Walmart Gets Into eBooks With Launch of New iOS App, Reveals $9.99/Month Audiobook Service

Walmart today announced that it has partnered with Rakuten Kobo to launch its own dedicated eBooks platform, simply called Walmart eBooks. The service will be available as an iOS and Android application, as well as on Kobo's eReaders, and function similarly to rival eBook services from Apple and Amazon.

"More than six million" eBooks will be up for purchase on Walmart's site, and once you find your next book you can choose the "eBook" option, click "Buy", checkout, and find the book in any app or eReader synced to your Walmart account. It appears that you can't buy books directly from the iOS app, and can only download a sample of each novel to read.


In stores, Walmart will also debut "digital book cards" of nearly 40 novels, which will provide codes that you can then go home and redeem to save the eBook on your devices. The partnership is also introducing Kobo eReaders on Walmart.com and in 1,000 Walmart retail stores, starting at $99.99 with the Kobo Aura.
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.

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.
The free Walmart eBooks app is available to download today from the iOS App Store [Direct Link], and will act as a hub for Walmart's new initiative, collecting your eBooks, audiobooks, graphic novels, and children's books on iPhone and iPad. Features include resizable text, a Night Mode, screen orientation lock, automatic bookmarks, bookmark syncing across devices, free book previews, and more.

The app provides "Awards" for accomplishing certain literary tasks, such as finishing a certain number of books, highlighting quotes, sharing a passage on social media, and more. The app will also track your reading stats and library activity, showing the percentage complete of the current book you're reading, the amount of time you've spent reading the book, and number of pages turned. Additionally, Walmart eBooks will track the total hours you spend reading, hours per book, pages per hour, pages per session, and more.

There's also a new audiobook subscription service that will let customers subscribe for $9.99 per month and gain access to one audiobook every month. Comparatively, Amazon's Audible service offers credit for one audiobook every month at $14.95 per month. Customers who sign up online will also get $10 off their first a la carte audiobook or eBook, and the audiobook service includes a 30-day free trial.

Walmart's entry into the eBook market comes eight years after Apple announced iBooks alongside the iPad in 2010, and just over ten years after Amazon's original Kindle launched in the United States alongside the Kindle eBooks store.

Tag: Walmart


Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
It'll be like the Zune of ebooks.
Rating: 10 Votes
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10 months ago
Just use Libby. Works with your local public library to borrow eBooks and audiobooks for free. Some cities only require a phone number to sign up for a library card.

No I don't work for them, I just love reading and despise Walmart. Not often do I get to combine the two.
Rating: 6 Votes
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10 months ago
It's cute how Walmart keeps trying to compete with Amazon.
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago

Just use Libby. Works with your local public library to borrow eBooks and audiobooks for free. Some cities only require a phone number to sign up for a library card.

No I don't work for them, I just love reading and despise Walmart. Not often do I get to combine the two.


Agreed. Libby/Overdrive is quite amazing. I read many books for free thanks to its connection with the public library.

Ps: no I don’t work for them, but I used to work at a Public Library and I was in charge of paying Overdrive invoices among other stuff. The service is a very important tool for the community and the spread of education.
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago
This company does not allow Apple Pay remember that.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
I am a very frequent audiobook listener. I have been subscribing to audible for a few years now and also heavily rely on overdrive/Libby through public libraries (as well as renting audio CDs from the local library). Being a resident of NY State I'm lucky to have access to three libraries (local county + NY Public library + Brooklyn Public Library). But I like to complement them with an Audible membership for books I don't get at one of the three libraries.

A couple of points about Audible. Though it's true their monthly membership is $15/month, if you pay for the year it comes to $12.5/month. (They have offered $100 annual memberships a couple of times, which comes to $8.33/month, but that's besides the point). The point is that audible keeps having so many member deals. There is one every few weeks. They'll have frequent sales like 'get 2 books for 1 credit', 'get 3 for 2 credits', $5 sales, Kindle version owner discounts etc. As long as you are willing to partake in those sales, your annual membership goes a lot farther than just 12 books. Usually the collection on sale is quite decent. Your mileage may vary, but for the typical audible user, the cost per book is often less than the advertised cost per month. Part of audible's appeal is their sale curation and editor lists.

Walmart's service will have to offer a compelling service to pull Audible loyalists away. Pricing it lower is just a start. It will attract the occasional new user who hasn't actually used audible. But without the kind of frequent sales, the value added features (ebook to audiobook syncing, audible talk and comedy channels etc.), and overall experience that audible offers, seasoned users won't jump ship.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Exactly, and now we know why they won’t support Apple Pay. So, next step to enter the music/movie business as well - or have they already done this?

They own VUDU
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

This company does not allow Apple Pay remember that.

You say that as if it's somehow significant... or relevant.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago
Yah for competition!

But I still love Amazon & Audible.
Rating: 1 Votes
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10 months ago
Buy a card in store to get a code to download a book? 2002 called, they want their distribution model back.
Rating: 1 Votes
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