Walmart will start selling ereaders, ebooks, and audiobooks through a partnership with Rakuten, Japan's biggest e-commerce company.
Walmart eBooks is launching Wednesday. To celebrate the launch, Walmart is giving customers $10 off their first ebook or audiobook.
Amazon currently commands 83% of the ebook market in the United States.
Walmart is taking direct aim at Amazon's Kindle business by selling ebooks, audiobooks, and ereaders for the first time.
The company's new ebooks business, called Walmart eBooks, is launching on Wednesday in partnership with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.
The new offering will give Walmart shoppers access to ereaders made by Kobo, a division of Rakuten, in stores and online at Walmart.com. Kobo is one of Amazon Kindle's biggest competitors.
Walmart will also offer customers access to Kobo's vast library of nearly six million titles from more than 30,000 publishers.
Customers will be able to access the ebooks and audiobooks through Walmart.com and through a co-branded Walmart-Kobo app that will be available on smartphones, desktop computers, and Kobo's ereaders. They will also be able to subscribe to a new Walmart audiobook service for $9.99 per month, which includes one audiobook per month.
The partnership will give Walmart access to the massive ebook market, which is largely dominated by Amazon. Amazon is responsible for roughly 83% of all ebook sales in the US, according to a report by Author Earnings. Kobo, by comparison, commands just 0.3% of the US ebook market.
Kobo's ereaders range in price from $99 to $279. One of the company's most popular ereaders, called the Aura One, is waterproof and has a slightly larger screen than its Kindle-branded counterpart, the Kindle Oasis. The Aura One also has a blue-light filter to help minimize the amount of blue light the screen emits. (Studies say that blue light disturbs sleep cycles).
"Walmart eBooks will complement our vast physical book assortment and offer customers a comprehensive digital book solution, introducing an entirely new category that hasn't been previously available at Walmart," Mario Pacini, general manager of entertainment for Walmart.com, wrote in a blog post on the new partnership.
To celebrate the launch, Walmart is giving customers $10 off their first ebook or audiobook.