When you no longer want to own a series or a show, what are your options? Let's break down the pros and cons of ways to let go of old media!

If you’ve been an anime or fan for a while now, you’ve probably accumulated quite a few products. Eventually, though, you might start wanting to thin out your collection. Maybe you want to upgrade to the Blu-ray version. A game you bought on an impulse turned out to be a dud. Or perhaps you just have no interest in rereading a series. So what do you do with all your old, unwanted items? Here are 10 ways to deal with all your old stuff.

Option 1: Gift your items.

You may not want all your old manga, anime, and video games, but you may know someone who does! I’m sure your friends or family who are fans of anime and manga will be very grateful if you give them your old series if they’re looking to build their own collections. If you don’t know any local anime/manga fans, you can always give them away on the Internet. If you’re a blogger, many people host giveaways where a random person(s) wins either some or all of your unwanted series. You could also just post a list and have visitors claim titles on a first-come, first serve basis, and they pay for shipping. Your older books, movies, and games can also make for good rewards if you are watching your cousins or nieces/nephews (but be sure to run it by their parents first).

Advantages:

  • You are giving your items to someone who will appreciate them.
  • Giveaways can be a fun way to drive visitors to your site or blog.
  • Gifting is a way for new and current fans to discover new series they may otherwise miss.
  • Kids always love getting gifts.

Disadvantages:

  • You receive no money for giving away your items, which means you have less money to buy new titles.
  • You may not have any local friends or family that share the same taste in books, movies, and games.
  • If you are sending your items through the mail, boxes can get heavy really quickly. Shipping is not cheap, even through Media Mail.
  • Many fans may already own the titles you have.
  • You may want to be careful what you give to kids. Some parents may feel certain series are inappropriate for their children. Then the parents can end up mad at you, and the kids will be disappointed.

Option 2: Donate your items.

Most areas have thrift shops who will take your donated items to sell and raise money for their community. Lots of online sites and charitable organizations (Salvation Army, Better World Books) have bins located in various parking lots where you can drop off your items. Throughout the year (but especially in summer), schools, churches, and other groups will ask for items for rummage sales to help raise money for their organization. Alternatively, you might want to donate your items to a classroom, after-school program, or a Japanese anime/manga club. These can be kept for students and members to check out or given to people who otherwise can’t afford titles.

Advantages:

  • A charity or organization of your choice gets a chance to earn money for a worthy cause.
  • In some cases, you can get a tax deduction.
  • Classrooms or programs will likely appreciate any items given due to low school budgets.

Disadvantages:

  • You get no money for your item. It’s not a matter of being greedy, but most of us can’t afford to donate everything we don’t want.
  • Some items may sit on shelves for a long time if unsold, and then no one gets any money. Again, in some smaller areas, there just might not be a market for your anime and manga. A thrift store can keep items for a long time, but rummage sales only run for a day or two.
  • I’ve heard stories of (and personally seen) an organization just throwing everything away after a sale instead of redonating them.

Option 3: Sell at a yard/garage sale or flea market.

Flea Market

Set up a table or a couple dozen and put your items out for others to stop by and purchase. Areas may also have have community-wide garage sale weekends. You can have your own or team up with friends and family to have a larger sale. Another option is to reserve space at flea market or indoor sale. Pay the site a fee, then you can set up a couple of tables where you can sell your goods to visitors.

Advantages:

  • You can sell your anime and manga as well as whatever else you want to get rid of. As they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.
  • You keep the full sale price. You might have some costs to buy stickers, permits, and the like, but you have a high profit margin.
  • Most transactions are done in cash.
  • Most sales are as-is, so you don’t have to worry about buyer’s remorse.

