Walmart horns in on the $1.1 billion e-book market

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A Walmart eBooks iOS app just launched, hoping to take on the established leaders in the market.
A Walmart eBooks iOS app just launched, hoping to take on the established leaders in the market, Amazon and Apple Books.
Photo: Walmart

While brick-and-mortar bookstores have almost disappeared, the number of e-book stores grew today with Walmart throwing its hat into the ring.

This is clearly an attempt to take on arch-rival Amazon in yet another market, but Apple Books is caught in the middle too.

“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,” promised Mario Pacini, the company’s GM of Entertainment, in a statement.

While this move is likely intended to counter Amazon’s e-book store, this is definitely a lucrative market. There were $1.1 billion dollars worth of e-books  sold in 2017, according to the Association of American Publishers.

What’s on offer

The retailer points out that Walmart eBooks offers six million titles, from New York Times best sellers to indie titles and children’s books.

And digital book cards will appear in 3,500 Walmart stores. This gives shoppers the opportunity to buy a book at retail, then load it onto their e-reader.

In addition, the retail giant just launched an audiobook subscription service. For a $9.99 monthly fee, they can listen to one book per month.

How to read Walmart eBooks

This new electronic book store is the result of a team up with Rakuten Kobo. E-readers made by this company will start appearing in Walmart stores later this week.

But they certainly won’t be required. A Walmart eBooks app just appeared in the iOS App Store. An Android version is also on Google Play.

This might not be the only new market Walmart is exploring. It’s reportedly considering a video streaming service to rival Netflix.