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Walmart and Kobo Are Launching Their Joint eBookstore on 21 August

Kobo is keeping mum about the official launch of its joint ebookstore with Walmart, but all signs point to the launch happening in the second half of August.

Initially announced in January, the new ebookstore was going to be located on and would feature both audiobooks, comic books, and ebooks sold through Kobo as well as Kobo ereaders.

That was about all we knew at the time, but in the past few days I have managed to glean a few additional details.

For example, I can now point you to a couple new pages on Walmart’s website where you will shortly find Kobo’s ereaders and ebooks. The pages currently contain dummy images, but the section headings and the page URLs give away a lot of the detail.

I checked the source code for the pages, but I could not find any clues about the launch day.

I do know, however, that Kobo is currently recruiting authors through Kobo Writing Life in preparation for a big marketing push. It is all very hush-hush, but getting ready for the launch and checking details like book description length has been absorbing so many work hours at Kobo that Kobo Writing Life has stopped answering emails.

What we do know is that the marketing campaign will coincide with the launch of the ebookstore on Kobo has even set the date for the launch, and sworn everyone to secrecy.

I think I am now up to seven people who know the date but cannot tell me.

Unfortunately for Kobo, the ebook distributor Streetlib has let the cat out of the bag. The big day is 21 August, but I have doubts about whether Kobo and Walmart will be ready.

If  the ebookstore on were more complete, I would say that the launch is happening sooner rather than later. But in its current state I don’t see the site being ready in three weeks.

If you have inside knowledge about the launch day or any other inside info, I’d love to hear from you.

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Robert Nagle July 30, 2018 um 9:57 pm

KDP agreement specifies, "You must set your Digital Book’s List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book."

Therefore, I think we can assume that any ebook for sale from Walmart will be available for the same price or cheaper from Amazon. What competitive advantage would Walmart be able to offer that the the user can’t already find on Amazon?

Maybe Walmart/Kobo will offer its own equivalent of Kindle Unlimited to compete, but other than that, I can’t think of any way that Walmart can compete..

Disgusting Dude July 31, 2018 um 6:33 am

"We’re not Amazon! Buy from us! Amazon is evil!"
That might work.

"We’re ePub! It’s the industry standard! Really!!"
(That boat has long sailed but if they repeat it enough…)

Richard Hershberger July 31, 2018 um 9:37 am

"Buy from us! Amazon is evil!"

This would be a tough argument, coming from Walmart.

Nate Hoffelder July 31, 2018 um 7:24 am

exactly why I don’t think this will go anywhere

DaveMich July 31, 2018 um 12:37 pm

So I have a question for you Nate.

Let’s assume you know nothing about Kobo’s device offerings. Based on this webpage

Other than price, what is the difference between these e-readers?

You have to click through to each, and I’m not sure even that does the job.
What’s the difference between the Aura and the Clara? They both have 6″ screens. Is the only difference with the h2o the waterproofing? The Aura one is… oh, it’s bigger.

Terrible design.

Nate Hoffelder August 1, 2018 um 1:04 pm

I can’t, and that is part of Kobo’s problem.

tired August 3, 2018 um 9:30 am

Not only that but if you clicked on any individual one you still would not know what the differences are. The Aura One’s standout is that it is 8 inches but that fact is only mentioned once in fine print on the middle of the product page.

DNSB July 31, 2018 um 11:24 pm

Hmmm…. Clicking on the Specs tab for each model gives this information. However, the Kobo Aura 2nd edition is likely going to disappear soon since the Clara replaces it as their 6″ screen ereader. The Clara offers higher resolution, ComfortLight PRO and 8GB of storage. As for the Aura H2O 2nd edition, it has waterproofing by HZO, ComfortLight PRO, 8GB and a 6.8″ screen (round it to 7″ if it makes you happier). The Aura One also has waterproofing, ComfortLight PRO, 8GB of storage and a 7.8″ screen. The Limited Edition version of the KA1 ups the storage to 32GB (in the Japanese market, it is marketed as the Comic or Manga). Both flavours of the Aura One has Overdrive support baked into the firmware. All the Kobo touch ereaders support CBR/CBZ which comic and manga fans find useful with no need to convert to a different and image zoom for those few images that are worth zooming.

More trivia. The concept of jailbreak or rooting is foreign to the Kobo ereaders. Unlike Amazon where they are striving to make jailbreaking their Kindles impossible, Kobo’s ereaders are open. Compare installing KSM09 and KOReader on a Kobo compared to the equivalent install on a Kindle. The price you pay for this openness? Part of the internal storage is reserved for a recovery partition making recovery from a error that bricks your ereader much easier.

Heidi August 1, 2018 um 9:31 am

I also hears 08/21 but I also heard the first week of August. who knows. The wait is killing me

Nate Hoffelder August 1, 2018 um 11:02 am

Walmart’s site isn’t ready. I don’t see how they can launch in a week.

tired August 3, 2018 um 9:34 am

You should know by now that they are not going to make live the relevant parts of a website until the second it is time. Not having pages for ebooks and Kobo devices right now doesn’t mean at all that they are not ready.

Nate Hoffelder August 3, 2018 um 10:06 am

Except the pages were live (by mistake) and they didn’t look ready.

Nate Hoffelder August 1, 2018 um 1:03 pm

here’s something funny: Walmart took down the pages I found.

tired August 3, 2018 um 9:35 am

Why are you so excited? You can order a Kobo whenever you want off of their website.

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