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Walmart takes on Amazon & Apple with iPhone ebook store launch

Walmart is taking on Amazon by entering the ebook market, launching Walmart eBooks with access to a catalog of more than 6 million digital books, as well as a $9.99 monthly subscription providing audiobooks.

The new Walmart eBooks service effectively builds upon Rakuen's existing Kobo service, including its extensive ebook library that includes best-sellers, indie titles, and children's books. The service is accessible via an iOS app, as well as for Android, along with Kobo eReaders.

Walmart is offering a number of Kobo eReaders in its online store from today, but will start selling the Kobo Aura in 1,000 physical locations later this week.

Shoppers will also be able to acquire digital book cards from 3,500 Walmart locations, which will roll out to stores this week. The cards can be redeemed against nearly 40 ebooks, with titles ranging from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle to Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse-Tyson.

The service will also provide audiobooks, including a subscription option that provides one audiobook per month for $9.99, undercutting Amazon's similar Audible subscription. Customers are being offered a free 30-day trial for the subscription.

For the launch of the ebook store, Walmart is offering first-time customers signing up $10 off their first eBook or audiobook purchase.