Dear Amazon: Please reveal how many Kindles you have sold. If not, analysts will be forced to guess--repeatedly. I may even have to guess too.
The guessing game about Kindle sales continues and the euphoria is building (Techmeme). Citi's Mark Mahaney, who in May said that the Kindle has iPod-ish potential, is at it again. In a research note, Mahaney on Monday predicted that Amazon will move 380,000 Kindle units in 2008, double his previous projection.
That 380,000 is very important historically--that's how many iPods Apple shipped in its first year. Mahaney writes that the Kindle "appears to actually be shaping up as the iPod of the book world."
Based on what? Mahaney says that Kindle remains on the top of Amazon's best seller list, has positive customer reviews and a bevy of eBook lover reviews. All of those signs point to Kindle's big appeal. Meanwhile, TechCrunch reports that Amazon has sold 240,000 Kindles. For its part, Amazon isn't saying much of anything and that's good for the e-tailer since the silence only stokes more interest.
In a nutshell, Mahaney has a few tea leaves with a smidge of outright guessing. Will Amazon hit the mark? Possibly. Mahaney says that the Kindle has little competition in the gadget gift department:
Every holiday season, it seems, there are a few top “gadget” gifts – consumer electronics devices in the $200-$400 range that become big sellers – e.g. PS3, the iPod, the Wii, etc... For this holiday season, our checks with Citi’s Retail, Hardware & Software analysts highlight a dearth of new “gadget” gifts – except for the 3G iPhone. Which makes us wonder whether the Kindle – especially if a new and improved V2 comes out in time – could be one of those top “gadget” gifts.
The bottom line: Mahaney thinks his estimate for Kindle sales is conservative. Mahaney projecting Kindle and associated book sales to deliver $1 billion in revenue by 2010, up from his estimate of $400 million to $750 million.
Here's a look at Mahaney's estimates so you can decide whether the numbers add up: