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Walmart Delves into Digital Content with Launch of Walmart eBooks

Walmart Corporate Logo

Walmart Corporate LogoWalmart launched a new offering for shoppers – you can now purchase ebooks on its site thanks to a new partnership with Kobo. In addition to selling individual titles, Walmart is selling an audiobook subscription plan for $9.99/month.

The phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” comes to mind: Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten owns Kobo, having acquired the company in 2011 for $315 million. Walmart’s decision to partner with a rival shows the seriousness of its attempt to fend off rival Amazon.

Announcement follows:

Walmart and Kobo Launch Walmart eBooks, Including an Audiobook Subscription for $9.99
By Mario Pacini, General Manager, Entertainment, Walmart eCommerce U.S.

Summer is almost over, which means there are only a few more weeks left to soak up the sun and enjoy one of the beach reads all of your friends have been talking about. Today, we’re making it easier than ever to check out the latest new releases with the launch of Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, Walmart’s partnership with Kobo to offer an all-new digital books catalog in stores and online.

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Walmart eBooks will complement our vast physical book assortment and offer customers a comprehensive digital book solution, introducing an entirely new category that hasn’t been previously available at Walmart. Walmart eBooks brings customers:

– Kobo’s library of more than six million titles – from New York Times best sellers to a wide variety of indie titles and children’s books.

– A new monthly audiobook subscription – Customers will be able to subscribe to our audiobook service for $9.99 per month, which includes one audiobook per month.

– The ability to purchase digital book cards in 3,500 Walmart stores – We’ll offer nearly 40 titles including The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse-Tyson and Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines. These cards will roll out to stores beginning this week.

– Access to Kobo’s eReaders online and in-store – Starting today, customers can choose from a variety of Kobo eReaders on Walmart.com. In 1,000 stores, we will offer the Kobo Aura starting later this week.

Walmart eBooks will be accessible through co-branded iOS and Android apps, which also launched today, and on Kobo eReaders.

We’re really excited about this new category, and we know our customers will be too. To celebrate the launch, we’re offering first-time customers who sign up online $10 off their first a la carte eBook or audiobook. In addition, customers who sign up for the audiobook subscription will receive a 30-day free trial.

We’ve been hard at work expanding our assortment on Walmart.com overall – from dramatically growing our product assortment in the baby category and announcing a new fashion partnership with Ellen DeGeneres, to introducing entirely new categories like the one we’re unveiling today. So, as you’re gathering all the essentials for the last long weekend of summer, don’t forget to shop for an eBook or two.

SOURCE: Walmart Announcement

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.