How to make money out of old books, CDs, games and DVDs
Reckon you've got the world's largest barely-used media collection? Perhaps it's time you started cashing in on it...
Most of us will admit to having a stash of old books, CDs, games or DVDs that, if we're totally honest, we're absolutely not going to watch or use ever again.
It makes no sense to keep hold of stuff you don't need – especially if you're in need of some dosh. The good news is that the unwanted remnants of your collection can be transferred into cold, hard cash.
Here's how to squeeze as much cash as possible out of them.
What's in this guide?
How to sell your things online
As you can probably guess, the easiest way to sell your unwanted belongings is online. In fact, there's a whole army of trade-in sites just waiting to take your junk and fill your palms with gold (or pennies, depending on what condition they're in).
While every site differs in how they do things, generally it's just a case of entering your product barcode, ISBN or product name to get an instant quote – or better still, scanning with your phone if you use a site with an app.
You might find that some sites have a minimum value or number of items, meaning you'll need to scour the room for extra items to sell if you haven't met the minimum amount.
If you're happy with the quote you've been given, simply accept the offer, fill in your details and send your items off in the post. In most cases, the postage is free, but double check this first or you could end up forking out more on postage than you'll earn from selling your stuff.
Then comes the fun bit: getting paid! Most sites are pretty quick, and once they've received your items, your money should be with you the following day.
How much can you earn from selling things online?
Depending on what you're selling, and where you're selling it, you can expect to get about 50p–£1 for CDs, £1.50 for DVDs and £15 for computer games.
While it's possible to earn a bit more by selling offline (we'll get on to that later), trade-in sites are quick, convenient and hassle-free.
To get as much money for your old things as you can, it's always best to shop around as much as you can online, as different trade-in sites will often give you different quotes for the same items.
And, remember that the price you're offered will be based on demand. If you're selling textbooks, for example, you should sell them as soon as possible to make sure the course is still running – and ideally just before term starts.
You may find that some sites will offer you (what looks like) a better deal if you accept a voucher instead of cash. But, before accepting this, it's worthing thinking about whether you want your spending to be limited to whichever shop the voucher is for.
Best second-hand selling websites
CDs / DVDs / Games / Books
Music Magpie is one of the most well known and easy-to-use trade-in sites, and they're a great place to sell your CDs, DVDs, books, games and tech.
The prices might not always be the best going, but they're still worth checking – and, crucially, they offer free postage on your old gear.
They also have an app that comes with a barcode scanner.
You'll need a minimum valuation of £5 to sell with them. Payment is made by bank transfer, and it should be in your account the next working day after Music Magpie receive your items. If you opt for payment by cheque, allow seven days.
CDs / DVDs / Games
CeX is the only site on this list to also boast a presence on the high street, so if you think you'd get a better price for your items by haggling in person, this is where to head to.
They buy old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and games, as well as pretty much anything electronic, and they'll pay into your bank account, PayPal or offer you a cheque.
There's no minimum value, and if you pop into a store you can also get cash straight away (but online payments can take up to a week to process).
CDs / DVDs / Books / Games
Despite the name, WeBuyBooks will also buy your old CDs, films and games, and often ranks pretty well for valuations (although we think it's time they rebranded the name!).
Enter your product deets into the search tool and they'll provide you with an instant valuation. Once your items have a combined value of £5 or more, you can send them off to their warehouse (and they'll pay for postage).
They're pretty quick with payment too – like Music Magpie, they promise to have your cash processed and in your account the day after they receive your items.
Payment can be made via PayPal, cheque or bank transfer, and they also offer rewards for regular customers.
Games and DVDs
If you're particularly stocked up with games you haven't played in years, and feel it's time to upgrade your collection, a visit to GameXchange is your best shout.
Although these guys don't offer cash payment for games, any money you make is stored as credit on your GameXchange account and they offer decent prices.
Along with games, GameXchange also lets you trade in consoles, DVDs and tech.
If your items are worth £5+ (and include two or more items in total) they'll pay for your postage costs. Otherwise, you'll need to foot the bill yourself.
CDs / DVDs / Books / Games
Using an online auction site like eBay can be a bit of a slower process, so this maybe isn't the best choice for those who want their cash fast.
