Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Walmart to begin selling e-books, e-readers through Japanese partner

Walmart Is Bringing the Fight to Amazon's Turf: E-books Kobo and Walmart in e-reader alliance against Amazon
Lori Graves | 29 January, 2018, 05:48

Walmart is challenging AmazonĀ“s dominance as a retailer of e-books and audiobooks, launching itself into the segment for the first time.

Walmart said it will sell Rakuten's Kobo e-readers and content in the USA, as well as jointly launch a grocery delivery service in Japan.

All eBook content will be accessible through a Walmart/Kobo co-branded app on all iOS and Android devices, a desktop app and Kobo eReaders (which we'll offer online and in stores later this year).

As part of the alliance, Walmart will become the exclusive retail partner of Rakuten Kobo in the U.S., enabling it to offer Kobo's almost 6 million book titles.

Walmart has strengthened its foothold in Japan after striking a deal with ecommerce retailer Rakuten to launch an online delivery service in the country.

The deal - which Walmart's chief executive, Doug McMillon, flew to Tokyo to announce - will allow Walmart's online grocery business in Japan to expand exponentially. Starting sometime in the summer or early fall, Walmart subsidiary Seiyu, will launch a new online grocery service in Japan.

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Ready to get started?

This new joint venture is going to include a fulfillment center that will be dedicated to the delivery of groceries and equipping the Seiyu stores to also delivery.

In 2016, Walmart applied a similar strategy in China to that announced on Friday after struggling to grow its e-commerce business by itself. He added, "We are excited to partner with Walmart because of its commitment to creating the best solutions to serve customers with low prices".

Walmart likens this new service to VUDU, which it already uses as a vehicle for digital movies.

While Rakuten has the chance to grow Kobo's relatively small United States footprint, Walmart has a better chance of challenging Amazon with this partnership than if the retail giant had attempted to enter the digital book space on its own. Each week, over 260 million customers and members visit our more than 11,600 stores under almost 59 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites in 11 countries. Seiyu, one of Japan's largest supermarket chains, operates traditional supermarkets, hypermarkets and one general merchandise store in Japan. It will kick off in the latter half of 2018, and will replace Walmart's existing online grocery delivery offering in Japan. Owned by Rakuten, Toronto-based Kobo offers almost 6 million eBooks and audiobooks to customers in 190 countries.

Google has offered ebooks for years via its Play Store, but has never presented a real challenge to Amazon's crown.

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