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FedEx Office has announced it has upgraded its cloud printing offerings to include printing from Google Docs, the software giant's online productivity suite. FedEx Office is the first to offer this type of inter-connectivity to Google's cloud application suite.

FedEx Office Print Online customers can transfer documents from their Google Docs account for printing and either have it delivered to their door or to a local FedEx Office location for pick-up. The FedEx Office Print Online application was launched in 2007 and today gets more than 250,000 unique visits on average per month.

"As the first national print retailer to offer cloud printing technology, we are excited to meet the growing demand for mobility with FedEx Office Print Online. Our enhanced solution makes Web-based printing easy, wherever you store your files," said Anthony Norris, vice president of digital access marketing at FedEx Office.

Google Docs is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to Microsoft's Office application for small business and personal use. While it lacks many advanced features of Microsoft's offering, it is offered for free and, as a cloud application, can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection.

In 2007, Adobe and FedEx Kinko's (as it was then known) caused an uproar in the printing community when Adobe released its Acrobat and Acrobat Reader software with a FedEx Kinko's button which sent the documents directly to a FedEx Kinko's location. Adobe eventually backed down and removed the button with an update.

Schoolchildren in South Korea will see paper books replaced by computer tablets as a government initiative targets its replacements by the year 2015.

According to The Chosun Ilbo, a Korean-based newspaper, the Korean Ministry of Education has plans to invest over US$2 billion in developing interactive content which can be accessed anywhere. Traditional static content will be supplemented by interactive features, all hosted on the cloud.

The Ministry also plans to provide free tablet computers for students from low-income families. "It will be up to schools to decide which digital textbooks to choose for students in what year in what subject," a ministry official said. "We don't expect the shift to digital textbooks to be difficult as students today are very accustomed to the digital environment."

Printology of Richmond Hill, Ontario has added a Fujifilm XMF workflow to its operation. The system promises increased productivity due to fewer touch points and easier interaction with prepress workers.

The Fujifilm XMF system integrates both JDF and Adobe's Print Engine technology. The system supports both offset and digital production and also features 3D softproofing. Flexible imposition via JDF stripping also allows XMF to re-impose jobs on-the-fly for late changes of press or even to split jobs between multiple presses.

Printology has been in business since 1987 and provides end-to-end print production services, from creative concept to final product. It also produces everything from wedding invitations to business directories to packaging products.

For people who prefer the convenience of eReaders but miss the aesthetic qualities of print, a new product will help bridge the gap. Called the Times of New York, a candle aims to emulate the smell of black ink on newsprint. The candle's product page describes it as "newsy, with hints of guaiacwood, cedar, musk, and spice."

The idea of the candle came from designer-artist Tobias Wong, who passed away in 2010. Aware of the growing scent movement in the art world, Wong envisioned a way of replicating the smells of The New York Times, a publication he loved and had a long relationship with. The candle was not actualized within Wong's lifetime.

Those who wish to get a piece of this novelty would have to pay a steep price: the candle has a limited production of 1,000 pieces and sells for US$65.

The candle can be purchased here.

The City of San Francisco has decided to make the Yellow Pages and other print directories purely opt-in, meaning unless a resident asks for one, they will not get one delivered onto their doorsteps.

In the age of online searches and smart phones, fewer people are turning towards the venerable paper phone directory for information. San Francisco currently has 1.6 million business directories delivered each year, which, when stacked, would be 8 1/2 times the height of Mt. Everest.

While many cities have an opt-out option for phone directories, San Francisco is believed to be the first municipality to go for an opt-in option. The city's Board of Supervisors has already voted 10-1 to pass the legislation to ban the delivery of unwanted directories. It will face a second vote this week, which is expected to pass.

According to the Board of Supervisors, the directories not only cause seven million pounds of paper waste per year, but also damage the city's recycling equipment, due to its bulk.

Amazon today announced it will be releasing a new version of its Kindle e-book reader which will be cheaper to buy, but will contain advertising on the screen when the device is not in use.

"We're working hard to make sure that anyone who wants a Kindle can afford one," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO. "Kindle with Special Offers is the same #1 bestselling Kindle - and it's only US$114. Kindle is the best deal in consumer electronics anywhere in the world."

