I went on vacation and discovered this…
If you can’t read the picture above, it is a list of the nations best sellers according to USA Today. The top three books on the list are If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Now this paper is from August 20, 2014, so it’s a few weeks old. But that’s not the point. The point is that I was kind of surprised at the top three best sellers. The top three were all YA books. I don’t see that often (then again, I don’t check the best sellers list often either, so…). What do all three of these books have in common? Well, they all have book to movie adaptations that have been released. (Note: If I Stay,the movie had not yet been released in the US.) So the real question is not what all those books have in common, it’s how can being adapted into a movie increase the popularity of the book.
Now this may be sad, but to me, it’s kind of true. In today’s world, movies are a lot more popular than books. The sadder part is that books don’t usually get a whole lot of recognition until they have been considered to be adapted into a movie (or a TV show) and thus more exposed to other people. Think about it. Hunger Games, Divergent, heck, even The Fault in Our Stars weren’t really “famous” until it was announced they were being adapted. I’m not saying they weren’t popular before (they were, that’s why they were optioned to be turned into movies), but they didn’t really explode until their adaptations had been confirmed. And then I had to suffer the following months with people constantly talking about how good Fault is or how brave Katniss is or telling me I should read Divergent when I have been telling them the same exact thing for the past three years. What about the anticipation of a movie adaption makes people want to read the book? Especially when these days some kids will watch the movie version of a require reading book instead of reading it.
Personally, I think it has to do with the fact that usually only books that are already somewhat popular get adapted. By having people who have already read the book and are fans of it, there usually is a lot of talk about the casting of characters we have only previously envisioned in our heads, how scenes only we have pictured in our imaginations will play out on the big screen, and most importantly, how true the adaptation will stay to the book. People can be curious and they also like to stay in the loop. And by reading the book (and the rest of its series, if applicable), they will have an idea of what everyone else is talking about. Also, there is the added benefit that if the movie ends with a cliffhanger and they have read the next book, they will have an idea of what will happen next.
What do you think?
Why do you think adaptations make more people want to read the book(s)?