Sell More eBooks with Walmart

Did you know that Walmart is the third largest online shopping destination? According to Business Insider, only Amazon.com and Ebay.com have more online customer traffic than Walmart.

Some sources claim that Walmart is the second largest bookseller in the United States. To compete with Amazon, Walmart has teamed up with Rakuten Kobo to sell Kobo e-readers and ebooks. Walmart’s new service, Walmart eBooks by Rakuten Kobo, launched late last month.

According to Walmart’s website, the new Walmart eBooks brings customers:

  • Kobo’s library of more than six million titles – from New York Times best sellers to a wide variety of indie titles and children’s books.
  • A new monthly audiobook subscription – Customers will be able to subscribe to the audiobook service for $9.99 per month, which includes one audiobook per month.
  • The ability to purchase digital book cards in 3,500 Walmart stores
  • Access to Kobo’s eReaders online and in-store – Customers can choose from a variety of Kobo eReaders on Walmart.com. In 1,000 stores the Kobo Aura will be for sale.

All Walmart eBooks are accessible through co-branded (Walmart and Kobo) iOS and Android apps and on Kobo eReaders. Interestingly, Walmart.com receives more mobile traffic than Amazon.com; 64% of Walmart.com’s traffic is from mobile devices, while only 58% of Amazon’s traffic is mobile.

To mark the launch of the ebook partnership site, Walmart eBooks is offering first-time customers $10 off their first ebook or audiobook purchase. And consumers who sign up for the audiobook subscription will get their first 30 days for free.

What does this mean for you?

If your ebooks (and audiobooks) are not available for sale on Kobo, you will lose out on potential sales. Every author should make sure that his or her books are listed for sales on Kobo. This will ensure that your books are also listed for sale on Walmart eBooks.

There are a number of options for placing your ebooks on Kobo. Here are three:

  1. Self-publish your ebook directly to Kobo via their publishing platform (think KDP for Kobo).
  2. Upload your ebook to Smashwords and list it in their expanded catalog.
  3. Publish your ebook through Draft2Digital and use their ebook distribution service.

Don’t miss out on sales. Make sure that your ebook is available through Kobo so that it is available for sale on the new Walmart eBooks.

Related Posts:
Best Practices for Selling eBooks
What You Need to Know About Selling eBooks
Amazon King of Book Sales

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Do Your Homework!

In the era of self-publishing, publishing services for authors have sprung up everywhere. Amazon, the innovative giant that it is, saw an opportunity in the market for self-published ebooks. To capitalize on this opportunity, Amazon launched Kindle Direct Publishing.

Not to be left behind, Barnes & Noble followed Amazon and launched its own digital self-publishing platform, Nook Press. Then Kobo, desiring to remain competitive put into motion a digital self-publishing platform, Kobo Writing Life.

bam_publishing

Interestingly, a late comer has joined the fray. Books-A-Million has recently launched BAM! Publishing. This DIY platform goes beyond Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo. BAM! Publishing allows authors to create both print and digital books. In addition, they offer a wider sales distribution than just their own marketplace. Authors using the BAM! Publishing service can choose wider distribution to include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and others through their partnership with Ingram Digital Distribution Network.

You may be wondering if Books-A-Million is investing in printing equipment for this new service. Interestingly, they are not. BAM! Publishing will be offering print book services through Espresso Book Machines (EBM) located in a few of their physical stores. Authors ordering print books can choose to either go to a store with an EBM to pick up their copies or can have them shipped to them.

I find BAM! Publishing an interesting idea for Books-A-Million to capitalize on the Espresso Book Machines they have. However, BAM! Publishing is not inexpensive. After all, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo all allow you to upload a digital book and sell it on their site for free—no upfront cost to you. Not BAM! Publishing. If you would like to make an ebook available online through BAM! Publishing Marketplace and through the Books-A-Million website, the cost is $129. BAM! Publishing then pays a royalty rate of 80% of the Retail Markup amount for each ebook sold. The service is charging an even higher fee for wider ebook distribution (to Amazon, BN, etc.). This fee is $279 to have your ebook available in these channels for three years.

While Books-A-Million is trying to be innovative, I believe they may be pricing themselves out of the market. After all, savvy author and publisher understand that they can use Smashwords for free for a wide distribution of their ebooks, or they can choose to upload their books to the three major ebook sellers listed earlier via each’s self-publishing platform for free.

Additionally, those authors and publishers who have done their homework know that they can get their books listed for printing on any Espresso Book Machine for free via OnDemand Books’ ExpressNet SelfServe for U.S. Publishers. EspressNet SelfServe is the web-based interface that allows publishers to upload their titles directly to EspressNet, the proprietary software that connects the Espresso Book Machine (EBM) to a vast network of content, enabling EBMs to order and print books. Publishers uploading books through EspressNet receive a 25% royalty on the retail price of the book.

Just because a service is being offered does not mean it is competitive or worthwhile. Always do your homework. Book publishing and distribution does not need to be expensive. It can be very affordable if you take the time to learn the avenues available to you. Sadly, too often, authors seeking to see their book in publication jump on what they perceive to be the easiest route. However, often they end up spending more than they ever make back in book sales.

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