How to Sell eBooks at Walmart

blogicon

1106 Design

August 29, 2018

Walmart launched its eBook sales platform on August 22 in partnership with Kobo (more properly known as Rakuten Kobo), going head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle. While Walmart has sold the Kobo eReader for years, it is now making available Kobo’s library of eBooks for individual sale, along with an option to subscribe to audiobooks. Books purchased from Kobo can be read on their branded eReader and also through the Kobo Books app, which can be downloaded on any smartphone or other device.

Walmart’s eBook page can be found here. When you click on a book for more information, you are taken to a Walmart-branded Kobo website. Books deals are on offer, along with a selection of free books.

Of course, Walmart getting into the eBook game means a whole new market for self-published authors, who have always had unfettered access to uploading their eBooks to Kobo and now, by default, also have unfettered access to everyone who shops at Walmart (which is, pretty much, everybody).

Having read the above paragraph, you might be forgiven for opening a new tab in your browser and googling “how to sell eBooks at Walmart.”

Well, I’ll one-up you.

Go to Walmart’s eBook page and do a query on your eBook title. If you have previously uploaded your eBook to IngramSpark and elected to distribute it anywhere in the world, your eBook is already on Kobo and is now available to Walmart eBook customers as well.

If your eBook is not on Kobo yet, you can of course, upload your eBook directly to Kobo. The process does not appear any easier or more difficult than uploading to IngramSpark or KDP. Files must still be in the correct format and Kobo will reject files that are not. It’s best to have a professional prepare your eBook files for you to ensure they are right the first time.

If you have previously uploaded your eBook to IngramSpark, making your eBook available on Kobo, is there any benefit to republishing your book yourself on the Kobo platform? According to Kobo, “When you publish with Kobo Writing Life directly, you do have more control over book price and promotion.”  On Kobo, you can set a sale price or do an eBook giveaway. On IngramSpark, you can set a new price at any time, but the price is applicable across all retailers. More information about publishing directly to Kobo can be found here.

Sounds great, right? There is one big downside: if you publish your eBook directly to Kobo and it previously was published on IngramSpark, you must take the eBook down from IngramSpark. If you delete your eBook from IngramSpark, your eBook is no longer available for sale on ANY of the online retailers or brick-and-mortar stores or libraries that use IngramSpark.

Thus, your choices are as follows:

  • List your eBook yourself on Kobo so that you can hold promotions. Delete your book from IngramSpark (or don’t publish it there in the first place). Go to other bookseller websites such as Barnes & Noble and apply to sell your book on their sites.
  • Publish your eBook on IngramSpark and automatically make it available to Walmart customers along with the other online book retailer websites. Get sales reports from one handy dashboard.

Note that we are only talking about eBooks here. These rules do not apply to paperback or hardcover books. Currently, expanded distribution on IngramSpark does not include distribution of paperbacks and hardcover books to Walmart.

Bottom line, Amazon may soon have some real competition from Walmart for eBook sales. The idea of being able to promote more aggressively on Kobo to Walmart eBook customers using reduced pricing and book giveaways sounds appealing. However, the actual marketing of the book still comes down to the author, and if you’re going to reduce the book price or have a giveaway, you still need to publicize the book. You can still have a sale on Kobo if you reduce the eBook price on IngramSpark, but your price would be reduced on all retail outlets including Kobo. That’s actually a good thing because people can buy your eBook using their retailer of choice.

Anyhow, six of one,half dozen of the other as they say. Choices are always good.


Get your eBook ready for upload to IngramSpark, Kobo, KDP or for sales through your website. Contact us to discuss eBook formatting.

You may like these

How to Illustrate Your Book

How to Illustrate Your Book

Illustrations have the power to bring books to life in ways that words alone cannot. Illustrations can be incorporated into any work. You might see them most often in children’s books and graphic novels, but they can also be utilized in other genres. Not all books...

read more
How to Design a Great Front Cover

How to Design a Great Front Cover

Potential readers will often first judge your book by the front cover, whether you display it online or in bookstores. The more eye-catching it is, the more likely people are to want to learn more about it and possibly buy it. Of course, you probably already know...

read more
Guest Post: Juan Marcos Tribute to John I. Unger

Guest Post: Juan Marcos Tribute to John I. Unger

In February of 2019, I had the privilege of publishing a book (with the help of the team at 1106 Design) about John I. Unger called, The Last Corpsman. John was a Navy corpsman who served in the Pacific during WWII and later in the Korean War. He volunteered to go to...

Print-on-Demand vs. Offset Printing

Print-on-Demand vs. Offset Printing

It’s natural to want to jump right into publishing. However, there are many steps to complete before your book can be printed. After writing your book, it’ll be time to edit, design, and proofread the interior and create your cover (front, spine, and back). You’ll...

How to Market a Children’s Book

How to Market a Children’s Book

How to market a children’s book will depend on several factors, including your method of publishing, your targeted age group, your genre, and your budget. There are many methods you can use to get your book in front of your audience, but not all of them may be right...