However, if you end up with a few keen beans who are ready to fight over what you have to offer, you could end up earning a good sum for your goodies.
It will take a bit more time to set up your listing and research how much to charge. Plus, you'll have to pay a commission on your sale.
For all details on how to get started, check out our guide to selling on eBay like a pro.
CDs / Books / Games / DVDs
Amazon might not instantly spring to mind when you're thinking of a site to flog your own unwanted goods, but Amazon Marketplace allows you to do just that.
You can't always get the best prices on there, but as the site has a massive reach, it's likely you'll be able to quickly sell on items you've not been able to offload elsewhere.
By signing up to Amazon Marketplace, you have access to the entire EU marketplace, not just the UK.
However, there are a few charges involved that are worth being aware of. Amazon charges include:
• £0.75 one-off fee on each product you sell
• 15% of sale price as a 'referral fee'
• A 'closing fee' of £0.50.
CDs / Books / Games / DVDs
Similar to CeX and Music Magpie, Ziffit buys all your old media to send, and ships it completely free of charge.
You'll need either £5 worth of items or 10 items to complete a trade-off. Scan the barcode via their app and they'll tell you straight away how much you could bag.
If your items weigh less than 10kg (which they'll work out for you after you scan the barcode), you can send your items through one of Ziffit's collection shops completely free of charge.
Packages weighing over 15kg can be picked up via a courier collection service, also provided free of charge.
You'll receive your money via bank transfer, PayPal or by cheque with Ziffit's cash voucher system. Make sure you also sign up for their newsletters to get promos and voucher codes.
CDs/ Books/ Games/ DVDs
In order to complete a transaction on Momox, you'll need at least £10 worth of items or 10 things. You can either get quotes for your items on their website or app.
A prepaid sticker is provided so you can send off your items for free and all money is paid straight into your bank account.
Where to sell your old things offline
Whilst trade-in sites are often the easiest option to go for, they certainly aren't your only options. What's more, you could often get a better payout if you invest a little more time and effort in the offline world.
Here are the best ways to sell your belongings offline:
Car boot sales
Often massively underrated and underused as a way of making money on items, car boot sales are also a hell of a lot of fun.
If you've got a lot of stuff to shift (or you can club together with friends), keep an eye on your local paper or look online to find car boot sales near you.
You'll have to pay around a fiver for a pitch, but you'll get instant cash in your hand and the benefit of impulse buys, along with the opportunity to haggle.
Often free to use, you can get a lot of guaranteed views by posting about your things for sale on advertisement boards. Particularly if your prices are competitive and you can show your items are in good condition (photos always help), you're likely to get a fair bit of interest.
Inserting 'O.N.O' ('Or Nearest Offer') beside your selling price will encourage people to get in contact if they're put off by your price. Plus, it makes it sound like you know what you're talking about. 😉
The best places to scout for decent noticeboards to post on are at uni, local supermarkets, libraries, community centres and in shop windows (although some will ask you to pay for this).
If you can't be bothered with all the hassle of manning a sale stall, and aren't keen on any of the sites mentioned above, there are loads of second-hand shops that will buy your media gold in bulk.
If you have a large collection, particularly of books, a shop employee might even pop over to your house and give you a quote for the lot.
However, this minimum effort method will be paid for through the quote they offer you, as unless you have some seriously in-demand goodies, you probably won't squeeze much out of them.
This option is best kept for those who want a large number of things shifted ASAP, caring less about the price (so not likely to be the first option for cash-poor students!).
Buy-back policies are a totally valid option when it comes to academic books, but you will have to plan ahead with your purchases.
Blackwell's, a university campus favourite, offers a scheme where you're guaranteed 40% of the RRP on textbooks if you choose to bring them back.
If you want the full 40%, this will need to go onto a Blackwell's gift card. This can be used on your next round of course texts, or if you'd prefer hard cash for your books, you'll get 33% of the RRP onto your credit or debit card.
You will have to keep the books in tip-top condition mind, so no scribbling in the margins.
Sold everything you own, and still hungry for more moolah? We have loads more ideas to help you make money as a student.