Feb 5, 2011
Those of you who follow me on twitter will have been regaled with my DVD bargain hunting since last April. I’m giving it a little rest, as when I went through the pile of stuff I bought (not to mention the haul from Amecon’s dealer room last year) I found a series set that I’d forgotten I’d bought. If that’s not a sign that you’re buying too many DVDs then I don’t know what is.
As I’m stopping for a while I thought I’d write about my approach to bargain hunting.
First things first, Auctions Only. The Buy It Now on DVDs is full of people selling second hand goods more expensively than if I shopped wisely on Amazon, Play etc. If you want real bargains, you’ll need to bid.
If you’re bidding on an auction you need to know your your limit from the outset. In all but one of these cases I set myself a limit of £3 per disc (including P&P). This is because most of the time I am either buying on a whim, or I know that the item will show up cheaply with some frequency.
If I am bidding to win, as I was with the Dirty Pair box set, then I set the limit at 80% of what it would cost new or on Amazon marketplace.
As far as avoiding bootlegs, the big clues tend to be the subtitles they list, the disc count to episode ratio or the sleeve scan. You don’t see too many below the £3 mark in Auctions, and they tend to be obvious. Though that may be my time at Videolog talking there, I do know otherwise intelligent people who’ve been tricked by bootlegs. And once in my haste I bought a Gundam model made by BENDAI…
Finally, you should set up searches to find what you want and I recommend the plugins eBay has for Firefox and Chrome to monitor your bids.
Here’s the list of my haul since last April:
- Doctor Who – Series 1 Vol. 2 – £2 I’m planning on seeing just how cheap and how far I can get the Dr Who DVDs. Due to the commentaries on the boxsets, you can pick these single volumes up dirt cheap.
- Rushmore – £2.24
- Doctor Who – Series 1 Vol. 1 – £1.94
- Shaun of The Dead – £1.99
- Bottle Rocket – £2
- The Life Aquatic – £1.99
- The Darjeeling Limited – £2.04
- Azumanga Daioh v.5 – £3 Middle to end volumes of shows go cheap, but don’t show up often unless you get a fool trying to sell a series volume by volume, or someone is off loading stock.
- Azumanga Daioh v.4 – £3
- Dirty Pair Part 1 – £19.70
- Shigurui – £4.79 This was the DVD set I forgot I bought.
- A Serious Man – £3 This was really tricky to get cheap and in order to get it for two quid plus P&P I used a risky trick. Though not that risky when the stakes are spending £3 on a DVD. After a few weeks of trying to get this I was able to get a rough idea of how many people were after it. Once one auction went, the price of the next one would rapidly rise as people bid against one another. My trick was to bid on THREE all ending within 24 hours of each other. This split the people bidding and luckily I only ended up with winning only one.
- Blood Simple – £1.98
- The Man Who Wasn’t There – £1.99 The seller included a FREE GIFT, which turned out to be a bootleg copy of the Nicholas Cage version of Wicker Man. I’ve not watched it in case it’s a The Ring-esque situation and Nicholas Cage in his bear suit will climb out the TV.
- The Ladykillers – £1.99
- No Country For Old Men – £1.99
- Burn After Reading – £1.99
- Intolerable Cruelty – £1.99
- Azumanga Daioh Vol. 6 – £1.99 This appeared to be overstock as not only was it sealed and stickered, the seller accidentally sent me it twice!
- Heat Guy J – £6.74
- Coen Brothers Collection – Fargo/Raising Arizona/Miller’s Crossing – £5
- Tokyo Godfathers – £1.99 The only item I had problems with and the seller replaced it without complaint.
- Tekkonkinkreet – £1.99
- Metropolis – £2.20
- Memories – £2.99
- Millennium Actress – £2.45
- Nadia Vol. 10 – £1.99
- Martian Successor Nadesico Vol. 6 – £3.00
- Martian Successor Nadesico Vol. 6 – £2.99
- Gunbuster 2 – £5.97 The only Buy It Now item – it was marked down in an eBay shop.