How To Get Free Stuff Online :: The Amazon Trade In Program
Use the Amazon Trade In Program and Get Free Stuff!
When it comes time to clean out your DVD and Video Game collection, you can turn them into Free Stuff the fast and easy way with the Amazon trade in program!
The Amazon trade in Program is a simple and effective alternative to selling your stuff on eBay, or even directly through the Amazon Marketplace.
You will know up front how much your items will sell for, and you can turn your unwanted DVDs, Blu-rays, Video Games and even Text Books into Free Stuff in under a week!
What is the Amazon Trade In Program?
A few weeks ago, I was browsing through some DVD titles at the Amazon website and noticed a link below the "Add to Cart" button: "Get a $1.25 Amazon.com Gift Card, Trade in here". Curious, I clicked the link and was brought to the Amazon Trade In Store.
While shopping at Amazon, you've probably noticed that many of the items that they sell are available in both "New" or "Used" condition. Many of the Used items sold on Amazon are offered by third-party sellers, which can range from from nationwide brick-and-mortar businesses like Target to individuals selling their personal items.
Many of these third-party offers are actually fulfilled by Amazon, itself. And guess where Amazon gets all those used DVDs, Video Games and Text Books? From their trade in program! In exchange for your unwanted items, Amazon will give you a gift card that can be used towards a purchase at their site. They will even pay to have your items shipped to them via UPS or the Post Office!
I started poking around the trade in store, and I soon realized that there was buried treasure in my DVD collection! The site was simple to use, and I was soon marveling at how much my unwatched videos were worth...
Some Surprising Results
Once upon a time I was very loose with my money, and if I watched a movie and enjoyed it, I would buy the DVD, just in case I ever decided to watch that movie again. I also fell into the trap of buying the same title multiple times - when a movie I really enjoyed came out on DVD, I would buy it right away. Then, a year later, when the "Special Unrated Deluxe Director's Cut" was released, I'd buy it again! As a result, I accumulated a pretty sizable DVD library over the years, and a great many of those DVDs went unwatched.
Surprising Amazon Trade Ins
Just for fun, I started typing in the titles of some of the DVDs in my collection that I hadn't viewed in a while. The results were better than I'd expected.
Apparently, "Titanic" is no longer in print, so my DVD copy of that movie was worth $12.
My "Freaks and Geeks" box set could fetch me $18, and "This Is Spinal Tap" could be traded in for $8!
Why Not Sell Them On eBay?
Clearly these DVDs are worth more than what Amazon is willing to pay me for a trade in, right? So why not take that "Titanic" DVD and sell it on eBay for twice as much money? That's the question I asked myself, and a quick search on eBay gave me the answer - there's a better than good chance that no one would ever buy it on eBay, or that I would actually get less than the Amazon trade in value. And that doesn't even address the issue of having to package each DVD and bring it to the post office. If I wanted to clear out the hundreds of unwatched DVDs in my library, that could add up to a LOT of trips to the post office!
Using the Amazon trade in program, I could pack all of those DVDs into a single box, and they would pay the shipping! That means one package, and one trip the local UPS store or post office.
Plus, I knew in advance how much I would get for each video, and that was a major decision in deciding which ones to trade and which ones to keep. For instance, "American Beauty" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I was shocked to see that its trade in value was just 25 cents! But my copy of "Almost Famous" was worth $4, and I know I'll never watch that movie again...
Over the last several years, as my income has steadily decreased, I have been consciously simplifying my life. That has mostly meant simply buying less stuff, but as time has gone by I've learned to make do with less, and that often meant selling things I no longer needed. A few years ago I sold my entire CD collection - close to 1,000 CDs - because I had long before transitioned to the iPod and no longer played those physical CDs in my stereo system. That was not a tough transition, because it was easy to back up my iPod on my computer, so it was no longer necessary to possess the physical compact discs in order to listen to my music.
There is not really an affordable, equivalent backup method for DVDs, so in some cases I had a hard time letting go, especially when I thought a disc was worth more than I was getting from a trade in. I couldn't give up that "Planet of the Apes" box set for $1.25, even though I haven't watched any of those films in ages.
At the same time, there were some titles that I just could not bring myself to sell even for a good price - David Lynch's "Eraserhead" had a significant effect on me in my youth when I first saw it on VHS twenty years ago, and over the years I wore out that tape. It went unreleased on video for years afterwards, and when the DVD was finally issued a few years back, I immediately bought one and watched it with fond memories of my early twenties. I haven't watched it again in the past year or two, and the trade in value was $15, but there was no way I could bring myself to sell it. I know it's just a piece of plastic, and that I could rent it any time, but knowing that I have it and can watch it at any time is somehow comforting.
So instead of dumping my whole collection, I've instead narrowed it down to just those movies that I really love and don't want to be without...
How The Amazon Trade In Program Works
Amazon has made their trade in program ridiculously easy to use! You can access the site by going to the Amazon Trade In Store.
Simply enter the title of the item you wish to trade in - they accept DVDs, Blu-ray, Video Games and Text Books, each with its own "storefront". You can enter the title of the item, but I found that entering the numeric UPC code was much more accurate. There are often multiple versions of some titles, and each different "flavor" can have a wildly different trade in value!
Once you've decided to trade in an item, just click the "Trade In" button to add it to your account. (After you've added an item, you can return to your list of trade ins by clicking the "Your Trade in Account" link from your Amazon account page, listed under "Your Other Accounts" on the right-hand sidebar)
When you're finished, just click the "Submit your trade ins" button. You'll be brought to a screen that explains the rules - your items must be in good (i.e. "re-sellable") condition, and any that are not may not be returned, and so on.
From there you can next print out the paid (by Amazon!) shipping label - you may be asked to choose your preferred shipping option, either UPS or the U.S. Postal Service. I submitted two batches of trade ins, and the first time I was not given a choice of shipping companies, and had to use UPS (which I would have, anyway!)
Now you just securely pack up your items, affix the pre-paid shipping label, and drop the package at the shipper - there's even a tool that you can use to find the nearest UPS shipping facility (many Staples retail shops have one).
My Experience With the Amazon Trade In Program
The first time I used the Amazon trade in program, I was a bit leery, so I restricted myself to about 20 DVDs and Video Games, each with a trade in value under $1. These were all titles that I knew I would never watch again, and that I would not be heart-broken about losing all together. Remember that the items being traded in must be in "good condition" (i.e. re-sellable), and that those which are not may not be returned to you!
I submitted my items online on a Sunday afternoon, then printed out the label and packed them up that night. On Monday I dropped the box off at the UPS Store. Amazon provides a handy link to track the package right from your account page, and I kept an eye on the package's progress. It arrived at the Amazon facility in New Hampshire on Thursday, and on Friday I received and email notifying me that a gift card balance had been debited to my account!
Now that I was familiar with the process, it was time to get serious! I started going through the library, picking out all of the DVDs that I could bear to part with. That turned out to be about 60 more videos, and this time I shipped my trade ins on a Friday afternoon. I had a new balance in my gift card account on Wednesday the following week, and I had made enough to buy myself a gorgeous new 24-inch LCD Widescreen Monitor. I had spent the week prior choosing just which one I wanted, and thanks to Next Day Shipping, I had it on my desk and hooked up on Thursday afternoon (I'm looking at it right now as I type this, and I love it!)