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Selling on Amazon (Casually) — When Not to Bother?

At various points, I’ve made some dumb DVD buying decisions. Sure, the movies I bought were good ones. But they weren’t the kind I was going to watch more than a few times. I’ve also bought a number that I really enjoy and watch periodically.

Again, this is about knowing yourself. I’m trying to learn before I buy (and I only buy rarely anyway).

I was looking through my DVD shelf and found a few movies I’m likely to never watch again. So I decided to recoup a little bit of the cost and sell them on Amazon.com. They’re in great condition.

But here’s the thing—while some were going for a decent price, others were listed around $2 or $3. The buyer would have to pay $2.98 shipping, but Amazon would also take a cut. At the end, I’d get maybe a couple bucks. And there’s the annoyance of going to the post office.

Two were going for $5 and $8 on the low ends, so I decided to follow through with them. It still won’t bring in much, but I might actually get $4 and $6 for them. The time taken up to list was about 2 minutes. Hopefully I can incorporate the post-office visit(s) with some of my errands if they sell.

Do any of you sell casually on Amazon? I’ve put up a few items before. The thing is, though, that unless you’re selling a lot of little items which add up, most things you can sell aren’t worth it.

What are your cut-off points for profit?

Fortunately, I’m not really losing by having them on the shelf. Even if they don’t sell, the money spent was in the past. We have plenty of space and they’re good movies. I have taste, I’m just still learning what I’ll want to watch again and again and what I should just rent or borrow from the library.


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Saving Money, Personal Finance, and Frugality -- Roundup
February 22, 2008 at 10:03 pm

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie February 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Do you have FYE near you? They buy used movies and I can get between $3-$6 for many of the movies half.com would only let me sale for about $0.75. If you choose store credit you get an extra 25% back.

Becky@FamilyandFinances February 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm

What made you decide on Amazon over Ebay? I’m curious for when I sell stuff.
I also have movies I’ll never watch again, but most of them are in the $2-3 range, so I don’t consider it to be worth my trouble. I think I’d have to net at least $10 for me to bother with it. Otherwise, I can donate to Goodwill and take a tax deduction!

mrsmicah February 14, 2008 at 10:49 pm

@Becky, eBay charges up front–which I don’t want if I can’t guarantee a sale. Amazon only charges if you make the sale. Hence why I prefer them.

Christine February 14, 2008 at 11:03 pm

If I were you, I’d go to craigslist instead. You don’t even have to mail them if you can go local.

Try here: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/emd/

Early Retirement Extreme February 14, 2008 at 11:30 pm

Cutoff depends on the weight and what you pay for your padded envelopes. For DVDs and small paperbacks a decent cutoff is $3 when reusing the envelopes. For seasons or large hardbacks, at least $5. I’d try craigslist first.

Alternatively, if you want to swap, I can give you my list.

Frugal Mama February 15, 2008 at 8:34 am

For those items, I trade use http://www.swapadvd.com. You list your DVDs, then get credits which you can use to order those hard to find DVDs.

Otherwise, I donate mine to the library and they can store and care for the movies and I can borrow them when I get the urge to view.

Fiscal Musings February 15, 2008 at 8:40 am

I sell a few things here and there, and it’s worked out pretty well in the past. For movies and things that aren’t worth much individually, I’ll combine them into a lot and sell them all together for one price. It cuts down on the hassle.

Megan February 15, 2008 at 9:13 am

I’d sell on half.com rather than Amazon. half.com takes less money after the sale than Amazon does. Half.com is owned by eBay, but there isn’t a listing fee.

I’m always trying to rid my house of clutter, so if there is a movie that I know I won’t watch again, or a textbook I have no use for, I’ll sell it for a few dollars. If I’m not using it, it’s worth nothing to me, no matter what I paid for it.

Caro February 15, 2008 at 9:29 am

I second the Half.com recommendation. You do get fewer sales there than Amazon (Amazon simply has more traffic) but you can leave them listed there indefinitely where Amazon makes you renew every 6 months. Last time I looked half and Amazon both charged 15% of the sale, but Amazon also charged $1. (I think this is right, it was something like that.)

Anyhow, thanks to the folks who suggested craigslist. I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s a brilliant idea! (and I sell stuff there all the time, so I’m not sure why I didn’t think of it myself.

ChristianPF February 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm

I try to batch my selling to minimize time spent listing, driving to the post office, etc… It makes it a little easier to sell the smaller ticket items…

Lisa February 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

I sell books on both amazon and half.com. I find if you time it to sell before the market gets flooded with the book, you can get a pretty fair price. For the others, I don’t mind netting just a $1 or $2. It all adds up at the end of the month.

Lisa

CatherineL February 15, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Hi Mrs M – a few years ago, I used to sell books on there. I sold quite a few at once, so that helped with the treks to the post office, but it was still a pain.

You’d need to sell a lot of books to make it worthwhile.

I stopped doing it when my house was flooded, wrecking my book collection. But, the insurers coughed up for them.

~Dawn February 15, 2008 at 3:53 pm

I seel on amazon occasionally and I generally like to have 8-10 profit margin, but I have gone as low as $5
I am slowly moving away from ebay for other stuff and selling more on craigslist (20%-30% of cost) to get rid of stuff.

EA February 19, 2008 at 12:40 pm

I sell casually on Amazon (mostly books) as well as swap books through PaperBackSwap and BookMooch. You can print postage for shipping through PayPal (it takes some looking to find the link for first class and media mail, they really want you to ship priority). Once the postage is printed, just tape it on to the package and leave it out for your postal worker. I ship a couple of books a week and only have to trek to the post office if I get something that is going to another country (and you can restrict that in any of the services).

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