January 23, 2015

Publish an electronic textbook on literally any subject, no matter how little you know about it, with Kindle’s textbook program


Forget chemistry! You can make up any subject you like.

Forget chemistry! You can make up any subject you like.

Publish or perish, amiright?

Yesterday Amazon introduced a new program that will help academics get around the pesky thought of placing work with a publisher. Get ready for self-published textbooks.

Kindle Direct Publishing EU is meant to give teachers a way to share textbooks through the Kindle app. Yes, it still has the awful terms of Kindle Direct Publishing. But now it’s available to professors!

It’s also a serious pricing issue! Kindle Direct Publishing gives favorable royalty terms as long as you cooperate with their ideal pricing, which means your books have to be less than $9.99. Are textbooks usually this cheap? Of course not, textbooks are huge and expensive to print.

This is a move to compete with iBooks Author, as Laura Hazard Owen points out at Gigaom. It also means you can just make up anything you want to teach a course about. If you can type it, you can teach it.

Would you like to write nonsense that is available to students across the globe? By all means! Your students can highlight or even make flashcards out of anything you’d like to teach.

Amazon does not include any letters of recommendation for tenure when you publish with this service, but in coming years, who knows? Maybe they can work out an algorithm. They’re going to have to offer incentives for educators to use this service.


Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.