Citigroup sees better Amazon Kindle sales

A box from is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden, Colorado July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup said on Monday that Inc’s Kindle electronic book reader appears to be selling much better than expected and could double a previous estimate for units sold this year, sending shares in the online retailer up 9 percent.

With few cool new gadgets expected on the market, the Kindle could be one of the top electronics gifts of the upcoming holiday season, along with Apple Inc’s newest iPhone, Citigroup said.

“Turns out the Kindle is becoming the iPod of the book world,” Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a note to clients. He kept a “buy” rating on the share.

Mahaney estimates Amazon will sell up to 380,000 Kindles in 2008, up from a previous forecast of 190,000, noting that adoption rate would be similar to the first year of sales for Apple’s media-playing iPod. He sees Amazon selling up to 150,000 Kindles in the fourth quarter alone.

Mahaney also expects Kindle and related revenue of more than $1 billion by 2010, compared with a previous view of $400 million to $750 million.

Amazon shares were up $7.51 at $88 in midday trading.

Reporting by Michele Gershberg, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Gunna Dickson