You know what Amazon's online Kindle store has been missing? True competition. The sort of competition that makes prices better for the rest of us. Well, Walmart and Rakuten are teaming up to provide exactly that with a new site featuring e-books, e-readers, and audiobooks called Walmart eBooks. This site will include a library of more than six million titles, Rakuten's Kobo e-readers, and a subscription-based audiobooks service similar to Amazon's Audible.
The difference from Amazon is Walmart's monthly subscription for audiobooks will only cost $9.99 compared to $14.95. You will also be able to add to your content library through Walmart's brick and mortar stores using digital book codes. More than 3,500 Walmart stores will start carrying cards for up to 40 popular titles this week.
Much like the Kindle store, you won't necessarily need one of the Kobo e-readers to read or listen to these books. Just download the Walmart eBooks app from iOS, Google Play, or elsewhere and use that on devices you already have. If you do want a Kobo e-reader, Walmart will sell them online starting today and in up to 1,000 stores by the end of the week. With features like water-resistance, e-ink touchscreens, and weeks of battery life, the Kobo e-readers have plenty of advantages to challenge the Amazon Kindle lineup.
Walmart is kicking off this launch with a couple of ways to save money. First, you'll get $10 off an e-book or audiobook purchase as a new customer. Second, you can try Walmart's audiobooks subscription service free for 30 days. Walmart is well-known for rolling back prices, right? So if this new market translates into a way to get your favorite book titles a bit cheaper, then it could be worth it. Time will tell. We've seen Amazon offer plenty of excellent promotions for its services, so keep an eye on Thrifter for new ways to save at Walmart.