Here’s what one record store clerk thinks of Amazon’s plans to trade gift cards for old CDs

If you’re like me, you’ve got dozens, possibly hundreds of old CDs lying around the house, just collecting dust. Now, Amazon.com is adding those good-old REM, U2 and Curtis Mayfield CDs into its trade-in program where customers can send their CDs to the company and receive an Amazon.com gift card in return.

“Through customer feedback we’ve learned that a lot of customers are interested in trading in their used CDs to upgrade to something new,” the company tells USA Today.

Amazon.com has taken some heat in recent months, including the promotion of its Price Check app last December. Using the bar-code scanning component of the app, shoppers were given discounts to Amazon if they performed price checks while  shopping in physical retail stores.

Flickr photo via Plat

Now, with the introduction of the trade-in program for CDs, might this be another nail in the coffin for small, indie music stores? I wondered about that so I called my local music shop, Seattle’s Sonic Boom to get their take on Amazon’s new trade-in program.

As you can imagine, they weren’t too pumped to hear the news.

“It is definitely a little bit of a bummer,” said Danielle Vicek, a sales associate at the Ballard store. “I think that will probably have some impact on independent record stores.”

At Sonic Boom, depending upon the condition and the number of CDs in stock, the record store will pay anywhere from $1 to $6 for old CDs. Vicek said they offer both cash and trade-in, which might appeal more to shoppers than the gift cards on Amazon. She said about half of the store’s regular customers routinely sell used CDs, a big part of the store’s business.

“I hope we can all co-exist happily,” said Vicek, noting that many people in Seattle especially like to support small retailers like Sonic Boom.

I perused Amazon today to get a sense of what the trade-in value would be for some of my Jack Johnson CDs, and prices ranged from 75 cents to $3.95. A few albums, such as Johnson’s popular On and On, aren’t available for trade.

Prices for Jack Johnson CDs on Amazon's new trade-in program

  • dk

    this is pretty cool. pretty cool because i was going to take my discs down to goodwill. i’ve looked at the piece meal programs, but it is too much of a pain in the ass to ship each disc. i feel for the sonic boom guys, i love my local shops but anyone that has ever traded anything in to a clothing/record/etc store knows more often than not you get a dash of attitude with it at no extra charge.

  • http://randallreads.wordpress.com/ Randall George Hauk

    Anyone who’s ever hauled a sack of CDs into one of the local shops here in Seattle and waited around half an hour only to have the clerk pick a half dozen out of maybe 90 discs and tell you they’ll give you ten bucks for those and the rest are not of interest will be happy to hear about the Amazon program.

    At least, I am. 

  • Mar

    Read people’s from the Trade in Forums on Amazon!  You will soon realize what it is about.