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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Out of Print Music, or My $750 CD Sale

I will always be a bookseller first, but as an avid audiophile, I am always on the lookout for out-of-print music, and I fear that a vinyl fetish may be blossoming.

With the steady rise of digital sales, many CDs would fall under the category of not WBW (worth bothering with).  However, for the savvy bookseller, there are still opportunities to be had in this category, although your percentages of finding sell-able items are obviously much lower.

My most successful categories have always been Classical and Opera Boxed Sets, scarce debut albums, Gold CD original master recordings like this one by Stevie Wonder- Innervisions, soul, funk and jazz albums from minor labels and out-of-print albums with a cult following (collectors willing to pay hundreds of dollars for the ACTUAL album).

The first taste I had of compact disc gold happened many years ago, when I used to download the Buyers Waiting list from Amazon and use arbitrage to buy low and sell high.  I found a seemingly ridiculous pre-order of a CD for $750, and placed wants/wish list orders on several websites.  When a copy became available via half.com for $40, I snatched it up immediately and resold it the next day.  I didn't do the happy dance until my International customer emailed to say that he had received the item and was very happy, considering the fact that he had been fruitlessly searching for this out-of-print album for many years to no avail.  The album in question is "Tight" by Mindless Self-Indulgence, "an electronica band who are heavily influenced by 80s sub-culture with a sound that frequently shows the influences of hip-hop, rock and acid punk."



As you can see by the current price, the supply for the CD is now much more plentiful, and demand appears to have cooled off over time as well.  If you didn't believe that this sold for $750, check out the recent EBay auction for a Promo Copy of one of their albums, which netted over $1000!

My latest score was yesterday- a $250 sale on Amazon for an out-of-print debut CD for Russian pianist Virtuosa Valentina:



If you are a Terapeak subscriber, make sure to check out her completed listings, and you will find that just about anything with her name on it is in high demand.

I hope this information is useful to a few of you who dabble in formats other than books.  Please feel free to share the stories of your most successful CD sales via the comments section.  Happy Hunting!
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