Is it worth selling old books, DVDs, games and CDs online?

I’ve tried out CEX, Zapper, We Buy Books, Music Magpie, Ziffit, and MoMox to see which offer the best trade-in prices for unwanted books, DVDs and CDs.

Over the years I’ve accumulated hundreds of CDs, books and DVDs. Yet thanks to Spotify, Netflix and my Kindle I rarely use them.

Over the years I’ve been thinning out the collection – better to have some cash rather than media I’m not going to use.

That’s the theory at least. The amount I receive for each sale is a fraction of what I paid, and reduces all the time. It’s now just as likely you’ll get offers of pennies as you are pounds.

So is it worth it? Here’s everything you need to know.

selling cds with an app

Websites to sell CDs, books, games and DVDs

I tried these six different companies which all promise to buy your unwanted physical media:

  • CEX
  • Momox
  • Music Magpie
  • We buy books
  • Zapper
  • Ziffit

How these websites work

Enter or scan the barcode or ISBN number

Above or below every barcode is a 13 digit number. You type this into the websites to find out if the title is accepted and if so, how much you’ll get.

All the companies I tested also offered an app which allowed me to scan the barcodes. A much quicker process.

Reach the minimum amount

One of the frustrations with these companies is you can’t trade in until you reach a minimum amount. This figure ranges from an achievable £5 through to a massive £15.

Package and post

Once you’ve accepted the figures for trade, you need to box the titles up. Most allow you to drop the box off, though some will collect by courier. There isn’t usually a charge for this.

Wait for payment

You only get paid once the items have been received and checked. With CDs, DVDs and games in particular this involves a condition check. If they aren’t of the desired quality you might get less cash, or even none at all. Most allow you to be paid to your bank account or PayPal.

How the sites fared

I had around two dozen paperbacks, a few cookbooks, 10 DVDs and a handful of CDs. I don’t play computer games but you can sell them too. I’ve ranked them from the highest value offered to the lowest, though it really does depend on what you’re selling – any of them could come out top for you.

We Buy Books

We Buy Books accepted a few more things than the others but offered slightly lower prices. You can get a 5% top-up if you add £25 worth of items.

Minimum trade: £5

> Try We Buy Books

Music Magpie

Music Magpie took a wide range of books and DVDs but at low prices. It offered just 1p for quite a few titles, which really is pointless.

However you can get a £5 bonus on your first trade if you sign up via this link.

Minimum trade: £5

> Try Music Magpie

CEX

CEX, or Computer Exchange, doesn’t take books, which had a big impact on the amount offered to me – so it’s only halfway down the list.

However it did offer me money for everything else, even if it was just a penny in some cases and was the top price for the blu-ray box set. You can also hand over items in one of the many CEX high street shops (when they reopen).

You can get a bit more for your trade in if you take the cash as credit to spend with them. If you choose this option there’s a £1.50 postage charge per item you buy, though you can use it in-store.

Minimum trade: None

> Try CEX

Ziffit

My previous top pick has fallen down the rankings as prices were lower than elsewhere and it rejected most of the titles. It’s worth signing up and then holding out for a promo code that tops up your offer. I often get emailed ones for 15% extra.

Minimum trade: £5 or 10 items

> Try Ziffit

MoMox

It rejected most of the items I scanned but can up tops for a blu-ray boxset and old textbook. Plus, there’s a £5 bonus (when you sell £20 of items) for signing up to the newsletter.

Minimum trade: £10

> Try MoMox

Zapper

On previous tries Zapper offered the lowest prices, but this time it was paused due to the pandemic and not taking any new orders.

Minimum trade: £5

> Try Zapper

Are these trade-in sites worth it?

Andy’s analysis

From my test the answer is generally no. This kind of physical media just doesn’t hold its value, and with people also not really buying items second hand these websites can’t offer prices which make it worthwhile.

The vast bulk of companies refused to take most titles I had. Those that did take a wider selection offered such little money it hardly made the time taken to scan, package and post worthwhile. Why they even bother offering 1p is beyond me.

I really don’t think you’ll make much money with these websites with your standard collection. Which means you’re stuck with that Dan Brown novel, Spice Girls CD or Lord of the Rings DVD.

But you will get larger amounts for special editions, rare items, recent releases or textbooks. Though you’ll probably get more for these via eBay, it’s far more convenient to use these apps and websites than faffing about with eBay postage and fees.

And if you’re struggling for extra cash and don’t think you can put the time to better and more profitable use (such as switching your energy or bank), then I’d say go for CEX, Ziffit or We Buy Books.

Though the sites rejected most of the titles I had, some did offer decent prices on the books they did want, and those with a £5 minimum makes it easier to cash out. And CEX is a good option if there’s something you want to buy as the extra credit can really help.

I ended up selling five of the 20 titles for £8 via Ziffit and taking the rest to a charity shop. Better than nothing, but I’m not sure worth the time it took.

30 thoughts on “Is it worth selling old books, DVDs, games and CDs online?

  1. They all seem to accept the first 5 items that you upload and then no more (and not enough for them to make it worth sending to them). I assume unless you offer something valuable for resale, they don’t want the rest of the dreck !

    Curiously, this happened on Webuybooks, Ziffit AND MusicMagpie, so I suspect they are all using the same back end.

    1. I had a decent amount of books bought from me twice by Ziffit, and they paid out a fair amount. This time though, I sorted all the books they accepted, boxed them up… went to complete the trade… and it kept saying ‘network error’ . It’s been doing this for a week now 😡. So annoying, the books are ready to go

    2. I have used ziffit in the past for both books and movies however they scammed me as everything was in practically brand new condition however they claimed on half the items things weren’t and refused to pay me and then just took my items.

