Saturday, 1 October 2016

Second-Hand CDs - Update (1/2)

Following on from my previous posts on selling second-hand CDs on Amazon (the first of which is here, you can find the others easily enough), I thought it might be interesting to have another look at it with an expanded selection of old CDs.  All the previous posts were based on a pretty much random selection of 100 CDs; this time I checked out 350 CDs and deliberately including some that I knew were pretty rare.  Again, I checked the four main resellers to see what they would be willing to pay, then cross-checked with Amazon to find out what they were selling for within their marketplace.

To recap, from the original 100 CDs, the results were:

Music Magpie would accept 100/100 at a combined £32.67 (about 33p each)

Ziffit would only accept 74/100,  at a combined £28.00 (about 38p each)

Momox would accept 88/100, at a combined £31.34 (about 36p each)

Zapper would accept 91/100, at a combined £41.57 (about 45p each)

Taking the best offers to sell all 100 would net £56.57 (on the face of it; as mentioned previously, these companies all - as had been widely reported - make bogus deductions based on their perception of condition, so I'm sure that figure would be downgraded as such).

Now, onto the batch of 350.  The first thing that was apparent was that Music Magpie now only pay 25p (rather than their previous 30p) for a bog-standard CD (and often a lot less for CDs that they must be so overloaded with as to not want any more), so I had to go back through the original 100 and re-rate them all.  That's when the second thing became apparent:  it's a fast-moving market and the prices from all four resellers constantly change, presumably depending on what they sell on a day-to-day basis.  So all I can say is that these results are accurate as of 1st October 2016.

Of the 350:

Music Magpie would accept 344/350 at a combined £135.19 (about 39p each)

Ziffit would only accept 273/350,  at a combined £141.98 (about 52p each)

Momox would accept 317/350, at a combined £137.27 (about 43p each)

Zapper would accept 314/350, at a combined £185.11 (about 59p each)

The increased average prices across the board were because of the obscurities I threw into the mix, incidentally, not because these companies have suddenly become more generous (quite the opposite, in fact).  Taking the best offers for each would net £263.46 (for 347 of the 350; 3 CDs were not accepted by any of the Big Four, although this was down mainly to barcoding irregularities rather than anything more sinister).

So, as before, it looks as though Zapper are the best bet for getting rid of your old CDs - in fact the pricing hierarchy hasn't changed much - it's (1) Zapper (2) Ziffit (3) Momox and (4) Music Magpie - but there are some bewildering inconsistencies when it comes down to particular albums.

As mentioned before, Music Magpie (it does seem as though I've got something in for them, but I haven't really; they are undoubtedly guilty of sharp practice, but nothing illegal) are by far the biggest reseller out there and seem to have a fairly consistent policy on pricing, i.e. one pence below the next best offer.  This obviously means that they always appear top of the listings by price for any particular album.  They're content to go higher - often a lot higher - if they have a new - rather than used - copy, and occasionally they'll be content to be a few pence above the lowest price, so long as their used copy is in "better condition" than the cheapest copy available.  Of the 344 albums that Music Magpie were willing to buy from me (at £135.19 total), they are selling 296 of them at a combined £490.76 on Amazon (plus of course the mandatory £1.26 postage, which I estimate adds another 50p to each CD sold, due to the postage discount that they will receive as a bulk seller).

This looks as though they're making something like an absurd margin per CD sold (around 350%!) but don't forget that they simply reduce their prices as soon as someone else goes lower, so that original £490.76 figure isn't really representative (plus of course it includes the CDs they sell as "New" rather than "Used", which inflates the total quite a lot).  Now, I know I'm on dodgy ground here and don't want to get sued, but I would suggest that some of the CDs sold to them are in such good condition that they bypass the "Like New" category of the "Used" section and list them as "New", thus enabling them to inflate the price for a particular CD by up to 5 times or more and simply not bother competing in the "Used" section.  Shrinkwrapping machines specifically designed for CDs are readily available and I'd be amazed if they didn't have one for just such a purpose.

So, considered as a whole, increasing the pool of CDs from 100 to 350 didn't really add much to what I already knew about the business.  But drilling down into individual albums - the outliers - did, which I'm going to do in part 2.  And that's where things go all weird.

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