SAN FRANCISCO - Apple iPad listings on eBay surged fivefold over the past week as early purchasers targeted foreign consumers who can't yet get the tablet-style computer at home.

Apple announced yesterday it sold more than 300,000 iPads on Saturday , when the device was released, and users had already downloaded more than 250,000 books from its iBookstore.

The number of iPads listed on eBay had risen to 2600 by Saturday, it said yesterday.

Resellers who had pre-ordered the device from Apple began listing the iPad on eBay before it went on sale.

One purchaser from the UK paid US$5500 ($7834) - more than 10 times the US$499 asking price for the least-expensive iPad, eBay said.

Almost 80 per cent of iPad purchases on eBay came from outside the US, a sign of burgeoning international demand for a product Apple plans to introduce overseas later this month.

A New Zealand release date for the iPad has yet to be announced.

"This happens with nearly any hot product," said Carl Howe, an analyst at Boston-based Yankee Group. "Some people buy up copies and try to sell them on eBay to make a profit. There were iPhones going for US$2000 when they first came out."

Crowds formed in front of Apple stores last weekend as consumers lined up for the iPad that lets people read digital books, browse the web and watch movies. Apple said it sold 300,000 units the first day.

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison declined to comment on iPad resales and reiterated that the device would ship to more markets later in the year.

Apple rose US$2.52 to US$238.49 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The shares have climbed 13 per cent this year. EBay, up 16 per cent this year, gained 80c to US$27.37.

The average selling price for an iPad on eBay was US$777, eBay said. The 64-gigabyte model also had multiple listings on for as much as US$1000. Apple sells the same device through its retail stores for US$699.

EBay is limiting the number of iPads that sellers can list on its site. Top-rated sellers and those with a history of selling computer equipment can list eight iPads a week, while everyone else can list just four a week. Authorised Apple resellers have no limit.

Apple is selling three models of the iPad that work in the US via Wi-Fi. Three other models that work with both Wi-Fi and 3G mobile-phone networks debut this month.