Inkling, a San Francisco multimedia publishing venture that creates interactive textbooks for the iPad, has announced the debut of Inkling Habitat, an open platform professional authoring tool and software environment that enables publishers to create media-rich interactive content for the iPad and Web. The software will be unveiled today at the Tools for Change conference in New York City by Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis.

Inkling allows publishers to create interactive content with video, interactive quizzes, 3D models and more that can be easily published across a variety of formats and platforms and updated just as easily. Inkling Habitat will be available to a select group of Inking partners at launch and distributed more widely later in the year. The software is already being used by such digital vendors as Aptara and Innodata. Interested publishers can sign up for the Early Adopter program.

Inkling appears to be following Apple’s launch of iBooks 2 and iBooks Author, its new digital textbook format and easy-to-use authoring tool that also offers publishers a chance to more easily produce multimedia content. However, Apple’s iBooks Author is restricted to use only on the Apple platform. But Inkling claims that its Habitat authoring tool allows publishers to publish across platforms “with a click,” automatically customizing layouts for different devices. Inkling Habitat is based in the cloud and according to Inkling, the software allows publishers to have teams of authors, editors and production workers collaborate on projects online anywhere in the world.

“To reinvent the book, we had to reinvent the printing press,” said MacInnis. “It’s not about replicating the printed page on a screen. It’s about making a first-class interactive experience on every device you target, and this is the first time publishers can do it reliably and at scale.”