Disadvantages:

  • Selling can be a lot of work, including setting up, pricing items fairly, and dealing with less-than-stellar customers. A good sale is more than just throwing your stuff out on a lawn. It takes prep work, and the days can be long.
  • While people do have sales in the winter, not nearly as many people will show up as compared to the warmer months.
  • People in rural areas won’t get the foot traffic. Even if you live in a larger area, you might not get any anime or manga fans. Or they may not be interested in the series, already have it, aren’t going to pay your price, etc.
  • If you are not having a sale at your house, it’s a lot of work to bring your items and then take it home.
  • Most venues require sellers to pay a price, and it can be quite expensive. You may need to sell quite a bit just to break even.

Option 4: Sell on Craigslist, Letgo, VarageSale, or similar site/app.

While Craigslist is arguably the most popular, quite a few other sites and apps are rising in popularity. Letgo, Wallapop, VarageSale, and others all have their own advantages and disadvantages, but the idea is the same: sell your items locally. In addition, you can use social media sites like Facebook to also connect with potential buyers.

Advantages:

  • These sites are free.
  • You can sell your items year-round.
  • Transactions are generally done in cash.

Disadvantages:

  • Your area might not have a lot of users on these sites.
  • Meeting someone you don’t know can be very dangerous. Always meet in a public place, and try to avoid meeting strangers by yourself.
  • Some buyers may show up to a meeting place and want to pay less than the agreed-upon price.

Option 5: Sell on eBay.

eBay is the most popular (and, for some areas like the U.S., the de facto) auction site. You can choose to list your items at a fixed price, take offers, or sell to the highest bidder. Most eBay transactions use PayPal, an online payment system. The site Half.com is also owned by eBay and is for media (books, movies, and video games).

Advantages:

  • Your item is available to millions of users. You can sell to buyers in your own country or across the world.
  • You can get an idea of your item’s value by searching completed listings, and you might find it’s worth more than what you thought. (Of course, the opposite may be true as well.)
  • Generally, items sell for more on eBay than anywhere else.
  • In some cases, eBay may essentially be the only place where you can get any money for your items.
  • On some occasions, buyers get into a bidding war and drive up the price, increasing the value for the seller.
  • If you do a lot of deal shopping, you may find that some buyers are not nearly as deal-savvy as you are. They may end up paying more for your used item than a new one on sale! That’s great news for you.

Disadvantages:

  • eBay takes 10% of your item price as well as your shipping price. Half takes up to 15%.
  • For auctions, you never know how much you’ll get. You can’t start it too high, as buyers prefer Buy It Nows. If you start it low, you run the risk of the item ending at the starting bid.
  • There’s a lot of factors into eBay pricing (shipping, feedback, time period), but you sometimes never know why buyers flock to one listing but ignore another. Person A can get $50; Person B may have it in better condition and ending around the same time but only gets $20.
  • There’s a lot of competition from other eBay sellers as well as big companies.
  • Shipping can be expensive. Books and movies can be sent via Media Mail, but video games cannot. Excluding envelopes, Priority Mail shipping starts around $7. Parcel Post may not be much cheaper and doesn’t include insurance. If you want to ship a 5 lb package, it could easily cost $20. Small sellers can’t compete with a large company that can offer free shipping on $50, $35, even $25.
  • Half.com gives you a set amount toward shipping, and it may not be enough for heavy items.
  • If you use PayPal, they take an additional cut. They may also place your money on hold if you are a new seller.
  • There’s really no such thing as “no returns”. Buyers can file a complaint through eBay or PayPal. PayPal users have up to six months to report a problem and request a refund.
  • Some buyers are terrible. They may not pay, complain over nothing, or just plain run a scam.

Option 6: Trade in your items.

Take your item to certain stores and get money without having to list it. Most stores will give you a gift card; some stores will give you cash at a lower rate. Video games are the easiest media to trade in. Big box stores like Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop, and even Toys R Us will accept most modern games. For books and movies, there are sites like Amazon or brick-and-mortar stores like Hastings. Japanese chains like Book-Off and Kinokuniya have U.S. stores. There are also independent chains and small stores that also take trade-ins. Along these lines, you may also be able to sell items to a pawn shop.

