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Web Sites and Computer Games Can Bring Booklovers, Families Together

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RALEIGH — If you are concerned about violence in computer games, there are alternatives that the whole family can play. Or if you want to escape the gaming world and find something to read, one Web site is designed specifically for booklovers. BestSellers.com

Al Benthall spends five hours a week updating TopBestSellers.com. The site has 10 popular bestseller lists from major newspapers, magazines and book dealers compared by computer.

Users can compare books based on the type of reading they enjoy, including biography, romance, entertainment and many other categories.

"Bestsellers are so popular in general," Benthall said. "They're such a cultural phenomenon, it's kind of a democratic who's who in literature."

Benthall says hardcover fiction is the most popular part of the site. Booklovers fill the bulletin boards with comments about their favorites. He says making money with the site is secondary.

"It's valuable for authors and publishers, but I've gotten e-mail from people in Russia who are interested in bestsellers and running book stores over there," Benthall said. Family Games

Perpetual Motion Enterprises specializes in computer games for the family. The newest, "Mad Gap," follows a game show format and will be out this fall.

"We've taken board games, family board games that are on the shelf and then we take ideas like darts and air hockey games, puzzle games and we've actually made family games that the whole family can sit around and play together," says game designer John Slaydon.

Eye-catching graphics and festive sounds make playing fun.

"We make the games look appealing," Slaydon said. "They're fun to play. We basically took games and we, I guess, raised the bar on them."

Slaydon says the games can be bought for about $20 in many stores and can be ordered on the Internet.


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