Compare Books & Videos

Books and videos each have strengths, each have weaknesses. The problem, we believe, is when people try to make one do the work of the other. The following table illustrates the pros and cons of each format.

Book & Video Comparison Chart
  Book Video
Purpose Books allow for an in-depth portrait of the storyteller, one which combines a detailed exploration of life events coupled with an expression of his or her beliefs and values. Properly written, the book captures the voice and personality of the storyteller as well as any video Videos provide unparalleled entertainment for parties (anniversary, birthday, retirement) and family reunions. When projected on a large screen, it unites the group, encourages conversation and, most important, honors the person for whom the party is being given.
Requirements Photographs greatly enhance a book, but they are not absolutely necessary. Words, when carefully crafted, can create their own pictures. Old photographs are vital to the creation of an engaging video. It is extremely difficult for an untrained person to deliver a fifteen or twenty minute monologue that will hold viewers' attention without the help of background photos.
Experience for storyteller The structure and length of a book permits the narrator to delve deeply into a subject, the privacy to explore his feelings at his own speed, and the ability to edit emotion (as well as words) before exposing himself to his audience. Many people are uncomfortable being interviewed on camera. Legacy Prose minimizes this by crafting a script so that the storytellers know in advance exactly what they will say and how they will say it.
Experience for family and friends Reading is essentially a solitary experience. Books offer readers the leisure to pause and reflect on what's being said and to experience the narrator's world through the lens of their own understanding. Video viewing is generally a shared experience, the modern-day equivalent of storytelling around a campfire. Viewers actually see the facial expression and hear the voice of the narrator. This gives an immediacy to the story telling, although it may distract from the actual story.
Longevity When printed on archival paper, books last forever. Videotapes, CDs and DVDs simply haven't been around long enough to know whether or not they'll deteriorate over the course of generations. But the hardware and software needed to access them is certain to change. The owner has to keep abreast of new technology and update at regular intervals.
Length A memoir covering a long period in a person's life will usually run two to three hundred pages and take six to ten hours to read. Videos that run fifteen or twenty minutes will give the flavor of a person's life without tiring the audience
Accessibility A nicely bound memoir can be displayed on a coffee table where family and friends can peruse at will. A video requires a compatible machine and a deliberate action to access.


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