opening is much more thought-provoking and exciting than the book opening. I also find the movie opening much more memorable and nostalgic than the book opening.

To refute your points, I just don't see reading aloud a 500 page book being more enjoyable than sitting down with a bucket of popcorn and watching Harry Potter unravel itself in all of it's mysterious glory onscreen. (But still, isn't all forms of Harry Potter still good? [if not superior] )
Debate Round No. 3


Now for the final round...the rebuttal round.

In the 2nd round, I made two arguments. I told you that books allow you to use your own imagination, and movies are often based on books. My worthy opponent did not rebut my first argument, which makes it clear to me that s/he has nothing to add or rebut. My second argument, however, was replied to as "I do not see how the point 'the book has more credibility' relates to this argument in any way'". However, the title of this debate is "Books are Better than Movies", not "Book Have Better Quality than Movies". Being original contributes to the book in many ways, as you know it isn't a knock-off version of the real thing.

In the 3rd round, I made two more arguments. I explained why books include more detail, and books help improve your literacy skills. My opponent made a point against this argument in Round 2, and then I made my counterargument. Then, s/he said "Again, looking back to Star Wars, we can all remember the epic battles between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader...Can such epic battles and corresponding music be carried on to written text?" S/he then went on to say how the translation would be sloppy, and fast-paced battles be slowed. However, that is not the case. Writing is often very eloquent, not overly-so, however it wouldn't be sloppy. Furthermore, fast action can be translated into text, still keeping it's fast pace. And And to my argument about books also help with literacy skills, my opponent actually agreed with me, furthering the credibility of my argument.

My opponent firstly declared that anybody can watch films, but not everyone can read that great novel, making it much better. However I rebutted his/her argument in my first paragraph of Round 3. Nanubot did not respond to my rebuttal, which I can only assume means s/he agrees. Then my opponent said "visualization is better than imagination" however I say that that is not true. I answered this statement with the counterargument in the first round "books allow you to use your own imagination". Nanubot then went on to explain that not everyone has the stamina to read through a 500+ page book. However, I could say the same about the movie, not everyone has the stamina to sit down and stare at a screen with "moving pictures" for an hour and a half+. Finally, you said that the movies provide much more intrigue. The beginning of the first Harry Potter book was nothing compared with the movie. Yet, you said earlier the opening was a "fine opening, if I must say." You are contradicting yourself, by first saying the opening is good, but then saying that the opening is not memorable. You also then said Harry Potter in all forms if good, if not superior.

As you can see, I have answered all of Nanubot's points, however Nanubot has no answered all of mine, in fact, s/he has even agreed with one! And to the point s/he has answered, if have replied to myself. And through this you can clearly see, books are much better than movies!


First off, there's MUCH to rebuttal. 'which makes it clear to me that s/he has nothing to add or rebut'. If you were able to study my last post, I did say that something based off another does not determine the quality of a movie. So what if one thing came first? So what if something is based off a book? It means nothing when we are attempting to determine if movies are better than books or books are better than movies. I still do not see how if something came first, it automatically makes it 'better'. I render her argument useless in this situation. Did you know that authors provide insight into the movies being made? So 'knock-off' wouldn't be the word to describe it. 'Better' and 'quality' go hand in hand. Allow me to rip a definition out of Webster's Dictionary:

Quality (Webster's Dictionary)
a: a certain degree of excellence
b: superiority in kind

Better (Webster's Dictionary)
a: more attractive, favorable, or commendable
b: more advantageous or effective

As you can see, quality determines if something is better.

My opponent also never rebutted the fact that movie scenes are much more intense and epic than book scenes, via music and cinematography. My opponent also claims that books are much more detailed than a movie. 'with it's flowing narration, can describe scenes in much more detail than the movie can'. This argument is debunked, as a movie doesn't 'describe' a scene via words, but by images. I don't see how words can describe something that is more detailed than an image. When you look at a picture of a forest, you have a forest. When somebody describes a forest, you have an improvised vision of a forest ; but not as much detail as the image. Unless you happen to be a supercomputer, then yes, perhaps you can view things in AS MUCH detail as an image. It is impossible to be 'more detailed' than an image.

While books may improve your literacy skills, movies can improve your speaking skills, performance skills, acting skills, socialization skills, and more. I feel that the benefits movies can provide outweigh the benefits books can. Movies have employed thousands of actors, while books.... well, I'll leave it at that.

People of our generation does not simply go with having one person read aloud and have everyone sit down and listen. They would much rather go to movies and enjoy as fantasies come to life with friends, alone, take a date with them, or go as family. Do you really imagine an 18-year-old boy taking a date to his house so they can sit down and read a book for 5 hours?

As one once said in the comments, movies remain a key part in human achievement, the sort of things that make humans human. In the words of Nina LaCour,

"We love films because they makes us feel something. They speak to our desires, which are never small. They allow us to escape and to dream and to gaze into the eyes that are impossibly beautiful and huge. They fill us with longing. But also. they tell us to remember; they remind us of life."
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by westerly2004 5 years ago
I'd like to say congratulations to my opponent, this was a debate well argued! Was a pleasure debating with you!
Posted by Dr.Maniac 5 years ago
Posted by Nanubot 5 years ago
Thank you for providing me the chance to argue on such a collected and worthy opponent. This was my first debate, so if I lose, all will be understandable. Good debate!
Posted by madness 5 years ago
You should have said how movies can be enjoyed together and have been, for many years a great place to take a date. Something that can bring families and friends together, like that is more valuable to society than plain text.
Movies are a testament to human achievement, a technological advancement and generate far more in profit than books for a reason. Because more people watch movies, therefore by popular opinion movies are better.

It's truly wonderful to recreate something like dinosaurs, ancient Rome or futuristic dystopia's in a visual observable way.
Assuming they could read, if you had to show people 200 years ago either a book or a movie, which would you show them? You would be a fool to chose to show them a book.
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