Amazon has announced a new tool for its Kindle Direct Publishing authors offered to educators and academic institutions for preparing electronic textbooks. The textbooks can be published on Fire tablets, Android devices, iPhones, iPad, Mac and PCs.
It is similar to iBooks Author used for Apple and iTunes U, but this textbook creator uses PDFs of existing texts and includes digital features for Kindle users. Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch says the Kindle Textbook Creator is fast and works alongside the legacy textbook publishing industry. On the other hand, iBooks Author is designed to encourage educators to build original digital experiences.
A few of the Amazon authoring tool's features include multi-color highlighting for readers, built-in notebooks, flashcards, dictionaries, and multi-platform support.
The PDF version of documents can be translated into a format that can work on any reader. Authors can earn up to 70% in royalties and can also keep the rights related to their content. The Kindle Textbook Creator is fairly simple currently, but Amazon intends to add features and continue to build its relationship with an education publishing industry that is encouraging educational professionals and authors to self-publish.
In spite of the fact that electronic textbooks have not, as of yet, become mainstream, the Kindle Textbook Creator has the potential to bring absorbing learning to the masses at a lower cost, says Steve Dent of Engadget. The free app is designed to allow educators to upgrade existing e-textbooks, rather than creating new books, unlike Apple's iBooks Author. The app is now available in Beta, but only for English texts.
On the product's website, Amazon explains that the new Kindle Textbook Creator will help an educator convert PDFs, course notes, study guides, and other educational content into Kindle books. The content can include complex visual information like charts, graphs, and equations. Amazon also points out that the books written may be published through KDP and will have the possibility of reaching students worldwide using a variety of devices.
Elsewhere on the site, several KDP users share the success they have derived from KDP. Armando Fox and David Patterson, co-authors of Engineering Software as a Service, discussed the difficulty they had creating and publishing eBooks. Their field was one which changed rapidly, SaaS, so they needed quick turnaround for revisions and the ability to make minor changes and have the updates on sale within 24 hours. They agree that KDP has allowed them to reach even more students, keep the price of their product low, print books with Kindle MatchBook, and have a global reach.
Richard Corn, author of the Ultimate Guide to Math ACT, says he collected the mini-lessons he had written concerning the subjects with which his students were struggling, and found they were so well-received that he collected them together to form a book. Corn says that Kindle "is the future for educational content and the future is here."
Linguist Scott Shay, who from an early age had the idea of writing books on language and linguistics, today is doing so in the form of his iRef Guides. Kindle Direct Publishing, he says, with its added features, makes it easy for students to use his reference guides on-the-go. He adds, "KDP makes publishing, marketing,and distributing so simple, which means I can focus on writing."