Used books and DVDs
I have always been a very willing buyer of used stuff, and buying used books and DVDs makes very good sense
I have a weakness for books in particular, but I also like to acquire and watch DVDs. Even though we get quite a few items for review on the Global FlyFisher, we don't get nearly enough to satisfy my watching and reading needs! I have to buy stuff also to keep a steady flow of new and old releases coming. I like to sit on my veranda and drink a cold beer and read a nice book. I also have a bad habit of having a video running on one monitor while I'm working on the other.
Right now I actually have "Fly Fishing the World" running, and I'm watching bass player Les Claypool fishing in Idaho and talking about his life and his fishing.
But keeping myself supplied with books and DVDs has been expensive over the years. These are expensive items, and I often have to have them mailed from other parts of the world, which just makes them even more expensive.
I have taken two approaches to keeping down costs: I buy offers and I buy used.
Offers are simple: whenever browsing book and DVD sites I simply have my eyes on stalks for low price tags. One of my favorite shops for scouting for offers is the venerable Coch-y-Bondhu book store in Wales, where Paul Morgan constantly has a range of neatly priced books on "sale". I have gotten many good titles this way, but of course get what's on offer, and not necessarily what I have on my list.
When I bump into specific titles I need (yes, need!), I look for used copies. Amazon is my prime source here, and living in Europe, I use the UK-version of Amazon. Ordering used has three benefits: price is low (often VERY low), there are no taxes on used items mailed within the European Union, and of course the postage is mostly lower than from the US. When I order from the US the items mostly slip through customs, but they are formally submitted to VAT and import taxes, and I have paid my dues in taxes for books and DVDs over the years.
When I write VERY low prices, I mean really, really low. Many novels and non-glossy books as well as DVDs are just a couple of dollars used, and even nice coffee table books go for half price of the new copies, and in most cases they are as good as new. Amazon has a note on all the used items, rating the condition, and if you go for As new or Good, you get something, which is very close to new. I sometimes get brand new items, still wrapped in sealing plastic, even though I'm buying used.
I have bought visibly used books, but rarely any that were tarnished, smelly, stained, written in or anything like that, and I have no problems buying used.
It has saved me a lot of money and has filled my shelves.
And I like full shelves!