Indonesia Etc. enhanced eBook is out now!

Indonesia is one of the most visually compelling countries in the world: blue flames leap out of the side of sulphurous volcanoes, scarlet blood splatters into the dust between megalithic tombstones, the silvery eye of a giant tuna fish reflects the shining sea.

In Indonesia Etc: Exploring the Improbable Nation, I have tried to capture this kaleidoscope land in black ink on white paper. But technology now provides us with a new world, a world where a writer’s words can leap out of the book in the form of videos, slideshows and photos, a world where you can actually listen to those priests chanting in the moonlight.

I thought I’d try and take advantage of the possibilities of the electronic book by creating an enhanced edition of Indonesia Etc. with material that I collected on my travels. It contains a dozen videos, and rather more slide shows and still photos, as well as archival material and a bit if audio.

I was lucky enough to find two young men to help me with this dream. Gaetan Bernede, a student at Central St. Martins art school in London, helped devise a design in which the electronic elements would not ever get in the way of a damned good read. Then Darwin Lopena, a coding genius who doesn’t like the word “impossible” and regularly battles crap internet connections in the Philippines, dedicated many, many evenings and weekends to turning the design into a working book.

It’s taken longer than we planned, but it’s now ready to roll. There are 3 identical editions of the Enhanced eBook and they are sold depending on your geographical location.

If you are somewhere that Lontar can sell its books: — Indonesia, Singapore, most of Asia or Western Europe [though not the UK] — or you’re in Latin America or Africa, you can buy the enhanced eBook here (but see point 3 below).

If you are in the US, Canada, Philippines or US Territories, and you are an iPad user with an iTunes account you can get the US version here. If you are using different hardware or do not have an iTunes account you can buy the Norton version here

If you are in the UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ or the Commonwealth, you can buy the Granta version here

There are a few things you should know before buying the enhanced eBook.

1) It is a VERY LARGE FILE, around 202 MB, and it can take a long time to download. You may want to plan on going for a coffee while you are waiting, and you may have to try more than once. Detailed instructions below.

2) This version WORKS BEST ON AN IPAD. The file is in ePub format, and it should also work on newer Kobos and Android tablets, as well as in computer-based e-Readers such as Calibre, which you can download for free here. However some elements may go squiffy on anything but an iPad. Videos will likely not be rendered in readers other than the iPad. Kindle requires a different file format and is not able to read embedded videos even when used on an iPad.

3) Elizabeth has made this file at her own expense. Because we are aware that there may be issues on different readers, we’ve priced it the same as the regular eBook, and we hope that the print publishers will do the same. We sincerely hope you’ll regard the enhancements as a bonus, and not be too upset if there are elements that don’t work perfectly on your device.

4) We APOLOGISE IN ADVANCE if things don’t work the way you expect. We’ve done out very best, but pioneers get arrows in their backs! If something disappoints, or if you have suggestions for changes or improvements, please let us know by emailing

5) The enhanced eBook has been a labour of love, but love doesn’t pay the rent. If you’d like to support our work, please consider sending us a donation of any amount. You can also use that link to meet the design team and learn more about their work. Thanks!

Download instructions

On an iPad running iOS or a Mac running Mavericks or higher: MAKE SURE YOU HAVE iBOOKS INSTALLED. If you don’t, download it here before you try to download the book.
If you buy from our Kagi store; there are various options.
1) Try connecting directly from your iPad. The better your internet connection, the more reliable this option is. Ideally, if you open your Kagi store receipt email and follow the link, the file will download to your iPad. It should then give you a “open in iBooks” option. Choosing that option will suck the book directly into your iBooks library.
2) On your desktop or laptop computer, open your Kagi store receipt email and follow the link. Save the file to your local hard drive. You can use any browser you like. You want to see a download figure of around 202 MB. Once it is downloaded to your hard drive, drag it in to the books section of your iTunes. Before you next sync your iPad, make sure that “Indonesia Etc.” is checked so that it will sync. This should load it on to your iPad.
3) If you are a Dropbox user, try saving to your Dropbox on your computer first. Then sync Dropbox on your iPad. You can then use the “Open in” option and choose iBooks.
4) If you are not using an iPad, just use the Kagi receipt email link and download the file locally. You can then transfer it to any device you like. Alternatively, you can download it directly to your internet connected reader and use your favourite eBook reading app. We like UBReader for Android and find it works nicely for the Nexus 7 tablet. As we noted above, however, videos do not play.

If it does not work first time, try again, preferably while you are not downloading anything else or otherwise using the internet. In rural Indonesia, I managed to download the book by leaving it running overnight. In urban Indonesia, I just went out and had some noodles, and when I came back, there it was. Please be patient, and if it doesn’t work after several attempts, let us know on We’ll do all we can to get it to you.
We also appreciate any feedback you have on the enhanced eBook. For us, it was a labour of love, but we know not everyone will love it and we welcome comments that will help us improve in the future.

1 Comment on "Indonesia Etc. enhanced eBook is out now!"

  1. howard hertz | October 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm |

    I bought the ebook on Kindle which does update many books with new editions but without additional charge. Do you know if Amazon intends to update the Kindle version of the book with the enhanced edition?

    Thanks…and thanks for writing such an insightful book on Indonesia.

    Howard Hertz

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