Back in 2012, Apple introduced iBooks Author, a free program to let people create interactive iBooks that could incorporate text, graphics, audio, video, and HTML5 interactive images. The goal was to make e-book creation easy. While Apple largely succeeded, the main drawback of iBooks Author was that it created iBooks that could only run on the iBook app on the iPad and Macintosh.
Interactivity is the main feature that separates e-books from ordinary printed books, but just converting ordinary word processor documents to ePub format creates plain e-books that display static text and graphics just like a printed page. Since the future lies with interactivity, Amazon has followed Apple’s lead and created their own interactive e-book creation program.
Called the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool, this program runs on Windows and OS X. The main goal of this free program is to create e-books specifically designed for children’s books. That includes facing pages (so there’s enough room to display text and graphics) and the ability to display popup picture captions. That way kids can touch a picture and see additional text pop up in a window next to the picture.
Figure 1. Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool can design e-books that display facing pages.
Figure 2. Facing pages provides more text and graphics to appear at once.
You can create an e-book from scratch by typing text and inserting pictures. However, the program can also import PDF files and preserve most of the text formatting and graphic positioning next to text. By converting PDF files into Kindle format, the Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool lets you turn PDF files into Kindle e-books quickly and easily.
Figure 3. You can convert PDF files into Kindle e-books.
Although Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool is meant to create children’s e-books, there’s no reason you can’t use the program to create e-books for adults. With the program’s ability to popup text over images, you could create graphic novels, cookbooks, or how-to manuals. By exercising your imagination, you can create more interactive e-books.
Unlike iBooks Author, Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool can’t display video or interactive HTML5 graphics in an e-book, so if you want true interactivity, you’ll have to stick with iBooks Author. Despite this limitation, Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool is a great way to add minimal interactivity to separate e-books from traditional printed books.
Hopefully Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool will allow more sophisticated interactivity in the future, but if you’re interested in making the gradual transition from boring e-books that can only display static text and pictures to interactive e-books, Kindle Kids’ Book Creator Tool is a step in the right direction to reach the largest e-book buying market on the planet.