Walmart Now Charging More for eBook Gift Cards Than They’re Worth

Walmart eBook Gift Card

Here’s yet another example of how the Walmart Kobo partnership has gotten off to a questionable start. To begin with the in-store Kobo displays turned out to be a joke. Walmart only stocked the entry-level model in a few stores and they haven’t had any of the higher up models on display at all.

Then at one point Walmart was selling Kobo’s ebook readers above retail price online, and now they’re charging more for Kobo ebook gift cards than the face value is worth.

Walmart is currently selling $50 ebook gift cards for $58.50, $25 gift cards for $30, and $10 ebook gift cards for $12.

That makes no sense on any level. The gift cards can only be used to buy ebooks and audiobooks from Kobo, which anybody can do online directly from Kobo, so there’s absolutely no reason to pay more than the value of the gift card.

Walmart is also overcharging for audiobook subscription cards.

They want you to give them $71.93 for 6-months and $139.49 for 12 months despite the fact that Kobo’s audiobook subscription rate is only $9.99 per month. Apparently Walmart wants to pocket some extra cash just for email delivery of the gift card. Kobo handles everything else on their website so Walmart isn’t even really doing anything.

It’s hard to see how the Kobo Walmart partnership is going to work when things like this keep happening. It was bad enough when Walmart posted a bunch of fake reviews on their website for Kobo’s ebook readers, and now charging extra for gift cards is just another sign that things are going in the wrong direction.

6 Responses to “Walmart Now Charging More for eBook Gift Cards Than They’re Worth”

  1. What a crazy partnership. I was actually eager to “hands on” a large Kobo when the partnership was announced. It would have been fine if a percentage of the stores had the whole line up.
    What did Kobo gain?

    • Same here. I had not been in a Walmart store in maybe 8 or 9 years before hearing they were going to carry Kobo readers. I was really excited to play with a Kobo Forma in person, but was pretty bummed to see my local Walmart’s pitiful Kobo display of non-working low end readers. I had high hopes for Kobo, but I feel like they got a bad deal with Walmart.

  2. I just checked the link in the post. When I put it in my cart, the price comes up $50 for a $50 card. But then they charge sales tax, so the final price is $53.25 for my zip code. They do not change sales tax on a regular store (general merchandise) gift card. Perhaps this is a flaw in their system. I would think that because on the receipt the $3.25 is specifically designated as sales tax the WalMart would be in big trouble if it was discovered that they were keeping this money and not forwarding it to the local governments involved.

    Doing this check was “free”, I have no plans to go to my local WalMart to see if the same thing happens in the store.

    • Funny thing is they changed the prices back to normal. Somebody must be paying attention to this blog or it was just a weird coincidence.

      • They are still charging sales tax though. This means you will pay sales tax twice for any book you buy with these gift cards. Unless they are able to keep track of the fact that you are using a gift card you already paid sales tax on.

  3. If they are trying to compete with Amazon, they are doing it wrong. The whole thing looks like it’s being run by someone who either doesn’t understand the ebook business, or actually hates it. Either way, Amazon doesn’t have anything to worry about at the moment.