Book or Movie: Which Comes First?

So, I don’t mean this in the sense of which is created first, because that varies from case to case and can be solved with a simple Google search, which wouldn’t make for a very good post, now would it.

My real question is, do you consume the book or the movie adaptation first? And what factors contribute to your decision?

This has always been a matter of importance to me, though I’ve found other people (my girlfriend, for instance) aren’t necessarily concerned with the decision. To most people, especially those that don’t read, it’s not important. If one doesn’t read, the issue will never arise. If one does read, though they aren’t the set-a-massive-reading-goal or blog-incessantly-about-books type of reader, I’ve found it’s still 9 times out of 10 a non-issue.

For some people, however—like myself—it’s a ridiculously important question, one I’ve absolutely never changed my stance on. When I was younger, I often watched movies without knowing they were adaptations. As I got older, I started paying attention to which movies were based on books. Unfortunately, some of the damage had already been done…

For me, seeing a movie first ruins the book, even if the plots diverge. Why? I’m not 100% sure. For one, I have the actors’ faces stuck in my mind—I don’t get to imagine them in my own way when I go to read the book. This goes for the setting, too. Not that important in realistic fiction but more so with fantasy and sci-fi. Other than that, though, I guess it’s just in knowing that the book is the original and the movie is someone’s interpretation of that source text. I prefer to experience the original before someone’s adaptation. It’s truly just personal preference. Like, I don’t think anyone who watches the movie before reading the book is doing it wrong. I just can’t stand to do that to myself.

There are countless movies that I watched before reading the book, and now I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to read the books. The Harry Potter series, for instance. This one is the biggest bummer for me. I didn’t read the books as a child—instead, I grew up watching the movies. I’ve seen each film at least a dozen times, and yet I’ve only read books 1 and 2 because the books bore me. I hate to say that! I hate to admit that! But it’s true. After watching the films so many times, I have them ingrained in my brain. And though there are differences between the two, I just can’t seem to push through the series.

R.I.P., HP.

These days, I will literally scramble to read the book before the theatrical release of its adaptation. As many of you YA lovers know, Five Feet Apart came out in theaters this weekend. Guess who just read the book in a day? Yup. Me. (Review to come tomorrow! Stay tuned, friends.) But now I feel like I can go see the movie and be happy.

I don’t know why the movie ruins the book, but the book doesn’t ruin the movie. I guess because, for me, reading the initial story is just as exciting as seeing someone’s interpretation of it being played out on screen. It’s one of my favorite experiences.

I’m interested to know, though, if any of you do things differently? Anyone out there prefer to watch the movies first? And if so, please explain!! I’m interested to hear your thoughts on that matter. So, comment below! And have a great rest of your Saturday.

6 thoughts on “Book or Movie: Which Comes First?

  1. I definitely do whatever I can to read the book before the movie. It doesn’t always “ruin” the book for me, but I struggle to enjoy the books as much. Sometimes they help – The Scarlet Letter and Pride and Prejudice (I was only 14 when I read them and I didn’t really understand the books until I saw the movies). Sometimes I’m indifferent – Harry Potter (I actually didn’t know they were related at first). Sometimes they ruin the book – Ready Player One (I shouldn’t have watched the movie… ever!). So it really just depends for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always read the books first and then I watch the movie. I loved, loved, loved all Harry Potter books. Probably even better than the movies.

    Another really good book I read was “gone with the wind” and “the da Vinci code”.

    A book that disappointed me was Game of thrones. I read all 10 books of it, in Geman. After 6,000 pages I said I did not like it but to be fair, I watched the series too and “loved” the series. Ha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know I’ll need to give the HP books another try, it’s just so difficult for me!

      And I have a feeling I wouldn’t enjoy the GoT books either, because I’m watching the show. I think it’s a story better told on screen.


  3. Most folks prefer to read the book first, but I prefer to see the movie/TV adaptation first and then read the book. I judge the movie/TV adaptation a lot less harshly when I do it that way because the book is often always better.
    I love the HP books, but I read them before seeing the movies. Because of that, I don’t like the movies at all. I don’t think they capture the full magic of the story. Probably would have been better as a limited TV series adaptation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aha! I knew I’d find someone who watches the movie first! I never thought about it like that before, that’s really interesting! I also can understand your opinions about the HP films. Thanks for sharing!


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