Walmart Challenges Amazon with E-Book Move

Walmart Challenges Amazon with E-Book Move

Walmart Challenges Amazon with E-Book Move

The service, to be operated by Walmart's Japanese unit, Seiyu GK, and Rakuten, will be called "Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper".

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (WMT) battle to claw back customers from Amazon.com Inc.

Walmart and Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten today announced a wide-reaching strategic partnership created to push each other's products and services in Japan and the U.S.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has forged another alliance to counter Amazon.com Inc, partnering with Japan's Rakuten Inc to sell e-books in the U.S. and improve its online grocery business in the Asian nation.

Beginning in the second half of the year, the service will offer groceries such as fresh produce; a "convenient lineup" of goods like cut vegetables, partially-prepared foods, and meal kits; and popular local gourmet products from merchants on the Rakuten Ichiba marketplace, Walmart said.

"Rakuten is a strong ecommerce business and we're excited to collaborate with the top online shopping destination in Japan", noted Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon in a press release. Working with Rakuten Kobo enables us to quickly and efficiently launch a full eBook and audiobook catalog on Walmart.com to provide our customers with additional choices alongside our assortment of physical books.

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"We look forward to expanding our grocery footprint in Japan and launching a new offering of e-books and audiobooks for our customers in the U.S.".

As well as customers using Rakuten's system to make online grocery orders, Walmart will begin selling Kobo eReaders, eBooks and audiobooks through its stores. While Rakuten has the chance to grow Kobo's relatively small United States footprint, Walmart has a better chance of challenging Amazon with this partnership than if the retail giant had attempted to enter the digital book space on its own.

The global businesses of Rakuten include the USA and Europe. The partnership will include opening a combined e-commerce fulfillment center in the Tokyo area to deliver groceries to a wider area.

"The ebook and audiobook offering will be fully integrated into the Walmart online shopping experience, and customers will be able to buy these versions as well as the physical book while shopping for their favorite titles", said Walmart's chief revenue officer Scott Hilton.

In the U.S., Walmart will sell Rakuten's Kobo e-readers, which are similar to Amazon's Kindle. "I'm not sure how Kobo will fare in the U.S.", Sato said.

For Rakuten, it's going to significantly increase sales of Kobo hardware in the US.

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