Walmart is partnering with Kobo to create a new service called Walmart eBooks. It includes a library of over 6 million titles ranging from NYT best-sellers to indie titles and children’s books (via TechCrunch).
Walmart is desperate to compete with Amazon, and this new service is another volley in the battle. It offers both eBooks and audiobooks. In order to compete, Walmart is undercutting Amazon by offering a monthly audiobook subscription for US$9.99/month, as opposed to Amazon’s US$14.95/month.
Unlike Amazon, Walmart can use its physical store muscle to help boost the service. Walmart is also selling various models of Kobo e-readers as well. You don’t need a Kobo e-reader to use Walmart eBooks though. There is an app available for iOS and Android. Michael Tamblyn, Rakuten Kobo President and CEO, said in a statement:
Although we are a company that focuses on selling a digital product, retailers and store experiences have always been an important part of the mix in every country we operate in. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Walmart as we grow in the U.S. market. Together, we can provide even more people with a great reading experience, whether that’s print, digital or both.
It sounds nice, but I’m betting that the eBooks can only be read within the app. I’d love to get cheaper audiobooks and eBooks from Walmart, but all of my eBooks are stored in Apple Books, and I don’t intend to give that up.