Walmart is getting into the digital book business, but rather than building its own platform from the ground up, the company is partnering with Kobo, the eBook company which was acquired by Japanese retailer Rakuten in 2011.

Kobo may not be as well known in the US and Amazon’s Kindle brand or even Barnes & Noble’s NOOK. But back when Borders bookstores were still a thing, they sold Kobo eReaders and Kobo eBooks.

Walmart’s move could be the biggest thing to happen to happen to Kobo in the US since Borders went out of business.

Walmart will be the exclusive “mass retail partner for the Kobo brand in the US,” which means that you’ll be able to buy Kobo devices at Walmart stores or from Walmart.com.

You’ll also be able to purchase millions of eBook titles through Walmart and the company will sell digital book cards in 4,000 stores.

Walmart and Kobo will also offer co-branded apps for reading eBooks on iOS, Android, or desktop PC devices as well as Kobo eReaders.

Of course, you can already buy Kobo devices or content from Kobo.com. But the partnership with Walmart will get Kobo’s eReaders, eBooks, and apps in front of a much wider audience in the United States.

The new partnership between Walmart and Rakuten isn’t just about eBooks. The company’s are also working together to launch a grocery delivery service in Japan later this year.

press release and Walmart blog post

 

 

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3 replies on “Walmart partners with Kobo to sell eBooks, audiobooks, and eReaders”

  1. Kobo hardware is still too hard to buy. This will help a little, but probably only for people in the U.S.

  2. Not even sure how this would work considering the hops and skips getting DRM-protected content to play nicely from one device to another… from one application to another. When you try to read what you bought on a unaffiliated 3rd-party reader, you’re labeled a criminal. It’s not easy jumping from one restricted ecosystem to another. Paper was so much easier…

  3. Competition can only redound to the public’s benefit,
    especially since Amazon controls some 80% of the ebook
    market, and Amazon’s Audible has a virtual lock on the audiobook
    segment. Concentration is anti-consumer in that ebooks
    and audiobooks are encrypted, so you can’t just read/listen
    where, when, and on whatever device you want. Google also
    just entered the audiobook market as well

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