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Walmart squares up to Amazon with a new e-book store

The new experience is now open to customers in the US.
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Walmart has officially launched the Amazon e-book and audiobook rival it's been working on with Kobo this past year. The big box retailer announced its partnership with Kobo's parent company Rakuten back in January, promising to give its customers (in the US, at least) an easy way to access the six million titles in Kobo's library. Now, you can finally access the partner's e-book experience via Kobo e-readers and their new co-branded apps for iOS and Android devices. You can also purchase e-books on Walmart's US website, where they're listed alongside their physical counterparts. Take note that due to an agreement with Apple, the e-book store isn't visible inside the iOS app, though the application will show any item you purchase via other means.

While this is clearly an attempt to challenge part of Amazon's eCommerce business, Walmart will also sell digital book cards in its brick-and-mortar stores. The retailer will only sell digital cards for 40 titles, but you'll be able to get them in 3,500 locations starting this week. In case you prefer listening to books, though, Walmart now also offers an audiobook subscription service for $10 a month, $5 less than what an Audible subscription costs. Finally, as part of their partnership, the company will start selling various Kobo models on Walmart.com and Kobo Aura e-Readers in 1,000 stores this week.

Whether the lower audiobook subscription cost and the $10 gift Walmart is giving new customers can entice people to sign up remains to be seen. It'll probably be tough convincing Kindle owners, in particular, since they likely already have an extensive library tied to their Amazon accounts. If you'd like to look around and give it a shot, though, check out the Walmart e-books storefront, where you can see what it has to offer.

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