At last, at last, the US/UK e-book conversation is getting around to questions of the basic architecture of how we sell, buy, share and keep our e-books. First Charles Stross pointed out on how publishers' insistence on DRM has put them at the mercy of Amazon. Joe Wickert launched a manifesto calling for a "unified ebook market" avoiding the vendor lock-in that is one of the main problems with today's e-book reality. Eric Hellman's latest post shows how needless is the publishers' acquiescence to that lock-in, the real core of Amazon's monopolistic (but not collusive!) power. And he very usefully reminds us that e-book "portability can be implemented without eliminating DRM".
So what are the alternatives to the existing Amazon/Apple/Adobe system? One alternative that has some real-world traction is the idea that books should be read from the web, in browsers. The second alternative, not yet realized, would be to create an interoperable standard for digital certificates for encrypted epub files.
Combining brilliant photos by some of Singapore's top and up-and-coming photojournalists, with interactive features, music and videos, this app forms an appealing record of this unique year of elections in Singapore's recent history.