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 to start cashing in on that baby!Most of us will admit to having a stash of books, CDs, games or DVDs that, being totally honest, we're absolutely not going to watch or use ever again.
And in the case of unwanted gifts we feel guilty about chucking – perhaps we never even used them in the first place!
It makes little 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.
And here's how to squeeze as much cash as possible out of them!
What's on this page?
As you can probably guess, the most popular way of flogging your unwanted goodies these days is online. In fact, there's a whole army of trade-in sites just waiting to take your junk and cross your palm with gold (or pennies, depending what nick 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 a fancy 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 (although we're sure you won't find that too hard!).
If you're happy with the valuation 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 – once they've received your items, your money should be with you the following day!
Let's be clear about one thing: while you can snag yourself a handsome bonus by selling on your unwanted media, you haven't quite stumbled on a goldmine.
Depending on what you're selling, you can expect to net about £1 for CDs, £1.50 for DVDs and £15 for computer games.
It's true that you could perhaps earn a bit more by selling offline (we'll get on to that later), but trade-in sites sure are quick, convenient and hassle free.
As we always say (you're probably sick of hearing it, too), 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.
Remember too that the price you're offered will be based on demand. So if you're selling textbooks, for example, flog them as soon as possible to make sure the course is still running, and ideally just before term starts.
You might find that some sites will offer you a better deal if you accept a voucher instead of cash – money is money, right? Although, do you want to just end up replacing your unwanted media with someone else's unwanted media you might barely use? Something worth thinking about!
Variety is the spice of life, apparently, so it's only logical you'll find a zillion different trade-in websites out there.
We've rounded up all of the big players so you can take your pick.
CDs / DVDs / Games
Happy to relieve you of your CDs, DVDs, blu-rays and games, Music Magpie is one of the most well known and easy-to-use trade-in sites.
Nowadays, they'll also give you a price for your smartphones and tech gadgets, too (although bear in mind, you might fair better selling these on eBay).
The prices might not always be the best going, but they are always worth a look at – and crucially, they offer free postage on your old gear.
They also have a handy mobile app which comes with a barcode scanner.
You'll need a minimum valuation of £5 or have ten items to flog in order to sell with them. Payment is made by bank transfer, and they say should be in your account the next working day after they receive your items. If you opt for payment by cheque, allow seven days.
CDs / DVDs / Books / 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 you items if you could get your haggle on in person – this is where to head to.
Happy to take your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays and games, as well as pretty much anything electronic, CeX will pay into your bank account, PayPal or offer you a cheque. Vouchers are also available if you want to buy some second-hand gear, and they've now started offering payment in Bitcoin!
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). You might need to become a CeX member first.
CDs / 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 that 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 these guys also offer rewards for regular customers.
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.
Whilst these guys don't offer cash payment for games, they do offer a decent price – with any money you make being stored as credit on your GameXchange account.
They'll pay your postage costs if your items are worth £5+ (and include 2 or more items in total), otherwise you'll need to foot postage costs 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, research how much to charge, and you will have to pay a commission on your sale (but listing is free as long is you have 20 items of less for sale at any one time).
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.
It's not known for getting the best prices, 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 between £0.43 and £1.32
While you won't get free postage like some of the trade-in sites offer, you will get a ‘postal allowance’ from Amazon of £2.80 (£2.30 NET) to contribute towards costs (they'll deduct the above charges from this first and send you the remaining balance).
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 pay-out if you invest a little more time and effort in the offline world.
Here's our pick of the rest.
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 a lot of stuff to shift (or you can club together with friends), keep an eye on your local paper or enter your postcode into Car Boot Junction to find a sale near you.
You will have to pay out 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 – and if you're competitive and 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 are talking about!
The best places to scout for decent noticeboards to post on are at uni, in supermarkets, local libraries, community centres and in shop windows (although some will ask you to pay for this).
Second hand shops
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 particularly large collection (this particularly works well with books) an employee will often 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 amount of stuff shifted ASAP, caring less about the price (so not likely to be the first option for cash-poor students!).
Buy back policies
A totally valid option when it comes to academic books, but you will have to plan ahead with your purchases.
University campus favourite Blackwell's offer 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 store card, which can be used on your next round of course books, or if you'd prefer hard cash, you'll get 33% of the RRP onto your credit or debit card.
You will have to keep them 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.
Have you sold any old items recently and have an experience you'd like to share? Go for it!