For the past three years, Apple has had a free Mac app - iBooks Author - available for creating textbooks compatible with the company's iBooks app. Today, Amazon announced a beta version of Kindle Textbook Creator, designed to let educators and authors create Kindle books from existing materials and immediately make them available on the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform.
While Kindle Textbook Creator can be used to create any type of book for reading on iPad, iPhone, Fire tablets, Android, Mac and PC, it's definitely targeted at educators. According to Amazon's press release, some of the features provided in books created with Kindle Textbook Creator include:
- Multi-Color Highlighting-Highlight and categorize key concepts for easy reference.
- Notebook-Capture key passages, images and bookmarks and automatically add them to the notebook. Students can add their own notes and easily access them from one location.
- Flashcards-Create flashcards and study important terms, concepts, and definitions in each chapter with a simple, easy-to-use interface.
- Dictionary-Find definitions and Wikipedia information for difficult terms to improve retention.
- Buy Once, Read Everywhere-Read eTextbooks on the most popular devices students use, including Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android tablets and smartphones, Mac, and PC.
A full FAQ on Kindle Textbook Creator is found here.
It may be time for Apple to step back up to the plate with a newer version of the iBooks Author tool. The company recently reported that since it has bundled the iBookstore with OS X Yosemite, it's been adding about one million new users per week.
Update: TidBITS co-founder and senior editor Tonya Engst pointed out via Twitter that books created by Kindle Textbook Creator may only be given away for free outside Amazon, but not sold. Similar conditions apply to iBooks Author.