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Amazon has unveiled a new program designed to help educational establishments and authors produce ebooks for students.

With KDP EDU and the Kindle Textbook Creator, Amazon is expanding its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) initiative to the teaching realm, letting lecturers or teachers turn PDFs of course materials and textbooks into Kindle books, which can then be accessed via tablets, phones, and PCs.

The new formatted books can then be uploaded to KDP for global consumption, and the final product will be more useful than a plain old PDF. The tool enables features such as flashcards, note-taking, and highlighting, with users able to highlight words or paragraphs to revisit later, “cut” segments out to a separate notebook, or annotate with context.

The Kindle Textbook Creator tool is currently in open beta, and constitutes part of the broader KDP EDU program. It’s also the latest “genre” to hit KDP, with the likes of “Comics & Graphic Novels” and “Teens & Young Adults” having their own dedicated portals.

The tool is available as a download for Macs and PCs and is designed for content that is rich with graphics such as charts, graphics, and equations. If a textbook is primarily based on text, Amazon recommends bypassing this tool and uploading through the main KDP conduit.

This isn’t the first time Amazon has introduced such a tool for kids. Back in September, it launched KDP Kids and the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator, aimed at helping children’s authors distribute ebooks, with a focus on illustrated titles with interactive features.

While these features do add some value for educators and authors wishing to distribute less-bland textbooks digitally, Amazon’s ultimate goal here is to lure more people into the Amazon ecosystem, where it can get a slice of any sales made through self-published books.

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