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Walmart Teams Up With Kobo To Sell EBooks and Audiobooks (engadget.com) 35

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Later this year, you'll be able to buy ebooks and audiobooks straight from Walmart's website. The big box retailer has teamed up with Japanese e-commerce titan Rakuten to launch a business that can take on Amazon's Kindle offerings. Walmart will give its customers in the U.S. an easy way to access to Kobo's library -- Kobo is Rakuten's digital book division -- and its six million titles from tens of thousands of publishers. The company will also start selling Kobo eReaders, which will set you back at least $120, online and in stores sometime this year. Walmart said Kobo's titles will be fully integrated into its website, so the ebook and audiobook versions of the title you're searching for will appear alongside the listing of its physical book. However, you won't be able to access the digital files through random apps. You'll have to use the co-branded apps for iOS, Android and desktop that Walmart and Kobo will release in the future, though you'll of course be able access ebooks through a Kobo e-reader.
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Walmart Teams Up With Kobo To Sell EBooks and Audiobooks

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  • I can buy stuff from other providers.... What a crock.
  • No Amazon store access so I can access my Kindle library...no sale.
  • Walmart needs to become Amazon before Amazon can become Walmart.
  • No way are they "at least $120"

    Kobo is a customer of mine, and I have both a Touch and a top-line Aura one.

    In 80-cent Canadian dollars the prices are:
    Kobo Mini. $59.99
    Kobo Touch. $99.99
    Kobo Glo. $129.99
    Kobo Glo HD. $129.99
    Kobo Touch 2.0. $129.99
    Kobo Aura. $149.99
    Kobo Aura HD. $169.99
    Kobo Aura H2O. $179.99

    Expect cheaper in the 'States, and even cheaper at Wallmart.

    • Are they still stuck with that shitty Kobo UI? I owned a Kobo for about three weeks, until the charger port croaked, and I ended up swapping it for a Nexus 7. The tablet was alright, but man oh man did I hate the UI it stuck on top of Android. It was buggy and more than a bit of a pain in the ass.

      • by davecb ( 6526 )
        No, a friend had the android dev and it was grungy. I have an old touch and a new aura one, and both have a nice newish UI that I find pretty good. My only complain is that Rogers, one of our duopoly ISPs, hates Kobo and loves Kindle (hmmn, $ issues perhaps?) and makes me go to the competition's hot-spots to synchronize things.
    • by unrtst ( 777550 )

      No way are they "at least $120"

      You quote some prices that are below $120, but I (in the US) can't find those models. The cheapest model available from https://us.kobobooks.com/colle... [kobobooks.com] is $119.99. Here's those prices:

      Kobo Aura Edition 2 : $119.99
      Kobo Aura H2O : $159.99 (out of stock)
      Kobo Aura H2O Edition 2 : $179.99 (out of stock)
      Kobo Aura ONE : $229.99
      Kobo Aura ONE Limited Edition : $279.99

      I have no idea how those model names line up with the ones you posted, except for the one exact match for "Kobo Aura H2O", which you have a $20 more.

      • by davecb ( 6526 )

        In Canada, you can order them from any retailer, or from Kobo.

        When I searched Google for "kobo prices" I got the list that I cut and pasted into the article, and a link to https://www.kobo.com/devices/c... [kobo.com] that tries to sell you just the expensive stuff.

        Mr Google is your friend (;-))

  • ... empty space in that market.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seems to me that working with Kobo is a half ass attempt to compete with Amazon. They should buy Barnes and Nobles and do their best to fight Amazon. I give it 2 years at most. At which time they'll announce that they are closing down their joint venture.

      It's a shame since Walmart is really in the best position to take Amazon on. B & N is slowly dying and soon there won't be an option for Walmart to buy it and compete with Amazon's book business.

  • I don't expect to use random apps to read books. I expect book reader apps to read books. Angry Birds apps will not read books.

    I know what the intent of that was. There will be DRM to limit the book to Kobo devices and apps, with perhaps their own bastardized format in place of epub or pdf, just like Amazon has their own format/DRM for Kindle.

    If this takes off, I expect it will not be long before there is a Calibre plugin to deal with it. But, as I've been a Kobo customer in the past without a happy endi

    • by davecb ( 6526 )

      Kobo uses DRM if and only if the author or publisher requires its use.

      About 80% of the books I have on my Kobo Touch are ordinary .epub with no DRM.

      --dave
      [Full disclosure: Kobo is a fomer customer of mine. I worked with them because they aren't DRM-happy]

  • by DaTrueDave ( 992134 ) * on Friday January 26, 2018 @06:43PM (#56012019)

    Kobo arguably puts out the best eReaders that can handle the most common open source ebook format: EPUB.

    WalMart is a cesspool.

    I hope it's possible to take advantage of this venture without actually going into a WalMart.

    • by Chryana ( 708485 )

      From having had several different Kobo models, mostly because I kept breaking old ones whose screen had a glass substrate, I'd say calling them Kobos "the best eReaders" doesn't mean much. The UI has gotten worse with time, in my opinion, and it's always been sluggish for every single device I've had. Something as simple as clicking on a number to go to a reference is painful. Most of the time, the touch is interpreted as a page turn instead, so you have to go back to the page you were reading and try again

  • Now if the Kobo is compatible with my library systems eBook loan system, I may be interested. Oh and if I can install calibre client and Aldiko...

    I'll never directly pay for an eBook, except through local taxes that go to the library....

  • by Optic7 ( 688717 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @08:07PM (#56012487)

    i.e. "Lead Balloon"? That about describes how well this is likely to go over.

    I realized that the ebook market is completely locked into Amazon when I looked for certain ebooks and discovered that they are only available at Amazon, and not bn.com, for instance.

    I presume that some authors/publishers (at least smaller ones) have determined that publishing on any other platform is just not worth the effort.

    The only way this will change is with some antitrust action, or some other actual paradigm shift, not just the buzzword kind.

    • by Kreela ( 1770584 )
      This move will change that lock-in to an extent. The reason many books are only available on Amazon is the Kindle Select exclusivity clause: independent authors can't list with other vendors if they want to take advantage of participation in Kindle Unlimited, better visibility in the Amazon store, and promotional opportunities like Countdown deals that non-exclusive authors can't use. So independent authors have the stark choice between selling better on Amazon but being exclusive, or selling widely but to
      • by Optic7 ( 688717 )

        Thanks for the informative post. I wasn't aware of any of that. I still think that it will be a small portion of authors who will make the choice to abandon those incentives you listed to publish with walmart/kobo. We shall see in time what happens.

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