Walmart, which has been exploring ways to sell e-books for years, has partnered with Japanese-based Rakuten's Kobo subsidiary to sell Kobo digital content and electronic reading devices trough the giant retailer's U.S. stores. Under the agreement, Kobo e-readers, e-books, and audiobook will be available at 4,000 Walmart stores and Walmart.com later this year. Walmart will also offer digital book cards through its physical outlets.
All e-book content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app available on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo e-Readers, which will also be sold at Walmart later this year. The Kobo marketplace, the companies said, holds "nearly six million titles from thousands of publishers and hundreds of thousands of authors. Despite its wide variety of digital offerings. the Canadian-based Kobo has gained little traction in the U.S., something that could drastically change with its Walmart deal.
“Our strategy from day one has been to partner with the world’s best retailers, so that they can easily offer their customers the option of reading digitally." said Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn. “For us, this is another great opportunity to serve book lovers at Walmart, those people who make reading an important part of their lives.”