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Tablets, e=readers closing book on ink-and-paper era
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Dec 9, 2011

Tablet computers and electronic readers promise to eventually close the book on the ink-and-paper era as they transform the way people browse magazines, check news or lose themselves in novels.

"It is only a matter of time before we stop killing trees and all publications become digital," Creative Strategies president and principal analyst Tim Bajarin told AFP.

Online retail giant Amazon made electronic readers mainstream with Kindle devices and Apple ignited insatiable demand for tablets ideal for devouring online content ranging from films to magazines and books.

The combined momentum of e-readers and tablets will push annual revenue from digital books to $9.7 billion by the year 2016, more than tripling the $3.2 billion tally expected this year, according to a Juniper Research report.

Readers are showing increased loyalty to digital books, according to the US Book Industry Study Group (BISG).

Nearly half of print book buyers who also got digital works said they would skip getting an ink-and-paper release by a favorite author if an electronic version could be had within three months, a BISG survey showed.

"The e-book market is developing very fast, with consumer attitudes and behaviors changing over the course of months, rather than years," said BISG deputy executive director Angela Bole.

Concerns about e-book reading are diminishing, with people mainly wishing for lower device prices, according to the survey.

Owning e-readers tended to ramp up the amount of money people spent on titles in what BISG described as a promising sign for publishers.

Major US book seller Barnes & Noble responded to the trend by launching an e-reader, the Nook, and other chains are picking up on the strategy, according to Juniper.

"I'm among those who believe that the new e-book craze expands a person's interest in reading overall," said Gartner analyst Allen Weiner.

"When you can get someone excited about reading in any way, you turn on the reading ignition and it leads to all content," Weiner said, adding that ink-and-paper works will continue to hold a place in the mix.

Bajarin believes it will be at least a decade before print is obsolete.

"For one thing, there is a generation of people above 45 who grew up with this reading format and for many this will remain the most comfortable way for them to consume content for quite a while," he said.

"However, younger generations are already moving rapidly to digital representations of publications and, over time, they will be using e-books and tablets to consume all of their publications."

Weiner expected hardback or paperback books to be preferred in some situations, such as home reading, even as digital dominates publishing.

"I think it is a myth that it is going to kill the print book business," Weiner said.

"Will it force publishers to think differently?" he asked rhetorically. "Absolutely, but it doesn't spell the demise of print (book) publishing."

Newspapers and magazines, however, should read the digital writing on the wall, according to analysts.

"Newspapers and magazines have different issues," Weiner said.

"Print will wind up extinct for newspapers, while magazines will need to figure out the balance between print and digital," he contended.

Newspapers spend lots of money printing and distributing daily editions that can't be kept as fresh as stories on the Internet.

Meanwhile, advertising has been moving online where audiences can be better targeted and advertisers pay when people actually click on ads.

This year media colossus News Corp. launched an iPad only publication, The Daily, as newspapers big and small improved mobile websites and invested in applications to get their publications on tablets.

Struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! has been recreating itself as a platform for "premier digital content" and in November it launched a Livestand news magazine tailored for the iPad.

Livestand weaves video, pictures and text in easily navigated presentations in a challenge to popular iPad social magazine application Flipboard.

Time Inc. last month brought in digital advertising veteran Laura Lang to run what is the largest magazine publisher in the United States.

"Magazines are still figuring it out," Weiner said of adapting to the smart tablet age. "I think they are in evolution."

As if online competition weren't enough for the print magazine business, the US Postal Service is proposing to do away with weekend deliveries in a move that could make weeklies seem like even older news by the time they arrive.

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Australia lifts Samsung ban in defeat for Apple
Sydney (AFP) Dec 9, 2011 - The High Court on Friday cleared the way for Samsung to sell its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia in time for Christmas, dismissing iPad manufacturer Apple's bid to have a ban extended.

South Korea's Samsung late last month won an appeal against a temporary ban on sales of the Galaxy device in Australia, a rare victory for the company in its legal tussle with its US rival over copyright.

But Apple immediately won a stay of the order, meaning the device could not be sold. However, its bid to extend the ban was denied on Friday.

"Special leave will be refused with costs," the full bench said in its decision.

The Sydney courtroom battle is part of a wider global war in which two of the world's biggest technology companies are vying for supremacy in the US$100 billion market for tablet computers and smartphones.

The Australian dispute has so far centred on claims that Samsung's Galaxy 10.1 tablet infringed some of Apple's patents for the touchscreen technology used in its popular iPads.

The date for a full hearing on all copyright claims has yet to be decided.

Friday's decision was critical for Samsung, which has faced the prospect of its device losing marketability in the fast-developing tablet market before the case could be fully determined.

It has previously said it needs seven days to bring its products to Australian shelves and the ruling means it should be able to face off against the iPad at the checkout during the Christmas retail rush.

The decision by the High Court -- Australia's top judicial authority -- is in line with that of the full bench of the Federal Court, which last month granted Samsung the right to sell its product in Australia.

At the time, the Federal Court noted that the commercial life of the Samsung tablet was approximately 12 months from launch and that the sales ban had "the practical effect of killing off the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia".

"Although not so as a matter of law, the practical effect of those injunctions is to deliver to Apple complete victory in respect of its claims for final injunctions in respect of that device," they said.

Samsung said Friday it was pleased with the result.

A company spokeswoman told Australian news agency AAP the Federal Court decision "clearly affirmed our view that Apple's claims lack merit and that an injunction should not have been imposed on the Galaxy Tab 10.1."

Apple defended the court action.

"It's no coincidence that Samsung's latest products look a lot like the iPhone and iPad, from the shape of the hardware to the user interface and even the packaging," a spokeswoman in Sydney said in an emailed statement.

"This kind of blatant copying is wrong and, as we've said many times before, we need to protect Apple's intellectual property when companies steal our ideas."

Apple won a ban on the sale of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany in October on claims of copyright breaches, prompting Samsung to later say it had modified the design of its newest tablet in an attempt to bypass the sales ban.

The two companies are also engaged in an ongoing battle over smartphone and tablet technology in the United States, Japan and South Korea.


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Australia lifts Samsung ban in defeat for Apple
Sydney (AFP) Dec 9, 2011
The High Court on Friday cleared the way for Samsung to sell its Galaxy 10.1 tablet in Australia in time for Christmas, dismissing iPad manufacturer Apple's bid to have a ban extended. South Korea's Samsung late last month won an appeal against a temporary ban on sales of the Galaxy device in Australia, a rare victory for the company in its legal tussle with its US rival over copyright. ... read more

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