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US: Walmart launches eBook service

 |  August 23, 2018

Walmart announced Wednesday, August 22, the launch of its new eBook service dubbed Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, which provides customers with access to an all-new digital catalog of books in the stores and online.

In a blog post, Mario Pacini, general manager of entertainment at Walmart eCommerce US, said the eBook platform will complement its physical book assortment and offer customers an entirely new category that hasn’t been available at Walmart before. He noted that customers get access to Kobo’s library of more than six million titles, from New York Times bestsellers to a wide variety of indie titles and children’s books, through a new monthly audiobook subscription in which customers pay US$9.99 per month for an audiobook service that includes one audiobook per month. Customers can also purchase digital book cards in 3,500 Walmart stores. Walmart said it would sell Kobo eReaders on Walmart.com and in 1,000 stores. The executive noted that Walmart eBooks will be accessible through co-branded iOS and Android apps, which also launched, 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 (US)$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,” wrote Pacini. “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.”

The move on the part of Walmart comes as its trying to take on Amazon in the retail market. Walmart has been investing heavily in its eCommerce offerings in hopes of stealing back customers lost to Amazon.

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