Priced at US$25 less than the basic Wi-Fi model, the device includes special offers from both Amazon and 3rd party advertisers. Buick, Olay (Procter & Gamble), Visa, and Reward Visa Card (Chase) are sponsoring the first series of ads.

The advantage of the Kindle and advertising is that the display draws no power when it is not refreshed and is always on. Ads will not appear when a  customer is using the device to read.

The New York Times has decided to go with a pay model for its online content through a digital subscription model. The paywall was launched last Thursday here in Canada and will come into effect on March 28 in the U.S.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr., Chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times, said, "Today marks a significant transition for The Times, an important day in our 159-year history of evolution and reinvention.

"Our decision to begin charging for digital access will result in another source of revenue, strengthening our ability to continue to invest in the journalism and digital innovation on which our readers have come to depend. This move will enhance The Times' position as a source of trustworthy news, information and high-quality opinion for many years to come."

Non-paying users will be able to access 20 articles per month at no charge before being asked to subscribe. The Top News section will remain free for smartphone and tablet users. Home delivery subscribers will receive free and unlimited access to the NYTimes site.

Digital subscriptions start at US$15 for every four weeks for access via the Website and through the smartphone app. Access through the company's tablet app (which includes website access) sells for US$20 every four weeks. Users who want both smartphone, tablet and Website access pay US$35 every four weeks.

According to a several reports, Montreal newspaper La Presse is looking to transition to a digital format in the near future, despite a standing 15-year contract with Transcontinental to print the newspaper.

Le Devoir, a competitor to La Presse, reported on Friday that plans are underway to drastically reduce the printing of the newspaper, turning instead to digital-only publishing. Such plans could include offering free iPads or other digital devices to those who sign up for a three-year subscription to the newspaper.

The Montreal Gazette also covered the story, stating that the print edition may be reduced to 75,000 from its current 200,000 copies daily. The report also says $5 million has already invested into the plan and another $25 million is earmarked for the transition.

La Presse representative Caroline Jamet told CTV News that "Whatever transpires, we have a printing contract in the tens of millions of dollars with Transcontinental that ends in 2018.” The two parties signed the agreement in 2001 and in 2003 Transcontinental opened a new plant which gave La Presse an upgrade in print quality.

CTV Story
Montreal Gazette Story

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation launched what it calls the world's first iPad-only newspaper. Dubbed The Daily, the publication features a full staff to produce exclusive content.

“New times demand new journalism,” said Murdoch. “So we built The Daily completely from scratch — on the most innovative device to come about in my time — the iPad."

A weekly subscription to The Daily will cost US$0.99 while an annual subscription will be US$39.99. The Daily is the first project to take advantage of the new publication subscription platform from Apple. Prior to this, publishers were not able to sell subscriptions on Apple's tablet device.

While breaking stories will be pushed to users, The Daily claims its focus will be more on in-depth editorial, more akin to a magazine's content than a newspaper's. It will be led by Jesse Angelo, who was the Executive Director of the New York Post, another News Corp property.

The Daily launches at a moment when advances in technology are changing the job of the modern editor,” said Angelo. “These advances are giving us new ways to tell stories. We intend to take advantage of all of them, and make The Daily the new voice for a new era.”

In July last year, CEO Jeff Bezos announced that sales of Kindle ebooks has exceeded that of hardcover books sold on Amazon. Now Amazon has announced that the number has now grown to exceed that of the paperbacks it sells.

In the company's fourth-quarter sales report, the company revealed that for every 100 paperbacks it has sold, it has sold 115 Kindle books, with free Kindle books excluded from the number. The company also says that sales of its third generation device has exceeded the sales of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which Amazon claims to have held the title as the company's bestselling product in its history.

The U.S. Kindle store how has 810,000 titles, of which 670,000 of them are $9.99 or less.

As a whole, the company's sales have increased 36 percent over the same quarter in 2009, to US$12.95 billion.

