June 4, 2013  – “It wasn’t as good as the book.”

It’s an inevitable phrase when a beloved book is made into a movie. Some book fans will love the movie, some will hate it—but many all of them will go see it. In May, a new adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby released, leading to passionate arguments on how the movie did or didn’t live up to the book’s promises.

In recent years, book fanatics have analyzed movie adaptations of favorites like Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Life of Pi, Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia and The Invention of Hugo Cabret. And the big screen doesn’t have room to hold all of the content from bestselling books: each Sunday, fans of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire book series tune in to see how their beloved story is retold on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Book adaptations are nothing new, of course. But it’s curious that they remain so popular in a time when “no one reads anymore.” It’s not uncommon to hear anecdotal evidence of “the death of books” or assumptions about the attention span of people in an Internet age. If Hollywood can still bank on the popularity of a book to drive movie sales, books must still hold their place in the American heart.

Books or Movies? Books do remain popular—and widely read books often get turned into movies, which likely makes the books even more commercially popular. It’s a marriage of two mediums, but also demonstrates that America still likes to read. And even more so, Americans likes to watch what they read—and read what they watch.

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