I recently stumbled upon a display at Walmart advertising their ebook app/program. It is by Rakuten Kobo, I am not familiar with the company or their products.
The display could look more inviting, but it was interesting enough to catch my eye as I walked past. This was in the books/DVD section of Walmart, you might find it in the media section or maybe the front of the store.
What is this and what makes it different?
Basically, Kodo partnered with Walmart to create a free reading app, very similar to the Kindle app. You buy ebooks and audiobooks to enjoy through the app. The app itself is free but all content you pay for. There is free material to choose from.
The website, easily accessed from a desktop, looks 100% more appealing than the free book/opening screen of the app. The app shows free books with lusty covers and a few classics, I assume this refreshes at random. Whereas the webpage gives a more sophisticated vibe by displaying classics mixed in with contemporary reads. (Click here for the webpage).
How does it work?
- Make an account on the website.
- Download the app onto your tablet or phone.
- Log in and purchase or pick your ebooks/audiobooks.
- OR purchase your ebooks/audiobook in store, at Walmart, as redeemable codes.
How does this app/program differ from Amazon’s audible/kindle programs?
Honestly, I am partial to Amazon/Kindle. If not Kindle, I’d be reading on the Nook. This is a new service and it seems strange. I like the idea of being able to buy codes for books in person, but the overall price difference isn’t that much to make me want to join this community.
You can join the audiobook program for 3, 6, or 12 months. The price adjusts accordingly for each period, 12 months being the most pricey: $119.88. This is cheaper than Audible for a year, which is $178.80 if you are paying $14.95 a month. There are various deals to offset the cost of Audible if you are a prime member you probably get the same emails I do. I am still not a member of Audible if you are wondering.
After researching, there is not a lot of information, Walmart/Kodo does not offer a reading program similar to Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading. If they do develop a subscription plan that is similar to either, I think the Walmart/Kodo Ebook app will be extremely competitive with Amazon/Kindle.
The two significant differences that I have noticed:
- You can use the same app to read ebooks or listen to audiobooks.
- You can buy ebooks (singles and series) and audiobook subscriptions (3, 6, and 12 months) at Walmart.
Prices of ebooks above are the same price in the Kindle Store and not apart of Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading.
Is it worth investing in??
Walmart will start selling Kobo readers. Most retail stores sell smartphones, ipads, tablets, and Kindles–all of which you can read digital media on. BUT if Walmart is your community’s leading retailer, then this is the perfect service for you!! I see Walmart’s Ebook app being very successful in areas that have limited access to bookstores/new releases. If you live in an area similar to that, I recommend jumping into Walmart’s new reading world.
If you live in a community that is rich in literacy resources such as a library, bookstore, or a store that sells books among other books OR have a nook/kindle/amazon account you probably will not find this new reading service worthwhile.
I hate to be a negative Nancy, but I do not see anything impressive to sway me from my current reading habits (libraries, Kindle, used books, Daily Deals, free Ebooks). In the future, perks might be added that might change my mind but until then I will stick with Kindle.
Disclaimer: I am not familiar with Nook’s online store/programs to compare and couldn’t find much on Kobo.
Walmart released a short news piece on this launch. You can read it here.
If you are looking for reading apps every reader needs, check this out.
Have you seen a similar display in your local Walmart? Are you using the app? Do you have a Kobo reader? What are your thoughts about this new reading program?