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CVS launches Internet photo service

Drug store chain allows in-store pick-up of prints from images stored online.

Pharmacy chain CVS announced a photo service on Wednesday that allows consumers to pay for and pick up digital prints in stores.

The service allows users to post digital images meant for printing on the CVS Web site. The prints can be picked up at any of the company's 4,200 stores the next day. More pick-up outlets may be added after CVS closes a deal to acquire 1,260 Eckerd drug stores, located mainly in the southern United States.

Each CVS online print will cost 29 cents, the same amount charged for in-store prints.

In recent years, a spectacular growth in digital imaging technologies has combined with the Internet boom to bring in changes in how photographs are taken, stored and printed. Eastman Kodak and several other traditional photographic companies have made a decision to substantially reduce their dependence on conventional film-based printing and to explore the digital market.

Kodak's Ofoto, as well as Shutterfly and OurPictures, are among a number of small and midsize companies that offer online services such as photo organization, storage, editing and printing. Peer-to-peer technology, which revolutionized the online music scene, has also begun to be used to trade digital images.

CVS is hoping to make its new service stand out by eliminating delivery fees, since consumers can pick up the prints in stores. The company has begun promoting the service in a newspaper circular that reaches more than 35 million homes.