April 6, 2017 Last Updated 1:46 pm

Amazon launches beta version of Word conversion tool for eBooks: Kindle Create

An early test on the Pages file for a novel shows that the conversion is quick and accurate, with easy reformatting tools, but more complex digital books may still need better tools

The publisher of The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder, spotted the release of new software for eBooks from Amazon (the site focuses on digital books). So, I quickly downloaded the software to check it out.

The problem I have with eBook projects I am generally involved with is that they are often first created using iBooks Author, and feature tons of graphics, video, etc. To date no one has really addressed the issue of converting these kinds of interactive books for distribution through Amazon, including Apple. In fact, the one Adobe Max event I attended was so disappointing on this front. The company had been promoting its InDesign solution, and included a series of sessions on it. but speakers had to admit that InDesign was still nowhere when it came to being useful for converting interactive books for Amazon’s ecosystem.

So, Kindle Create, which will convert your Word formatted document (Mac or PC) for the Kindle is not going to revolutionize eBooks. But if you are writing fiction, or simple non-fiction, and use either Word or Pages, this will prove to be a useful tool.

I tested Kindle Creator using the one book TNM has published that would be appropriate for the software: The Drillmaster, the novel by William Pomeroy. The novel by the late journalist was published first through Amazon’s CreateSpace to produce a paperback, and then through Kindle Direct Publishing to create the Kindle Edition.

To be honest, it was not very hard to create the Kindle edition. Using Pages, I went through several formatting versions, then submitted the file to Amazon. As the book was published a few years ago, it is hard to remember if I felt the process was difficult. I seem to remember it being pretty easy, but I noticed today that I havea number of versions of my document on my hard drive, signifying going through many revisions. Hmmm, maybe Kindle Create would have made it easier.

In any case, I took my final Pages document, saved as a .doc file (Word) and imported it into Kindle Create.

The document quickly imported and was formatted almost perfectly (though admittedly this was a very simply file). I only reformatted two headers because I felt them way too big, but that was it.

Was it an easy conversion because my final Pages file was so clean? Hard to tell. But Kindle Create seemed to do its job.

The software is pretty heft, 525.9 MB on my Mac. That compares to the application next to it, Kindle Textbook Creator, which weighs in at only 83.4 MB.

One early complaint is that the software does not create a .mobi file, so that those comfortable editing the html will not be able to do so. And like other software packages created, some will be concerned whether Amazon will keep the software up-to-date with frequent updates – Apple certainly does little to improve and update iBooks Author, which still is of limited use because it forces one to create separate versions depending on the device or platform.

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