Whether it's a new experience or a sweet remembering of an old ritual, riffling through your record collection to select the album, the side, the song that reflects your mood and settling back, album cover in hand, to focus on the music is extremely gratifying.
There's never been more places to get your hands on whatever vinyl your heart desires. There's also an accompanying exposure for disappointment if you don't do a little homework.
There are two obvious choices for adding to your collection, brick and mortar and online. If you have a local record store, visit it. Your other choice is online. Amazon and Ebay will overflow your searches with new and used versions of all you seek. Be aware though that, for the most part, your orders there will be fulfilled by the same small businesses that you would be patronizing if they were local to you. Many of those stores have their own websites where their goods are offered sometimes at lower prices than their items on the giant marketplaces. A little detective work seeking out those vendor websites can yield a decent discount.
Regardless of where you source your albums, especially used, there are a few critical checkpoints. Price competitiveness is easy to ascertain, especially online, but the most important part of buying a used record is that your quality expectations are met exactly and they most certainly will NOT always be met.
Grading records is a subjective process and no matter how detailed the grading standards are defined someone else's opinion of sound quality will not always match yours. A good vendor should describe an album as objectively as possible. Most gradings are based on visual observation (Google Goldmine Standards). Look at the feedback and see how many times there's been a difference of opinion on that score. Check out the shipping feedback as well. Your heart will most definitely sink when you find that flimsy cardboard duct taped package on your front porch and realize there's an album inside.
Bottom line, you'll have issues. The best vendors can't defend you from opening a new sealed album only to find out that that it has a manufacturer's defect. Look at your vendors return policy before buying. Review feedback around that type of situation. Some of our most positive reviews come from people who have received a defective item they know is not in any way caused by us but appreciate our quick communication and the fact that we go out of our way to make it right.
With a little due diligence you'll find your trusted vendors and then life gets simple. Order the album, get what you paid for and snuggle into your listening spot knowing your ears will not be disappointed.
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