The book is better

Sometimes lately I have been feeling like the practitioner of a dying art. (Of course, on a long enough scale, I surely am.) What with all the talk of publishing collapsing, attention spans fraying while the total amount of material vying for attention curves ever up, and the general dominance of other entertainment mediums – games and films – among the young (whose attention spans are apparently ever decreasing) it is all a bit depressing for the unknown authors out there.

The other day though, something occurred to me. People always say the book was better.

They don’t say, the film was an excellent rendition of the same story in another medium.

They say “the book was better”.

The experience of reading a book, as an immersive delivery medium, is actually awesome, and in some important sense, better, than other mediums.

The book is better.

Books can survive as they offer a tangibly awesome experience.

4 Responses to “The book is better”

  1.   Pearce
    November 8th, 2010 | 10:33 am

    Yeah, I agree completely. Much as I love movies, the book is supreme. The only reasons I watch more movies than I read books is because watching a movie takes less time. There’s no way I could possibly read three books in one night!

    And that’s something else that makes books superior: you can get so much more into a book.

    It’s not even like movies are necessarily better at action than books, either. For example, I think that the car chases in The Protector by David Morrell are more exciting than anything I’ve seen in a movie – all the more so because he explained how they worked in a way I found completely believable while never sacrificing the breakneck pace.

  2.   bruce
    November 9th, 2010 | 7:43 pm

    yes, books provide a means of content delivery that has not yet been duplicated by any other medium. Books rule 🙂

  3.   Vince
    December 6th, 2010 | 11:20 pm

    Excellent point. I hadn’t thought about it.

    Mind you, they reckon Betamax was better than VHS too, and look where *that* got them. 😉

  4.   Katie
    December 17th, 2010 | 5:59 pm

    I’ve recently returned to reading after a five-year long hiatus, and find that what I love most is how you live *inside* a book for the period you read it. To wit: this last week I was reading The Trial and kept finding, during the long stretches of mental tedium that constitute my office-monkey job, I was hanging out with Josef K in my head, strategising with him. That kind of thing doesn’t happen so much with films (although it does with certain TV – well, Mad Men) and when it does it tends to be more fleeting and ephemeral.

    One of the things I really dig about Melbourne is how frequently you walk past people reading here. On my lunch break, I spotted people devouring Atwood, Fitzgerald, Sontag, and Verne (NB: their literary output, not the actual authors. Though it would be a hell of a thing to see hordes of people feasting on authors). It makes me happy.