Where to Find Rare Records and CDs
Record collecting is a fun hobby. Records are making a comeback, with many current bands releasing their albums on vinyl as well as CDs, so collecting them is a great way to support some of your favorite bands. Some bands release special issues of their music in a limited capacity for the vinyl collectors out there. They can release their album on colored vinyl or release small 45s or single (2-3 track) CDs. These often sell out quickly and cannot be found at your local record store. However, there are some great places to go online where people sell their rare and hard-to-find music.
eBay is usually the first place people think of when they want to find something rare, and it's the first place people think of when they want to sell hard-to-find items. There are plenty of rare music items to be found on eBay. eBay also has the benefit of offering buyer protection, so you can be secure in the knowledge that you have recourse if you don't receive what you paid for.
Sellers sometimes prefer Amazon Marketplace because they don't have to worry about making a big, detailed listing - Amazon has all the information right there! When you find a record on Amazon you will be able to see if there are people selling new, used, and collectible versions. The Marketplace usually has competitive prices. You can also try Amazon Marketplace from different countries. Sometimes the Marketplace sellers ship all over the world.
MusicStack is how record store owners reach a wider clientele. Independent stores from all over the world list their inventory on MusicStack. This does mean that occasionally an item will be listed that has already been sold in the store, but then the seller will just inform you that the item is no longer available. You also have the option of posting a "want." If there's something that you can't find you can post a want and name the price you are willing to pay if it is found. This is an obligation to buy it for that price if it is found by a seller, but you can delete these if you find the item somewhere else or just decide you no longer desire it.
GEMM: Global e-Commerce Mega Marketplace
GEMM has the distinction of being the first Internet marketplace. It started with just music, but grew to include books and videos and merchandise. GEMM offers buyer protection, and in fact considers buyer protection one of their highest priorities. Payments are made to GEMM which pays the seller, so it's easy to get a refund if there's a problem. If you don't find what you want, GEMM has a Want List Agent. You fill out the information for the item you want and you receive an e-mail when it becomes listed. Unlike with MusicStack, you are under no obligation to buy.
Discogs is a big database of music as well as a marketplace. It's like Amazon, except just for music. You find the entry for the collectible you are looking for and it will show you if it is available in the marketplace. You deal with individual sellers. Payment is submitted when the seller verifies that the item is still in stock. If what you are looking for is not available in the marketplace you can create a wantlist and be notified if something you want becomes available.
EIL.com/Esprit International Limited
EIL.com has the full discography for most well-known musicians. Not everything is available, but they buy from individuals and sell on their website. There's a big list of "most wanted" items that stores and individuals can see with the price EIL is willing to pay. This means that you don't have to worry about dishonest sellers because everything comes from EIL. They also don't accept anything less than excellent condition, so you know you won't receive a damaged or scratched product. When an item you want is not available there's an option to request the next available copy. You will be contacted if a copy is bought by EIL, but you are not obligated to buy it.
This website is based in France, but people from all over the world use it to sell their music collectibles. They are careful about buyer protection. The buyer pays CDandLP and they won't release payment to the seller until it is confirmed that the item has been received. Sometimes a listing will have already been sold elsewhere, so they confirm availability with the seller and you won't be charged for unavailable items. If you don't find what you're looking for you can create a "wants" list and be e-mailed when a listing is posted with the item you are looking for.
This site is just a forum, so when people offer items for sale you deal with the seller directly with absolutely no protection if something is wrong with the item. However, the sellers usually offer really good prices. If there's something you're looking for that you can't find anywhere else you can make a forum post to Vinyl Collective to see if anyone has it and is willing to sell.
Books for Record Collectors
The Music Lover's Guide to Record Collecting
This book covers a few topics about record collecting.
It discusses how to grade records and talks about the most
valuable records and it even discusses all types of musical
media, even 8 tracks and mp3s.
Goldmine Record Album Price Guide
This is the definitive pricing guide for records. It's like a
Kelley Blue Book for vinyl. This is the 7th Edition,
released in 2013.
Record Store Days: From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again
This book reminisces about the good old days of record
stores. It includes interviews from people in the industry
and record store clerks as well as plenty of interesting
photographs from "way back when."
Vinyl Junkies: Adventures in Record Collecting
An anthropoligical look at the subculture of "vinyl junkies."
The author immerses himself in the vinyl junky world,
travelling all over the US interviewing vinyl collectors and
people in the music industry.
My Colored Vinyl
These are Under the Pink (Tori Amos) on pink vinyl, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (My Chemical Romance) on red vinyl, I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love (My Chemical Romance) on white vinyl, and Danger Days (My Chemical Romance) on multi-colored (red, white, and blue swirled) vinyl.