Amazon CDs: I bought a CD for $0.26 and sold it for $21.96

Travis R.
Amazon seller & Software Founder

Why sell CDs on Amazon?

Selling CDs on Amazon is a great way to make money on the side each month.  I would even argue it’s better than selling books most of the time, but we’ll get into that a little later.

In this example I was able to pick up a foreign CD on Craigslist here locally in Los Angeles.

Because people think CDs are a dying technology or they really need the money or space, they often will try to offload their CD collections in “lots”.

These are sometimes referred to as “moving sales” too.

This is my favorite ❤️ type of retail arbitrage because:

  • Craigslist sellers are motivated
  • They often sell everything in big lots
  • Most transaction are in cash and cash is king
  • I can be targeted in my searches and plan my route out for the day

So I found an ad of a local musician 🎸 who was selling his entire CD collection and moving back home. 💰 Cha ching!

How did the deal go down?

I don’t recall exactly but I believe the entire collection was around 200+ CDs when I arrived to strike a deal.

I let the seller know that I was a collector and I would be picking and choosing some of his collection for myself and then offloading the rest in bulk. He asked a few questions about that and I told him that I had contacts with local swap meets all over California.

PRO TIP: Telling them you may be selling them at a swap meet works well because the first thing they think of is a messy, dirty swap meet that is too complicated to sell at.

The minute you tell them you will be selling them online at eBay or Amazon, the seller thinks it’s super easy to do it himself and may start giving you a hard time on price.

After a little back and forth negotiations we agreed on a “take it all off my hands” cash price of around $60.

With a little over 200 CDs this worked out to be around $.29 cents a CD

What did you do next?

After making the purchase I headed back home and started to list the CDs on our next batch in AccelerList.

I was careful to build out my custom MSKU (Merchant SKU) to include my source (Craigslist) and then the buy cost ($.29), the condition grade and finally the item count (integer count) at the end.

You can build more complex product skus but this was sufficient in my case.

When we sell CDs we don’t resurface them, but we do swap out the clear jewel case and the black tray insert and then grade appropriately. We had all 200+ cds listed in no time!

So you sold one, huh?

Yup. Not too long after listing all the CDs, the sales started rolling in. There was one particular sale that really caught out eye however.

We sold this particular dance compilation CD to a guy in Russia?!

This is the true power of Amazon.

We were able to buy a CD in Los Angeles for $0.29 cents and then sell it to someone in Russia for $21.96?!

They paid as much for shipping as they did for the CD itself in this case.

Why do we like CDs so much?

We really like selling CDs. More so than books in most cases.

Here are a few reasons why we like selling CDs:

  • They are all one size and can fit in specific boxes which takes most of the shipping guesswork out of your process
  • They are small and easy to transport when buying from 3rd parties
  • They are easy to upgrade their condition by swapping out cases and inserts
  • They have great overall margins, unlike the disparity in profit from books versus textbooks often seen
  • Sellers think they are an outdated technology so they sell them cheap to you

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