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What’s Up Online

The History of Talking During Movies

October 3rd, 2010  |  by  |  published in What's Up Online


Don't you hate it when people sit in the theater and talk through the movie? I'm especially annoyed when people explain obvious plot points to each other, like "Oh, she's really his sister…" Can you imagine what it must have been like during the silent era, when text flashed on the screen to be read? I love this glass lantern slide (up for auction at, which theater owners would have shown on the screen before the film reminding people not to read the title cards aloud.

Here are a few other classics from the silent movie era



We Were Robbed

October 8th, 2008  |  by  |  published in What's Up Online

While neglecting my own blog recently, I have signed on as a guess blogger at Foreword Magazine. I wrote about a recent theft at my bookstore, and the lesson I'm taking from it. Philobiblos isn't impressed.

Fun and Games

November 28th, 2007  |  by  |  published in What's Up Online


Bored at work? Between the Covers Rare Books has created two literary diversions (please use only during your federally mandated 15-minute breaks and your unpaid lunch hour). They have sound tracks, so if your boss is likely to walk by and think that exercising your literary chops is not essential to your highly paid position, turn off your speakers first. Basically, I suck at both games. I managed to go 0 for 8 trying to match the first lines of famous books with their covers, and the computer, which is dumb as a post, clobbered me on Letter-ature, a Wheel of Fortune–style game (And that after I guessed "The Shining" from only the clue: "horror fiction." The game does not reward greediness. If the spinner lands on lose your turn, you're toast). What, I wonder, is dumber than a post. If I were a bit smarter, I'd probably know the answer to that question.

A while back, BibliophileBullPen posted a link to an online vocabulary game called Free Rice. At last, a use for all the hours I spent learning words like proem ("an introduction to a literary work or a speech")!

Free Rice says it donates 10 grains of rice to feed the hungry for every word you get right. (The Internet says there are 29,000 grains in a pound, for what it's worth.) A blogger has calculated that the rice donation costs about $1,000 per day and that the ad revenue generated should be many times that (if you read that blog post, be sure to check out the comments because the initial math is straight out of the Internet bubble). Still, if you're into words, it's pretty fun, even if it might be a bit of a scam.

AbeBooks Management Changes

October 31st, 2007  |  by  |  published in What's Up Online

From the Shelf Awareness newsletter:

Boris Wertz, COO of, has left the company but will continue as a member of the board and an advisor on key projects. He is creating a venture capital business with Burda Digital Ventures, the German media company that is the majority shareholder in, that will be located in Vancouver, B.C. Wertz joined in 2002, when the company bought JustBooks, an online marketplace he had co-founded in Germany.

In related changes at

    * Laura-Lea Berna, most recently director of customer support and operations, has been promoted to v-p of operations.
    * Shaun Jamieson has been promoted to director of sales and account management and president of, one of's subsidiaries. He joined the company in 2004 and was manager of sales and account management and director of business development for Fillz.
    * Thomas Nicol, director of marketing since April, takes on additional responsibilities, including a spot on the board of, another subsidiary company.