Buying our unwanted CDs, DVDs, mobile phones, computers, games, and even clothes has become big business. Now one of the biggest businesses of them all, Amazon, is getting in on the act with Amazon Trade-In.
The online retail giant will now buy up books and games, up to a maximum value of £150. Amazon isn't actually handling these items directly; instead you send them to third-party companies. However, you are paid in the form of an Amazon gift card, which is added to your Amazon account.
Once your items have been accepted, you print off a pre-paid delivery label. You then have seven days to get your items to the third party. You need to make sure you accurately describe the condition of the items, otherwise you might face the prospect of either a lower fee or the items being returned to you.
I've taken a look at how Amazon Trade-In's prices compare to some of its rivals in this arena. All of these other companies also offer free postage when you sending in your items.
I've started with books, comparing Amazon's prices to three other rivals – Momox, WeBuyBooks.co.uk and Zapper. I haven't included the very worthwhile Green Metropolis, which acts as middleman by listing your books at a flat rate of £3 per book. This is because you could be waiting for a long time for a purchaser, whereas the sites below all offer ready cash.
Keith Richards – Life (hardcover)
JK Rowling – The Casual Vacancy (hardcover)
Nigella Lawson – Nigellissima (hardcover)
Ian Rankin – Standing In Another Man's Grave (hardcover)
Miranda Hart – Is It Just Me? (hardcover)
Hilary Mantel – Bring Up The Bodies (hardcover)
Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer – The Fast Diet (paperback)
Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl (paperback)
EL James – Fifty Shades of Grey (paperback)
As you can see, Amazon doesn't fare particularly well, although it didn't offer anything for two of the titles. Having said that, Momox didn't offer anything for four titles and its total was significantly higher; likewise WeBuyBooks, which offered over double.
Obviously if you have a rare edition of a book you can expect to make more. However, if that's the case you should really be looking at selling it via eBay or to a specialist bookshop as you'll almost certainly receive a far better price.
Now let's take a look at games. For this comparison, I've benchmarked Amazon against Music Magpie, CEX (which also has high street shops), Momox and Zapper.
Game and platform
FIFA 13 (PS3)
Just Dance 4 (Wii)
Football Manager 2013 (PC)
Call Of Duty: Black Ops (Xbox 360)
Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Assassin's Creed III (PS3)
Super Mario Bros 2 (3DS)
Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii)
As you can see, Amazon scores rather better here, and its total looks even healthier when you consider it didn't make an offer for one of the games. But bear in mind that you can only trade in your games for a gift card, not cash, unlike the others.
CEX came in second, with Music Magpie third (although it didn't make an offer for two games). Momox and Zapper trailed in last.
What this quick bit of research shows is that it pays to shop around a bit to get the best prices for your items. Mix and match between different buyers; after all, they all offer free postage.
Other places to sell
I've already mentioned eBay as an option. If you want to get a sense of what items are selling for there, just log in to your account, do an advanced search for the item, and select the 'Completed listings' button under 'Search including'.
Amazon also has its own Marketplace, where you're selling directly, and Play.com is now moving over to be an entirely marketplace-driven website.
Do you know of any good places to sell your unwanted books and games? Let us know in the Comments section below.
10 biggest companies in the world
Selling books and games: Amazon Trade-In versus the competition
Wal-Mart Stores, or Walmart, is an American retailer that runs chains of discount department and warehouse stores around the world.
The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, incorporated on October 31, 1969, and first traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. It is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas and has around 8,500 stores in 15 countries, under 55 different names.
Royal Dutch Shell, more commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in Holland, but with its registered office in London.
With operations in more than 90 countries, it is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.
Exxon Mobil Corporation, or ExxonMobil, is an American oil and gas corporation formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas.
With 37 oil refineries in 21 countries, Exxon Mobil Corporation is the largest refiner in the world.
BP is yet another global oil and gas company, this time headquartered in London. It has operations in more than 80 countries, produces about 3.8 million barrels of oil per day and has 22,400 service stations worldwide.
The name BP is derived from the initials of one of the company's former legal names, British Petroleum.
Sinopec Group is one of the major petroleum companies in China, headquartered in Beijing.
Its business includes oil and gas exploration as well as the production and sales of petrochemicals and chemical fibres.
China National Petroleum Corporation is a state-owned fuel-producing corporation and the largest integrated oil and gas company in China. It has its headquarters in Beijing.
CNPC - the parent company of PetroChina - was created in 17 September 1988 when the government decided to disband the Ministry of Petroleum and create a state owned company to handle all Petroleum activities in China.
State Grid Corporation of China is the largest electric power transmission and distribution company in China, once again headquartered in Beijing.
It has subsidiaries in Northern China, Northeastern China, Eastern China, Middle China and Northwestern China.
Toyota Motor Corporation, more commonly known simply as Toyota, is a multinational automaker headquartered in Toyota, Japan.
The company was founded by Kiichiro Toyoda in 1937 as a spinoff from his father's company Toyota Industries. Its brands include Toyota, Lexus and Daihatsu.
Japan Post Holdings is a state-owned Japanese company that deals with mail delivery and financial services.
It is headquartered in Tokyo and was founded on January 23, 2006.
Chevron Corporation is an American energy company headquartered in San Ramon, California.
It is active in more than 180 countries and is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production, and power generation.