Living in what’s essentially a tiny house on wheels, I love eBooks and eBook readers. They allow me to maintain a complete and growing library without the space and weight gains that owning shelves full of dead tree editions come with. I own over 2,000 eBooks. I review eBook readers and provide tips on using them for one of the other outlets that I write for.
None of this prepared me for the news that Rakuten Kobo has paired with Walmart to sell eBooks and at least one of its lower-end ebook readers at Walmart.
According to The Digital Reader, Walmart will be selling Kobo’s base model Aura reader and possibly some of the company’s other excellent E-Ink reading devices as well, in store and online. This, to me, makes a lot of sense.
Given the issues that Walmart is having with Amazon drinking their fiscal milkshake these past few years, making a bit of space for eBook appliances seems like an easy way to attempt to take a bite out of a market that Amazon pretty much owns in North America—dedicated electronic reading devices. It makes sense for Kobo too: despite their making some really great hardware, they’ve been having a hell of a time making in-roads against Amazon’s Kindle eBook readers and the massive scope of content that Amazon provides. Having their gear in a national chain might help to move Kobo’s pieces a little further across the board.
What I am surprised by, however, is that, in addition to Kobo’s eBook readers being available in-store, Walmart will also be selling gift certificates for particular book titles. Read the rest