Apple first released its iBooks Author Mac app for creating interactive textbooks for the iBooks Store back in 2012, and now Amazon is delivering its own textbook composing Mac app for publishing to the Kindle Store. Kindle Textbook Creator, announced today, is available in beta for both Mac and PC with the competitive benefit of publishing to the cross-platform Kindle Store, which is available on iOS, Mac, Android, and more.

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The new Kindle Textbook Creator app is part of Amazon’s new KDP EDU program, which is a part of its Kindle Direct Publishing effort. Specifically, the Kindle Textbook Creator public beta allows educators to upload PDFs of ebooks to the Kindle Direct Publishing system creating Kindle ebooks for distributing and enhancing with flashcards, highlighting, and note-taking features. Amazon explains the benefits of Kindle Textbook Creator produced books:

  • 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.

The Kindle Direct Publishing program also allows authors to earn revenue (up to 70%) from distributed books without losing rights to the content, and the Kindle Direct Publishing Select arm of the program allows for more marketing options like “Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and access to marketing tools like Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions.”

News of Amazon’s entry into making textbook creation from the Mac to the Kindle Store easier comes a week after Apple revealed its gaining 1 million new users a week since bundling the iBooks app on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 8.

The Kindle Textbook Creator beta for Mac (and PC) is available for free from Amazon.

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