Self Publish Books in Indonesia

Mar 19th, 2008, in Opinion, by

Ross on how to self-publish books in Indonesia.

It is always a matter of interest, fascination, even, to walk round Jakarta bookshops and see how many expats put pen to paper and reveal what they think about the country they’ve adopted. Some of these are a darned good read, but how easy is it to publish here?

Speaking from personal experience, very.

Having had some modest success elsewhere, I didn’t bother writing much when I arrived in Indonesia. It was quite enough to get a handle on the enormous changes in life-style which the “Big Durian” demands on its guests.

But after I had lived here a couple of years, read as much as I could of its history and politics, and got to know a lot of locals, it seemed worth a try. Of course, you can use an established publisher, but that surrenders control, and if you choose not to cleave to fashionable opinions, both publication and distribution can become problematic.

Better to do it yourself and secure your integrity. (Of course that issue doesn’t arise if your opinions are strongest on what sort of gado-gado is tastiest- it’s when you interpret history unacceptably that you hit hurdles – a lot of folks get awfully uptight to hear opinions they don’t agree with – just read some of the posts not too far away from here!)

The advent of the computer age means that almost everything is within your powers to make a book, except when you want hundreds of copies printed commercially, but the prices of the tukang cetak (printers) in Indonesia are incredibly low. You can order by the dozen, depending how quickly orders reach you.

And so far I’ve sold hundreds, mostly by email and empat mata sales.

Perhaps most readers are already familiar with these facts, but if not, check it out. A lot of literature may be in your personal pipeline, just waiting to pour forth in laminated binding.

3 Comments on “Self Publish Books in Indonesia”

  1. timdog says:

    Very interesting…
    Ross, could you give a basic idea of what the printers charge per hundred books or whatever volume you had printed (and obviously a rough idea of the word-count/page numbers we’re talking about).

  2. Ross says:

    Yes, my first printer, a little Acehnese guy in Narogong, charged me about 28000 per book, approx 200 pages, 350 words per page, big ‘coffee-table’ size tome. (Red-Handed in Aceh, so maybe he sympathised)
    I only got a hundred done for the first print order and when I’d sold them, I just went back for more. His cheap rates enabled me to include P and P in the prices quoted. But sending a bunch of them overseas- big market in my Old Countries,
    – was dear, which is why I charged a high mark-up locally , to subsidise foreign sales.
    Another printer in Kebon Jeruk overcharged me for Maid In Singapore, but did quite a good job, 45000 per book, much smaller. I’ll need to go home and check the page numbers, etc.
    Like I say, I don’t do it to make money. It’s fun, and if you have something to say, you can get the message across in novel form better than by overt propaganda.f

  3. Ross says:

    I’ll keep publishing regardless. For details, please email my public access address,
    And by the way, I take pride in publishing books under my own name. Does anyone know who that yellow pinko liar is, runs a blog but goes by the name of Treehugger or some such nonsense? Says I can’t read Indonesian, but lacks the guts to put his real name to his drivel?

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