amazon-classroom-whispercast_thumb.jpgNate has an intriguing bit of gossip which suggests that Amazon may be launching an education-themed portal. He has a good little round-up of what we know and don’t know about this—the title is likely ‘Amazon Inspire’ but beyond that, little detail is available.

I found a few other news articles and blog posts which discussed this rumour. Most of them treat this news as if Amazon is doing something revolutionary. But of course, that’s not true. There already is a market leader in the teacher self-publishing business, and as I said last week they are the only market I’m in which, so far, has actually paid me money. I would hate for them to get swallowed up by Amazon.

There is the potential for this to be a bust, of course. I don’t know any teacher who uses the Apple textbook publishing software. But I know a ton of them who use Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT). One of its genius aspects is that every teacher who sells must offer at least one sample product for free. This means that there is always a ton of new, fresh—and free—content to draw people over to the site. And when it does come to paying, I know some schools (like mine) will reimburse teachers for money they spend. There is no incentive not to buy.

Another feature I love about TpT is that you can sell product in any file format you choose, including printable PDF, and ZIP files. Most of my offerings are several PDFs bundled together—a story booklet, a worksheet bundle, and a teaching guide. It would be hard to convert such a bundle into the Kindle format. You need to be able to print.

And, sad to say, many teachers are not as techie as they should be. I can’t see most of my colleagues converting to special formats or going through any hoops to prepare their stuff specially. If they can’t upload their PDFs, they won’t do it.

So, we’ll see. Maybe this is happening, many it’s not. Maybe it will be a bust, or maybe it won’t. Time will tell.

Publisher’s note: I accidentally hit the “Publish” button ahead of time, and this post was online briefly with the wrong byline. Sorry, Joanna. – D.R.

Photo credit: Amazon.


  1. Interesting. Please tell us more about Teachers Pay Teachers including:

    1. They seem big on PDFs, which I assume are printed out. The other two formats I know nothing about. Are they worth doing? Do they accept any reflowable formats suitable for tablets and smartphones? PDFs are easy for me. Everything I have includes a PDF. But I hate to leave out kids who’re rather read on a device.

    2. What is their copying policy? Can a teacher who buys an item then make copies for all her students? The emphasis seems to be on lesson plans, but I assume stories can go along with that and be copied for students.

    3. How friendly are they to authors who don’t teach school if the topics are relevant to schools? And what if the material comes without lesson plans etc. I have some great content I could offer, but I wouldn’t know a lesson plan from peanut butter sandwich.

    4. What are the complications with publishing through TPT and through the usual book channels at the same time? In particular, is Amazon likely to get uptight about pricing?

    You get the point. Tell us more of the ins and outs of TPT, particularly in comparison to regular publishing.


    I agree with your skepticism about Amazon entering the market. TPT seems to be run by teachers for teachers. I can’t imagine Amazon not wanting to add a long list of additional terms, including perhaps exclusivity.

    The best way to prevent Amazon from shoving TPT aside is to probably be so well-known and well-liked among teachers that Amazon has no appeal AND to make sure there’s no way Amazon can buy out TPT. Amazon has a long history of buying out potential competitors.

    –Mike Perry

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