By Hannah Johnson
Amazon announced on Thursday the launch of a new division of Kindle Direct Publishing called KDP EDU. This launch includes the Kindle Textbook Creator platform which enables users to create and publish digital textbooks.
The platform is “designed to help educators and authors easily prepare, publish, and promote eTextbooks and other educational content for students to access on a broad range of devices, including Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphones and tablets, Mac, and PC.”
The beta version of Kindle Textbook Creator allows authors to upload PDFs and add interactive features like highlighting, note-taking, flashcards and dictionary access.
The launch of this new tool shows Amazon’s interest in the growing digital textbook market, and puts the Seattle retailer in competition with Apple’s iBooks Author tool, launched in 2012.
Authors and educators who use KDP EDU are subject to the royalty terms set out by Kindle Direct Publishing. According to the press release, “authors can earn royalties of up to 70%” and retain control of their rights.
But as Laura Hazard Owen at GigaOM points out, “Amazon KDP gives authors 70 percent of each sale of ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. For books priced higher or lower than that, the author just gets a 35 percent cut…this revenue structure could especially create problems for…textbooks, which often cost more than $9.99; plus, Apple gives authors a 70 percent split on all books sold through iBooks, no matter what they cost.”
Print still dominates the educational publishing market, according to research from PwC, which shows that ebooks make up 7% of global educational book sales in 2013. However, this number is predicted to increase to 14% by 2018. In the USA, PwC predicts that by 2018, ebooks will account for 43% of college book revenue.