Walmart eBooks takes on Amazon Kindle: What does it mean for authors?

Introducing Walmart Ebooks

Walmart and Rakuten Kobo have joined forces to create Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, a brand that aims to give Amazon Kindle and Audible competition in the ebook and audiobook markets.

Rakuten Kobo & Walmart eBooks Author Marketing

What does Walmart eBooks mean for ebook authors?

If you're a self-publisher who sells your ebook in the Kobo store, either directly using Kobo Writing Life or an ebook aggregator that distributes to Kobo, your book is already available in the Walmart eBookstore. Yay!

Are you already in the Walmart eBookstore?

If you use an ebook aggregator like Smashwords, Draft2Digital, PublishDrive, StreetLib, or Scribl, your ebook will appear in the Walmart eBookstore.

If you use a distributor with ebook aggregation services that serve Kobo, such as IngramSpark, BookBaby, or Gatekeeper Press, your book will also show up in the Walmart eBookstore.


I provide reviews of all of these aggregation and distribution services in my free Consumer’s Guide for Self-Publishers so you can figure out which one is best for you. Confused about distribution? See the post Book aggregators and distributors: How your book gets to your readers. Need even more help choosing a distribution path? Take a look at the Self-Pub Boot Camp self-paced book distribution course.

Your audiobook might be there, too

If you are distributing your audiobook with Findaway Voices then your audiobook should be in the Walmart eBookstore via Kobo's partnership with the company. When you make an audiobook sale it will be reported as a Kobo sale line item, not separately. 

Market your book aggressively on your Kobo dashboard now

Here's Kobo's Marketing & Promotions author help page that lists marketing opportunities for new releases and social promotions, and shows you how to use the handy-dandy promotions tab, too. It's time to get familiar with these marketing tools!

Kobo Writing Life Marketing & Promotions Page

Are you enrolled in Amazon KDP Select? Remember, your book is exclusive to Amazon until your 90-day contract ends. So log into your dashboard on Amazon KDP and make sure auto-renew is not checked so you can take advantage of Kobo's marketing programs.

You may see more sales on Kobo

With Walmart undercutting Amazon on ebook pricing you may see more sales on Kobo. (Don't worry. You are paid on list price not net price.) 

I’ll be interviewing Kobo's Christine Munroe soon for The Author Friendly Podcast and I look forward to her advice on how to maximize sales on Walmart. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunesStitcherSoundCloudYouTube, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

Action item: Go to Kobo Writing Life and take a look at their ebook marketing opportunities.

Tell your readers about it!

Email your readers to let them know that first-time Walmart eBook customers get $10 off their first purchase, and point them to your book. The holidays are coming soon so don’t forget to add Walmart eBooks to your book launch or promotion strategy. 

Related post: Website tools to help you build your author email list

Is your book in Walmart? Go find out!

Get the app and check it out your ebook

Walmart is showing their customers how to read ebooks with their Walmart branded app for iPhone and Android devices. Share this information with them. (Your customers who own Kobo ebook reading devices can already buy books on Walmart.com.)

Try it yourself and let your readers know how easy it is to create a Walmart account, install the app, and enjoy a $10 discount on their first ebook.

How to use the Walmart ebook app

Your thoughts?

Competition encourages innovation!  I’m sure I’m not the only one who's looking forward to seeing how Amazon reacts and how these two big box stores shape the future of online book sales. 

What do you think about the partnership? About Walmart's impact on the digital book marketplace? What are your plans for taking advantage of the opportunity to sell on Walmart?

Let's talk about it in the discussion area at the end of this post. 

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