While e-books are everywhere, electronic textbooks never really caught on, despite their potential to bring immersive learning at a lower cost. Amazon is trying to change that with the Kindle Textbook Creator, a free app from its newly formed Kindle Direct Publishing EDU division (KDP EDU). It helps authors rapidly turn dry PDF files into more engaging e-textbooks for use on Android devices, desktop machines, iPhones, iPads, and of course, Kindle Fire tablets. As Techcrunch points out, the app is designed to help educators upgrade existing e-textbooks, rather than create brand new books like Apple's iBooks Author.
Once you've converted an e-book, it'll automatically have features like multi-color highlighting, text and image capture, memory aid flashcards, and Wikipedia/dictionary definitions. That's pretty basic functionality for now -- Apple's iBooks Author enables video and other rich content, for instance -- but Amazon said it will add more features down the road. Once educators have converted an e-textbook, they can publish it through Amazon's KDP and earn royalties up to 70 percent, while keeping full rights control. The books can also be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited or Amazon's Lending Library. If you'd like to give it a go, it's now available in beta (for English texts only).