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Dust off the old CD collection, Amazon wants to buy it

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Announced by Amazon earlier today, the Trade-In Program has been expanded to include compact discs.The popular program allows Amazon users to send in old video games, books, Blu-ray and DVD movies as well as a variety of electronics to trade in for Amazon store credit. If an item meets Amazon’s criteria for acceptance, the user prints a shipping label provided by Amazon and sends the item. After receiving the item and passing an inspection process, Amazon adds the store credit to the user’s account automatically. Store credit isn’t limited to the trade-in category and the user can spend the store credit on any item sold through the online retailer.

Adele-21While Amazon is likely hoping that users will use the store credit on digital music through Amazon’s music storefront, the amount of money offered for compact discs is far lower than the retail cost of the disc or the cost of a digital album. For instance, the compact disc version of Adele’s 21 can be purchased on Amazon for $9.99, but the maximum trade-in value is $2.30.

Even worse, The Beatles Stereo Box Set retails for $179.98, but only offers a maximum of $11.00 when traded in through Amazon. The amount offered for each disc and box set is highly dependent on the release date, popularity of the artist and the amount of inventory that Amazon has already collected from other users. 

Amazon has fairly specific criteria regarding the trade-in program. Amazon uses two different classifications for discs which include “Good” and “Like New.” Since the latter pays the disc owner slightly more store credit, the disc has to be in perfect working condition, include the original packaging and cover artwork, and have no signs of wear like light scratches or evidence of personalization like a name written on the CD with a Sharpie marker. Basically, a “Like New” compact disc could be given to someone as a gift. If the disc falls into the “Good” category, the working CD may have light scratches or some sign of personalization on the case or the disc itself. 

cd-trade-ins-amazonMusic that will be immediately rejected include any disc that doesn’t play upon arrival, cracked discs, discs with water damage, discs with rental stickers or markings, unauthorized reproductions of CDs that have been burnt on CD-R media and discs marked “Not for Resale.” Regarding pricing, differences between the two classification categories often differ by 20 to 40 cents for a common album release and between 50 cents to one dollar for a box set. 

Amazon is one of the few retailers that offers store credit for used music. Other online retailers include Buy Back Media and Second Spin, but these companies certainly don’t have the inventory of an online retail giant like Amazon. It’s likely that the company will push the used inventory through the Amazon marketplace and potentially drive prices down for users. As detailed on Smart Money, experts believe that Amazon has expanded the program to include compact discs to encourage more extravagant purchases when using store credit. According to many studies, consumers typically spend 40 percent more than the value of a store credit, a trend that helps Amazon in the long run.