Archive for the ‘Walmart’ Category

Walmart starts selling e-books/Kobo EBRs

September 3, 2018

Walmart starts selling e-books/Kobo EBRs

I guess Walmart decided to party like it’s 2009**. 😉

Walmart has just announced a major initiative to sell e-books (both online and in the stores) and Kobo EBRs (E-Book Readers):

press release

This is no timid toe-dipping…it’s a full-on cannonball into the e-book, EBR, and not insignificantly, audiobook markets.

The really good news is that, contrary to what you may read at some sites, the e-book market is thriving. Reports you might see about reduced or slowing sales of e-books are, I think, for the most part a data error rather than a trend. Tradpub (traditional publisher) e-book sales may no longer be growing super rapidly, but that may be because of the large percentage of sales being made by non-tradpubs and by subsers (subscription services) including Amazon’s own

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

My mentioning Amazon here is, of course, deliberate. That’s the obvious competition here…and while it might seem like Walmart might do this just to go after Amazon, that doesn’t make sense. This doesn’t seem like a likely loss leader (really, how many people are going to use Walmart for the first time because of e-books, or make an e-book purchase and then be inspired to buy tire irons?), so I think they think they are going to profit on this.

There are really three parts to this at this point:

  • EBRs: Walmart has already sold e-book readers (and Fire tablets, for that matter)…this doesn’t seem revolutionary enough to justify a big promotional push
  • E-books: they are doing an interesting thing here with promoting purchasing giftcards in the store…otherwise, this is Kobo’s offerings. It’s really more of co-branding…or should that be Ko-branding? 😉 It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was really Kobo’s idea. I think Kobo is getting more out of it (access to the mainstream American market) than Walmart is
  • Audiobooks: this probably the most interesting part of this, a $9.99 a month audiobook subser

You can see the details on all of this starting here:

Walmart eBooks

I’ve read through the audiobook conditions…basically, for $9.99 you can get one audiobook (which could be a considerable savings). Outside of that, you can piece buy more (at the regular price) or “top up” by buying three more “instant credits”.

I’m seeing this being presented in coverage as underselling Amazon’s Audible, which is $14.95 for a similar one credit.

However, Amazon gives you a lot of other benefits.

Also, if you don’t care about owning the e-books but just want to listen to them, you can have access to a lot more for a similar price to Walmart’s by joining

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

If you want to try this, you can. You can set up a free trial (like you can with Audible), and you’ll get a $10 credit towards an e-book or audiobook. Then, hypothetically, you could cancel. So, you can get a that $10 to try out a book (audio or e).

My bottom line on this? I think it’s low risk for Walmart, and I expect it to be around for a while. I think Kobo has taken on the lion’s share of the risk, but that this will probably work for them.

I don’t see much impact on Amazon…although I think they’ll have to consider dropping the Audible subscription price, at elast for an intro (after the free trial), even if it is only temporarily at the holidays. They could give that price only to Prime members, perhaps.

This could get some antiammers (Anti-Amazon folks…I just made that up) used to e-books, which might help in the long run.

What do you think? Will you download the app and get the free trial, just to test it? Do you think this will have much of an impact on Amazon? How about on Barnes & Noble? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

A couple of articles:


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

** While the Kindle was released in November 2007, it would really have been around 2009 that a place like Walmart might have made a big move into it…the 2007 holiday season was upon them too quickly, and you might wait a year to see how it went

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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