Test-drive the Indonesia Etc enhanced e-book (for free!)

Indonesia Etc ebook icon

The big, solid, heavy-in-the-hand, proud-on-the-bookshelf hardback version of Indonesia Etc will be out in less than a month in the UK and Asia, six weeks in the US. But I’ve spent the last few months working on something that I think is at least as exciting: an electronic version of the text, which also has embedded videos, photos, recordings and other things that I think help convey the sights, sounds and oddities of Indonesia. I recorded most of the material myself during the course of my various lives in Indonesia, though there are contributions from other, better photographers and artists.

“I” is not really correct. Two people, the wonderful designer Gaetan Bernede and the magician-coder Darwin Lopena have really made it happen. Since my publishers have contributed zero to the cost, these delightful artists have worked with patience, good humour and the promise of a little beer money to make this happen.

Now we want to share a taste of the e-book with you.

The world of e-readers is messy, and we’ve been trying to do something that all the guys in the tech zone at the London Book Fair told me couldn’t be done. So for now, this only works well on an iPad (sorry!). If you own or have access to an iPad, we’d like to offer you one chapter of the book for free, right now.

How to access Indonesia Etc — Chapter 3: Sticky Culture

First, make sure you have Apple’s free iBook App installed on your iPad. If you don’t, go get it from the iTunes Store

The link for the US store is here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibooks/id364709193
The link for the UK store is probably here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ibooks/id364709193
The link for the Indonesia store is probably here: https://itunes.apple.com/id/app/ibooks/id364709193

Now, in a browser on your iPad, click on this link:
http://bit.ly/indonesia-etc-enhanced-ebook-sample-chapter-aws (Amazon AWS public file)

WARNING: IT IS A VERY LARGE FILE (55 MB) SO IT MAY TAKE A WHILE TO DOWNLOAD. Some users have reported having to wait a while for the iPad to figure it out. It also seems to help if you are on a good solid connection.

If you do this in Safari or most other browsers, the “Open in iBooks” icon automatically appears. Otherwise, just tap on the “open in” button and choose iBooks from the list. The chapter will appear in your iBooks library. The “How to Read” section at the begining of the chapter gives more info about the various content.


We are getting some reports of people having trouble downloading the file. We are chasing the issue now. Some users report that letting the machine have a think about the download has worked.

If you do have trouble, please let us know. Tell us the version of iOS that is giving you trouble and which generation iPad you have. Sending us a screenshot of the issue is also useful.

Other places to download the file:

http://bit.ly/indonesia-etc-chapter-3-free-sample-google-drive (Google Drive public file)

http://bit.ly/Indonesia-etc-enhanced-e-book-chapter-3-free-sample (Dropbox public file)

We’re now finalising the whole book: we’d be very grateful for any feedback you may have about reading a book (chapter) in this way.

13 Comments on "Test-drive the Indonesia Etc enhanced e-book (for free!)"

  1. This was great, I found the E-book really helped me engage with Elizabeth’s narrative and certainly added another layer to the book. The audio snippets in particular were fascinating and to have first hand video footage shot by Elizabeth herself made the experience all the more genuine. Looking forward to seeing snippets in all the chapters.

  2. I’m eager to see your book, and I’ve read the sample chapter on an ipad. Congratulations! It looks terrific.

    This ipad was set up to use marvin instead of ibooks. I’m sure there is a reason the owner uses Marvin. Never mind. This is not so important, but the buttons to reach photos and other additional material are hard to use in that reader, the choice of security wonks.

    Notes on a typos sent separately.

  3. Not sure if I’m doing it wrong, but not able to download this on my iPad — even with the planet’s fastest Interwebz in Korea. Regardless of if I double click or copy and paste the link to my iPad browser, there is no obvious feedback that something is happening. It would be great if it said something like “”Chill bro, it is downloading to your Dropbox” or something like that, but there is no response

    Edit: This user later reported, in a different forum, that the iPad was eventually able to download the file. Apparently, the user left it alone for a while and when he came back it had succeeded.

