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Walmart is Actually Selling eBooks in Stores, But Still Doesn’t Give a Crap About Selling eBooks

Earlier today I had the good fun of exhibiting at a local writer’s workshop (Back on Track, held in downtown Manassas, VA). On my way there I stopped at my other local Walmart to pick up the requisite candy and scout the ebook display.

A couple weeks ago I found an apparently abandoned ebook display at the Walmart in Woodbridge, and this morning I spied an equally neglected display at the Manassas Walmart. Whoever set up this display didn’t install the mounts for the display ereaders or even bother to apply the pricing stickers.

Walmart clearly doesn’t care about selling ebooks, which is utterly astounding given the fact that people are buying them.

Yes, this display was visibly low on cards. One might think the cards were simply spread out or possibly taken and abandoned, but no, Walmart’s system had noted the sale of the cards and responded by shipping out new stock.

Alas, no one was bothering to put the new stock on the hooks:

I don’t know what is more amazing, that Walmart is actually selling ebooks in its stores or that it still doesn’t give a damn. This is a viable business model, and Walmart is still doing its best to make sure that the idea dies in the cradle.

It’s almost enough to make you think it’s intentional, isn’t it?

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Chuck Dee October 27, 2018 um 5:54 pm

Or it could just be the Walmarts that you were frequenting. In my own Walmart (just had to take my daughter there today) there were readers and cards in the kiosk.

Randy Lea October 27, 2018 um 7:06 pm

Just a wild guess, but I’d think this might be explained by the store not getting credit for ebook sales, or maybe very much credit. I’ve seen a number of situations where a company’s management gets weird results because of incentives.

Barry Marks October 27, 2018 um 7:59 pm

My local Walmart store has a kiosk for laptops and a few months ago someone stole all the display units locked down on the kiosk. They apparently just walked in with some battery operated power tools, waited till all the clerks were busy, possibly because they had someone there to distract the clerks, and walked out with half a dozen laptops. It’s a small store and a small display.

Since then they got a new kiosk, the old one was damaged, but until very recently they didn’t put any laptops on display. They had plenty of them locked up and they did put down cards telling what they had, but no laptops.

About 2 weeks ago they finally started putting them on display again, probably because of the approaching holidays. I do know that not putting them out earlier was the result of a decision made by the manager.

My guess is that after the holiday season they’ll de-populate the displays.

I don’t know that that’s why your store didn’t have ereaders on display. I doubt that fear could account for the lack of cards. But maybe they’ve recently had a rash of theft and they’re being careful.


DaveMich October 28, 2018 um 5:43 pm

Kobo really screwed the pooch here. Indigo can’t sell Kobo in the US because of that exclusive contract with WalMart.

Amazon has a store at Garden State mall. Indigo has the store at Short Hills mall. One thing these malls share in common is an Apple store, a solid indicator that the malls in question cater to taste and money.

Taste and money is not something you associate with Walmart. Contrast those WalMart displays with pictures from Indigo’s store in Short Hills. Kobo should be in the Indigo store, perhaps with engaged employees and something a bit classier than pegboard backing.

Utter fail, coming and going.

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