Citigroup Analyst Eligible for Remedial Kindlegarten?

Published on August 15, 2008
by John Paczkowski

How well is Amazon’s Kindle electronic book reader really doing? Well, according to Citigroup’s Mark Mahaney, whose analytical prowess enables him to extrapolate sales figures from little more than Kindle’s sales ranking on Amazon’s Web site and the number of customer reviews it has received, the Kindle is doing quite well. So well, in fact, Mahaney sees “Amazon selling 380,000 Kindles this year to become the iPod of the book world.”

But according to McAdams Wright Ragen analyst Tim Bueneman, who’s actually, you know, spoken with some Amazon (AMZN) officials, the device might not be selling as well as Mahaney claims. “[Amazon] told us that the Kindle is definitely selling very well, but they also said the analysts and reporters giving out these extremely high estimates ‘did not run them by company,'” Bueneman wrote in a research note to clients that also confirmed that there are “several new, improved versions of the Kindle in the works.”

“Extremely high estimates?” Sounds like Amazon’s trying to temper expectations, doesn’t it? And, perhaps, to live up to them at the same time. The retailer announced a new promotion today that will knock $100 off the Kindle’s $359 price until Sept. 8. That ought to boost the device’s sales numbers, whatever they are.

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