Selling used cds in Madison, WI
August 31, 2011 2:37 PM   Subscribe

Where can I maximize the chance of getting the best price for ~300 used CDs in Madison, WI?

I just severely culled my cds down to the few dozen that I've listened to recently plus a few long-time favorites, which feels fantastic. I'm going to be in Madison, WI this weekend, and I'd like to sell the rest while I'm there, since there's no real outlet for that sort of thing in the small town I live in.

My wife and I lived in Madison a few years ago, so I have a general idea of my options - Frugal Muse, Half-Price Books, and the Exclusive Company, in particular. I fully acknowledge that it might be impossible to answer this question, but where am I likely to get the best price for my boxes of music? For locals, is there a place that has a reputation for being stingy - or the opposite? I'd also like to come home without any stragglers, if at all possible, so somewhere that would take everything is a bonus.

(If it matters, the cds are pretty mainstream pop/rock ranging in age from mid-90s through 2011.)
posted by brozek to Shopping (4 answers total)
No idea, but you might want to add PrePlayed, which has outposts near the malls on the east and west sides.
posted by Madamina at 2:53 PM on August 31, 2011

Half Price Books is notoriously cheap (though I'm not in Madison, so if someone has local experience that may override company standards) and it gets worse if you bring a lot of something in at once. I don't know whether they assume you won't want to take it all home, or what, but you'll seriously lower your money-per-CD if you bring all 300 in at once to the same location.
(I fucking hate Half Price after some bad experiences selling to them, and will now sooner give books to Goodwill or the library book sale than sell them at Half Price).
posted by katemonster at 3:06 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Why not or other online buyers?
posted by k8t at 6:36 PM on August 31, 2011

I haven't actually unloaded any of my CDs (stripped them of the jewel boxes instead so they don't take up all that much space), so I don't have any experience selling to these sorts of places. My experiences are also a bit out of date since I haven't actually bought music in CD form for about five years. However --

From a philosophical perspective I'd be more inclined to sell to the music-focused indie stores, as opposed to chains like Half Price or something like the Exclusive Co, which always felt very warehousey to me. MadCity Music Exchange (at the beginning of Willy St) would probably be my first choice. Maybe also Strictly Discs on Monroe St (right next to Trader Joe's; if you're coming from a smaller community you'll probably want to stop in there too for stock-up purposes) though the staff there have a fair amount of attitude. I have good memories of Sugar Shack Records when it was on State Street, but I don't know how they've evolved since they moved out to Atwood.

Also, a couple of forewarnings in general:

These sorts of places will probably give you better prices for the 'good stuff' in your collection than the chains. However, if you've got stuff that has aged particularly badly, i.e. has really fallen off in popularity since it was out, I'd be surprised if any store at all would be willing to take it off your hands for any amount. Most likely even the best store will scan through your collection, stack up the ones it wants and make a bid for 'em, and leave you with the ones it has no interest in. You may be surprised by the size of the latter pile.

The radioactive stuff isn't even necessarily bad from a musical perspective; it may just be something that was way overexposed and saturated its market when it came out, so that anybody who has any interest in it already has a copy. (The prototypical example in my experience is the Breeders' "Last Splash" from '93 or whenever; in the late '90s the used-CD stores I frequented couldn't give it away.) These are the things they're already trying to unload for a dollar or less just to clear their inventory; they'll have no interest in taking more of that on if they can help it. If most of what you have is fairly mainstream there's a good chance that you'll experience this.

FYI, Goodwill isn't a bad idea either (remember the tax benefits of charitable donations).
posted by sesquipedalia at 8:44 PM on August 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

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