"Thanks to our customers, we achieved two big milestones," said Bezos. "We had our first $10 billion quarter, and after selling millions of third-generation Kindles with the new Pearl e-ink display during the quarter, Kindle books have now overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on"

Google has entered the eBook sales game with its own offering called Google eBooks (not to be confused with Google Books, which digitizes and catalogues books out of libraries).

Google eBooks so far is available for the U.S. market only and is aimed to directly compete with Amazon's Kindle store. Unlike the Kindle store, however, Google eBooks are designed to support a wide range of devices and allows users to read books "in the cloud" which means one can access purchased books through their Google account.

According to Google, more than 3-million eBooks are available through its store. While Canadians can browse the store and even download free and public-domain books, paid books are unavailable for the time being.

The company's Website explains, "Google eBooks are currently only available for sale to users located in the United States. We are working hard to expand the countries in which Google eBooks are available and offer this new product to readers around the world, and appreciate your continued interest."

Apple Computer will be adding the ability to print from iPads with its iOS 4.2 update, coming in November. The software is currently being beta tested.

Dubbed AirPrint (possibly because the iPrint moniker is held by Novell), the system will allow users to print wirelessly via a Wi-Fi network without installing any drivers. The printer has to be connected to a running PC or Mac, or contains wireless hardware compatible with AirPrint. At the moment, only HP has signed on to produce AirPrint-compatible printers.

The omission of printing is striking as Apple offers its iWork productivity suite, which includes a word processor and spreadsheet editor for the tablet device, as well as bluetooth keyboard compatibility.

Amazon, the world largest retailer of books, has announced that its electronic book sales has surpassed the sales of hardcover books in its store.

The Kindle, Amazon's electronic book reader, has been on sale for just under three years and has grown to encompass 650,000 books for sale, including 105 of the 110 books on the New York Times bestseller list. Kindle books are also available for sale on computers and via the Kindle iPad application. In the last three months, the company says that for every 100 hardcover books sold, it has sold 143 Kindle books. In the past month, that number has grown to 180 Kindle books sold for every 100 hardcovers.

Price, of course, is the major attractor to Kindle editions: over 510,000 Kindle books are sold at US$9.99 or less, including 75 New York Times bestsellers. 

"We've reached a tipping point with the new price of Kindle - the growth rate of Kindle device unit sales has tripled since we lowered the price from $259 to $189," said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of

Amazon has just released an update to its larger Kindle DX reader, which features an upgraded e-ink screen that is even more like print. 

The presence of cadmium in the printing of Shrek collectors glasses has forced McDonalds to issue a recall. More than 12 million drinking glasses were produced, of which 7 million have already been sold.

The drinking glasses, produced by New Jersey-based ARC International, were found to have an unacceptable amount of the cadmium in the paint. The glasses have been on sale since May 21 on both sides of the border. The carcinogen was discovered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

"It is important to note that the glasses were evaluated by an independent third-party laboratory and determined to be fully in compliance with all applicable Canadian requirements at the time of manufacture and distribution," stated a McDonalds Canada press release. In Canada, there are 1.4 million Shrek glasses in circulation.

"McDonald’s Canada has a longstanding, cooperative relationship with Health Canada, and continues to work with them as testing protocols evolve and new scientific information becomes available."

McDonalds has requested customers to stop using the glasses and to contact its service centre at 1-877-495-5502 with any questions. Owners can take the glasses back to any McDonalds for a cash refund.

E-ink manufacturer Plastic Logic has announced it plans to release a colour version of e-ink technology by 2012. While e-ink is still in the process of gaining mainstream adoption, monochrome versions of the technology are currently being used by dozens of eReader devices, such as the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader.

According to Electronics Weekly, Achim Neu, Director SCM at Plastic Logic, speaking to the International Electronics Forum 2010 in Dresden, announced: "We have built a colour display and it is working at our Cambridge laboratory."

Unlike the traditional LCD technology used by the iPad, colour e-ink only requires power to refresh the screen. E-ink screens also generally fare well under direct light, unlike LCDs, making it ideal for replicating a print experience. Plastic Logic is launching a business-focused monochrome device this June called the QUE. The company is producing readers from its new $100-million factory in Dresden.
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