Lovely Granta, who publish Indonesia Etc. in the UK, Australia and many Commonwealth countries, have generously agreed to try a new experiment: they are making the e-book available for next to nothing to people who have already bought the hardback.
If you own a smartphone and physical copy of Indonesia Etc that has the cover pictured above, you can claim a copy of the plain ebook for just 99 cents (less than 70p). Here’s how it works:
1) on your smartphone, download a free app called BitLit (Android and Apple versions available)
2) With your smartphone, take a photo of the whole cover of the book.
3) Write your full name in capital letters on the COPYRIGHT page of the book (opposite the dedication page, where it has the details of ISBN etc.)
4) Take a photo of the copyright page.
Your Google Play/iTunes account will be charged 99c, and the folk at BitLit will send a link to both ePub (iBooks, Kobo etc) and .mobi (Kindle) versions to the e-mail account associated with your downloads. Bitlit have provided nice, clear, visual instructions to help. The whole process took me less than three minutes.
Why is Granta doing this? Why would any publisher, in these difficult times, give something away so cheaply? Because they are willing to experiment with new ways of making their readers happy. I hope this bundling will make many people happy because I think a lot of readers are like me: hungry for good books, but a bit skint, and forced to make choices. I love the look and feel of a well-produced book (and Granta’s edition of Indonesia Etc., with its gorgeous cover by Rod Hunt and its lovely fold-out map, is definitely well-produced). But I also like to read on the move, to carry non-fiction books with me for reference, and to search books electronically. That, and the cheaper price, often tips me towards the electronic version; I’ve never once been able to afford both.
BitLit’s technology and Granta’s generousity have removed the dilemma in territories where you are allowed to buy their edition. Granta are doing this as an experiment, so if you think it’s a good idea (and if you’d like to see them do this with other books, past and future) email Granta to thank them for trying it out with Indonesia Etc., and to make your suggestions.
Happy Id-ul-Fitri, dan selamat membaca.