Advantages:

  • It’s pretty straightforward: bring your item, they examine it, and then offer you a quote.
  • You can often find trade-in values online.
  • You don’t have to deal with buyers or their issues.
  • Some stores will have promotions where you get a higher-than-normal amount for your trade-in.
  • If you trade in your item online, most sites will cover shipping either through a prepaid label or adding money to your trade-in.

Disadvantages:

  • You generally get less than if you sell it yourself.
  • Some stores require items to be complete with disc, case, and inserts. You may not have these or have them in poor condition.
  • Some items may be worthless or essentially worthless. Some stores may outright reject your items for being too old or in poor condition, and some media may only net you a quarter.
  • A lot of chains are regional. If you live in a smaller area, you might not have many — if any – options.
  • Grading items is subjective; someone may give you the very good condition price and another will only give you fair condition.
  • You might have to shop around for the best offer. Some stores will give you less if you are missing movie or game cases; others will give you the same price. Store A may offer you $10; store B $2.

Option 7: Put your items on consignment.

Certain resale shops in your area may take your item and put it for sale in the store. You set the price, and you and the store will split the profits. Some stores will automatically mark it down after a certain time. Another option is local online auctionhouses. You provide the description, and they list it during their next auction period. They then send you your profits after it sells.

Advantages:

  • You don’t have to deal with buyers.
  • You may get more than what you would get by trading it in.
  • You don’t have to worry about shipping.
  • Items will likely get more exposure than at yard sale or some local sites.

Disadvantages:

  • Consignments are often pretty expensive. I’ve seen stores take as much as 50%, and I’m sure it’s higher in some other locations. For auctionhouses, one nearby me takes $3 plus as much as 20%. If your item only gets the opening bid ($3), you actually owe them money!
  • At an auction, you never know how much you’ll get for your stuff. You might end up really happy or really disappointed.
  • At a resale store, customers often know when your item will be marked down and will wait, hoping no one buys it in the meantime.
  • A lot of places will only accept big-ticket items, not any books, movies, or games.

Option 8: Throw them away.

It may seem cruel, but tossing your items in the garbage or recycle bin is an option.

Advantages:

  • It’s easy and convenient.
  • You don’t have to worry about item condition or value.
  • Some items may be worthless anyway.

Disadvantages:

  • You are adding to our landfills.
  • If you don’t sort your items, you could be wasting useful materials.
  • You don’t get any money.

Option 9: Use them in projects.

This may not be an option you normally think of. You can cut up your old manga and make them into art. Discs can be turned into coasters, frames, or even games. Lots of art and game ideas are available online.

Advantages:

  • You are recycling and not adding to the landfills.
  • Your old books and discs make for cheap art materials for adults or kids.
  • Projects can turn out very well.

Disadvantages:

  • You don’t get any money from your stuff.
  • Someone else may have wanted your media.

Option 10: Keep everything.

Well, if it’s old and no one else wants it anyway, why not keep it? You may end up having kids who want to watch it, or perhaps you’ll get the urge to reread the series one day.

Advantages:

  • You already bought it, and you were interested enough to buy it, so you likely found some entertainment value in it.
  • Some of the things you may want to get rid of may be worth more down the line if you eventually decide to sell it.
  • You don’t have to spend time deciding on what to keep and get rid of.

Disadvantages:

  • Space is a premium in most households.
  • Are you really ever going to revisit that series with all the options available nowadays?
  • You get neither the financial benefits of selling nor the altruistic benefits of donating or gifting your items.

Final Thoughts

So, what do I usually do?

Option 10. I admit I’m a bit of a collector, and I just hate to part with any of my stuff. It’s a sickness that runs in my family.

When I do want to get rid of my older titles, I usually turn to eBay. Personally, I think eBay is both a pain and a gamble, but there just isn’t a huge market for my media where I live. The last few items I’ve sold on eBay have been smooth transactions, but I’ve had some very frustrating experiences with impatient, whiny, and non-paying buyers. PayPal’s new six month policy really scares me as well.

So, what do you do with all your old anime, manga, and video games?