    • Elizabeth Pisani | May 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm |

      Hmmm. Did you (after chilling…) go over to iBooks and see if by any chance it had shown up there? I’ll investigate a bit more…

  4. It’s fantastic! it downloaded to my iPad (in ibooks) instantly. (So instantly in fact that at first I wondered whether it had downloaded all the video/audio content. It might be worth alerting readers of this sample that it takes a few pages to get to the first one. Otherwise they might be thinking “eh, where’s the ‘enhanced’ bit?”) But then when they appear, they’re GREAT, particularly the video – really clear, great quality and very absorbing. The material really takes you to the heart of Indonesia. Mega-enhanced. Well done!

  5. It’s seems work on my iPad

  6. The trial chapter in on my e-bookshelf and I love what I am reading so far. Of course I jumped through first and checked out all the multimedia stuff which was cool, especially the video about the jousting and the clip of chanting.

  7. For some reason the sample refused to download on my Ipad, but I was keen to read, so I went the long way round – which might work for anyone else having similar difficulties:

    I downloaded it to my PC, and was able to open the file in Calibre, a free-to-download ebook management program with its own inbuilt reader. The video and audio extras won’t work in this, but you still get the photos with the lovely backgrounds. I’m not keen on reading for pleasure on a PC however, so I used Calibre to convert the file to the MOBI format, then saved it in Dropbox, went to my Ipad, and opened it from Dropbox there in the Kindle app! You only get the photos, diary and reference add-ons in that format, and without the background decoration, but still…

    It was worth the hassle anyway, as I enjoyed the chapter very much indeed, and am now aching to be back in that part of the world… Kampung Tarung, Kodi, the Pasola… I wonder if Elizabeth came across the strange, disturbing issue of “suangi” households in West Sumba villages – one of the darker elements of Sumba’s adat…

    I’m very keen to read about the next stage of the journey in Sabu too – the Island at the End of the Universe…

  8. The e-book is fantastic, fascinating, great reading, cannot wait to read more, more, MORE…

    A couple of comments (rambles) for your consideration:

    The media is FAB. Super enhancer. But I did find the placement a bit distracting in that I would stop to look before finishing the passage. I am certain you have put much thought to the media link placement, but maybe a link at the end of the relevant text might be an option ?… Or perhaps that distracts from the segue? Or perhaps I am just generally distracted.

    Also, do you plan to put all photos together in one album for each chapter? Was this the case in the test chapter? Or to divvy them out across pages – placing relevant photos near relevant passages? I found myself checking back for a look see of the characters mentioned. I guess this means it’s a living document that one will keep checking back into throughout the read. Not a bad thing, just a thought.

    Also there seems to be a chunk missing from pg 54, where you ask kids about Sumba on the map. And a few other type-o’s in the chapter, but imagine you have others that have pointed them out.

    Finally, the map at the start of the chapter doesn’t seem to sit upright, involves a bit of head twisting as it moves in the wrong direction when trying to look at it. Maybe this is the way ipad works? On maps. It would be good to see/ have a constant link to a map of where Sumba sits in the larger sprawl of Indo. I googled after reading the chapter. Love a map. Never enough maps..

    Chinh plans to test this weekend. I will also share with friends who might provide useful feedback. Is ok?

    Ps. I also think the entire Australian population must be forced to read this book. I will do my part to enforce.

  9. Blow me — it works. And it’s beautiful! Took a few tries to get it to download, and it crashed the first time, but now seems to be going fine.

  10. Am reading, and loving, it on my Kindle version in the U.S. with an iPad. When I finish that, I hope I can come back and buy and read it again in the enhanced version.

  11. Any chance of making a version viewable on non-Apple products, e.g. Android phone/tablets, PC’s?
    I’m very eager to see it but my wife took her iPad with her to Thailand for a week.

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