Inkling makes its Google-friendly digital publishing tools free to everyone

Inkling Habitat - A Digital Publishing Platform To Rival Amazon

Inkling has spent three years and $30 million to build Inkling Habitat, a cloud-based set of digital publishing tools that let users create and collaborate on high-quality, interactive ebooks. Last year, the San Francisco-based startup opened the platform up to a few publishers. Starting Tuesday, it is available to anybody for free and includes the Google search integration that Inkling launched in January.

In Inkling Habitat, the company's founder and CEO, Matt MacInnis, sees an opportunity to take the digital reading revolution beyond Amazon and Kindle. He believes Amazon is totally reliant on text-based titles that make up only a fraction of the total book publishing market, and calls Apple's iBooks Author -- free software that's supposed to let anyone create interactive ebooks for the iBookstore -- a flop. "Our message to the industry is that the first bit of digital publishing was great," he told me, "but the real stuff is just beginning." It's early days for Inkling, which has only 400 titles in its store so far compared to Amazon's millions of Kindle titles. But MacInnis is convinced that the next step is illustrated: Textbooks, travel guides, cookbooks, how-to books, and so on. And it's this area, he believes, where Inkling -- not Amazon -- will dominate.

Inkling Habitat - looks very promising!