  2. I just sold books on ziffit and found it was the best on the market at the moment for the books I had available – one box got me £25 and a courier will collect them, assuming it all goes through ok I would highly recommend them. Hope this helps!

  3. My experience is that charity shops take all books and then sort them out themselves. If they aren’t saleable they have links to all sorts of recycling options as they work in bulk. Oxfam even has some dedicated bookshops. Please dont chuck them in the bin!

  4. My experence has varied to be honest. Music CD’s seem to sell very well on Discogs which is a US based site. I have sold many CD’s to folks all over the world. The key is honesty over postage I find. Sadly they do not sell DVD’s or games but I have sold a lot of my old CD’s and some vinyl. Still searching for the best site to sell DVD’s and games, ebay aside. Sold a lot of good quality university text books on Amazon, although you have to be careful of their charges and postal costs as they are not always current.

    1. Interesting about selling outside the UK! Will have to take a look. Thanks Steve!

  5. Nice article. I was just deciding it’s time to clean out probably 100s of books and DVDs, as my shelves are full to over-flowing. I started looking into these sites, and was coming to my own conclusion that it wasn’t worth it financially when I came across this article.

    But I don’t want to simply take them to the tip or recycle them; it seems like a complete waste considering how much they cost; they must have some value to someone! Charity shop donations would be great, but I doubt they’d accept even a small fraction of the items I have.

    But on they other hand, if the only other option is to get even a small amount back from one of these sites, they’d effectively be paying for me to have a tidier house! Looking at it in that way, it might be the best option.

    1. Thanks Phil. Yes it’s such a shame to see so much money invested essentially worthless! Try a few different apps, focusing on the rarer items and see what you can get is the best way.

      1. Some libraries accept book donations too

  6. Hi Andy
    I have been using Ziffit the last 2 or 3 months and made about £30 so far, which is fine by me… I have noticed as well that if you keep the items rejected and scan them again a couple weeks later or a month later, they are more often than not accepted eventually. So maybe worth being patient. Also, I regularly get bonus codes, so I can get an extra 10% or whatever is offered…
    The only problem I have at the minute is that the app has stopped working properly and can’t figure out why…

    1. Yes, it’s all better than having unused media at home! I had an email saying they’d changed the app, so maybe check there’s not an update waiting?

      1. MusicMagpie rejected a lot of dvds and for other they paid maximum 10p.
        CEX could be a bettter option, but again, a lot of dvds were rejected.

        1. No, not worthless. You have gained knowledge that you did not have before reading the books. Knowledge is power. Not everything is about money.

  7. I would like to know where the sites you have mentioned sell the items they buy from us.

    1. Hi Ray, Some sell them on their sites (CEX, Music Magpie). Don’t know about the others but I imagine places like Amazon and eBay.

      1. Ok thank you ,i would never sell to them because there prices are insulting.4 pence for a £20 book.8o pence for a £15 cd..not good

    2. Hi, I was wondering whether Ziffit is still operational, given the health situation. Thanks.

      1. Yes, they seem to still be operating

  8. Graham Redfern May 2, 2019 at 10:13 pm

    On donations to libraries – I do not think they are allowed to accept donations under any circumstances – it is a royalties issue – the same that allows you to lend a DVD/CD to a friend but if you play it in public the lawyers will crawl out of the woodwork

    1. In our area of East London there is a scheme called the “Little Free Library”,where people put a small wooden cupboard on a stand in their front garden and fill it with books. These are then free for people to take, or to put their own books into. They can keep them or return, most people seem to put more in than they take. We also have scheme where you can contact through the local authority recycling service, a charity that will come a collect a box of books to resell and support those in need.

      1. Sounds great!

  9. Useful article, thanks. The return is so little and the ?scam factor puts me off. I read elsewhere that most of these sites often reject claiming e.g. damage on as new dvds and don’t return so who knows what they’re doing really. We have a lot of stuff to clear so I’ll give the kids an option to do it but I think we’ll probably donate. We have quite a few titles that we bought because the local libraries didn’t have them so it would be quite nice if other people could borrow them. Anyone tried to see if libraries take donations?

    1. So true. Ziffit claimed my books were dirty – as if I would embarrass myself that way.

  10. I have used Ziffit and WeBuyBooks and Fatbrain. I have probably made about £70 altogether over the years but we buy a lot of books including textbooks. Totally agree with this article and would add that it’s the first one I’ve read which is honest – have seen so many of those “How to make money quickly” type articles suggesting that it’s easy to find a few old books lying about and make a decent amount of money from these places. Just not true! Also agree that Ziffit and WeBuyBooks probably the best ones if you have the time, patience and a decent amount of books/CDs etc to go through.

    1. Oh that’s interesting about text books. Back in my day the local uni bookshop would buy second hand copies and sell on for a decent price. I wonder if they’d beat these sites or not?

      1. I once listened to a really interesting podcast where two guys in America set up an enormous business by just spotting the seasonality of the textbook market. Everyone was trying to offload theirs in spring and summer and others were trying to buy them in autumn. It only worked on expensive university textbooks but they could make over $100 profit on one purchase and sale.

        Helpful article, Andy. The concept isn’t new to me; I just wanted a bit of experience and wisdom, which you’ve amply provided.

  11. I have used both ziffit and music magpie. It was not worth it in my opinion I had over 50 dvds and was only offer £15 for all of them.

    1. Yeah, it’s so frustrating. Especially when you think about how much you spent on those in the first place!!!

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