David Pogue is the tech guy for the New York Times and in this morning’s issue he has a long article on the new Kindle e-book reader, which Amazon launched recently. Apparently, it’s selling like Billy-be-damned, as the old saying goes. In fact, I saw a notice that they’re fresh out of the gadgets. Pogue’s survey points out a couple of things: the new reader is lighter and smaller, but has the same screen size as the first generation readers. Amazon cut down the overall dimension by clipping the edges. Battery life is good, the price is a lot lower and the purchaser has a choice of versions, with different capabilities. E-ink does give a very good page image and it does approximate quite closely the printed page. Unfortunately, it’s slow, relatively speaking, to refresh when the reader turns the page, and that seems to be one of the limitations of the technology. In all, the man says it’s a very good dedicated e-reader. The big, big edge with Kindle is the large selection of titles that Kindle user can purchase. And, this leads to a difficulty, quite a thorny one in fact. When you download a title from Amazon, and pay for it, what has happened? Did you “buy” a book? The so-called law of first sale says that when you buy a book, it’s yours. You can tear it up or give to somebody else. Can you do that with a downloaded title? No, it seems not. It seems the transaction is more like a lease, or a qualified purchase, in which the seller imposes some conditions which the buyer accepts. Consumers aren’t paying too much attention to this, right now anyway, but it could be a problem in a while.