- - Monday, November 7, 2011

NEW YORK

Bookseller unveils $249 Nook Tablet

NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble Inc. on Monday unveiled its new $249 Nook Tablet, an e-book reader that includes more features of a full-blown tablet than its prior offerings as the tablet wars heat up ahead of the all-important holiday season.

Tablets and e-book readers are expected to be popular gifts during the holidays, and both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com Inc. are hoping to challenge the dominant Apple iPad for a piece of the holiday pie. Barnes & Noble launched its new product weeks after Amazon.com announced its $199 Kindle Fire tablet.

The Nook Tablet will be in stores and shipped to homes Nov. 17. Like the Nook Color, it has a 7-inch color touch screen, and will come preloaded with apps from Netflix and Hulu. Barnes & Noble also cut the price on its Nook Color, which doesn’t offer streaming services, to $199, and its Nook Simple Touch Reader, a black-and-white reader that doesn’t have a browser, to $99.

Since introducing its first Nook in 2009, Barnes & Noble has been spending heavily on its e-book readers and e-bookstore in an effort to stay afloat as it faces changes in how people read books and tough competition from discounters and online retailers. The New York company has struggled to return a profit. In its most recent quarter, it reported a narrower loss as revenue edged up 2 percent to $1.42 billion.

NEW YORK

UPS expects 6 percent rise in holiday shipments

NEW YORK — Online gift-buying procrastinators are expected to drive a 6 percent increase in UPS package deliveries the week before Christmas this year.

The world’s largest package delivery company said Monday that it expects a total of 120 million packages around the world during the company’s “peak week,” compared with 113 million last year.

The Atlanta company predicts its busiest day will be Dec. 22, when it expects to deliver 26 million parcels.

UPS’ smaller rival, FedEx Corp., expects to handle 17 million packages on its busiest day, Dec. 12. That is 10 percent more than its busiest day last year. Both companies have reported steady growth in shipments throughout the critical holiday season because they are benefiting from continuing growth in shipments from shoppers who buy gifts from their home computers rather than the local mall.

NEW YORK

Southwest, AirTran pilots approve seniority list

NEW YORK — Pilots at Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways say they have finalized a deal that will create a single list to determine their seniority as the two carriers work to combine their operations.

The deal, which was tentatively approved in September, was a big hurdle in their effort to combine. A pilot’s position on the seniority list can determine earnings, city base and days worked. Southwest considered operating AirTran separately if the deal was voted down.

Southwest Airlines’ purchase of AirTran was finalized May 2. AirTran pilots will spend the next three years transitioning to Southwest’s operations.

SWEDEN

GM blocks technology in proposed Saab sale

STOCKHOLM — General Motors Co. on Monday said it won’t allow two Chinese companies to use its technology if they go ahead with a planned purchase of Saab Automobile, a former GM unit.

The announcement raises doubts about a rescue plan for the ailing Swedish brand, which is being reorganized under bankruptcy protection after running out of cash to pay suppliers and staff.

Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile Co. and Pang Da Automobile Trade Co. agreed last month to buy Saab from current owner Swedish Automobile for $140 million.

GM, which sold the loss-making brand in 2010, said it would block existing technology licenses and stop supplying the GM-built Saab 9-4X crossover sport utility vehicle “following the proposed change in ownership as it would not be in the best interests of GM.”

Swedish Automobile CEO Victor Muller told the Swedish news agency TT that GM’s decision means going “back to the drawing board.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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