Originally posted on the Center for Teaching Excellence Blog
Amazon already makes self-publishing a straightforward process for everyone who wants to publish e-books to the Kindle platform. Now Amazon aims to make the self-publishing process even easier for educators. With the release of the Kindle Textbook Creator (still in beta), instructors can take prepared, PDF materials and make a digital textbook suitable for the ubiquitous Kindle platform.
But which educators is this tool best for? The Kindle Textbook Creator is best suited for instructors who have PDF versions of course materials they own the rights to, and/or from open educational resources used in their classes. For example, educators who have modified or combined copyright free materials, can use the Kindle Textbook Creator to curate their resources into an all-inclusive course textbook to be distributed freely on the Kindle platform for the benefit of students around the world.
I encourage you to download and explore the Kindle Textbook Creator software. Especially if you already have PDF course materials suitable for distribution on the Kindle store. But, before you experiment with this tool, here are a few of the Kindle Textbook Creator’s greatest advantages and shortcomings to consider:
Three greatest advantages:
•The Kindle Textbook Creator is a simple program to use.
•Kindle e-books can be read on (essentially) every device, including Mac and Windows computers, Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones and tablets, & Kindle e-readers.
•It is possible to preview and export final versions of Kindle e-textbook files (.kpf) to be uploaded to the Kindle store.
Three greatest shortcomings:
•There are no editing options in the Kindle Textbook Creator software other than altering the page order of the imported PDF files.
•The Kindle e-book file format, .kpf, cannot be selectively distributed to devices. Students can only obtain finished Kindle e-textbooks after being published on the Kindle store.
•Only text, images, and graphics can be included in Kindle e-books; there are no options for including videos or interactive elements such as quizzes, etc.
Since the release of the iBooks Author tool, it has been possible for instructors to add interactive elements, such as videos and quizzes, directly into their electronic textbooks without requisite knowledge of computer programming. I expect we will see similar functionality with the Kindle Textbook Creator in the future. For now, the Kindle Textbook Creator gives educators a chance to conveniently distribute their materials to their own students and other keen learners across the globe.
Interested in the Kindle Textbook Creator? Need additional resources? Here is a great place to start: