Trade Policy

General Trading Guidelines

The following are general guidelines designed to address many of the questions customers have about our trading policy. Bear in mind also that there are numerous exceptions to many of these guidelines and that our needs sometimes fluctuate.


Items the Muse does not take:
  • Magazines
  • Textbooks, except for some math, engineering & beginning foreign language
  • Reader’s Digest Condensed Novels
  • Other Reader’s Digest and Time-Life Books, with some exceptions
  • Multi-volume and older single-volume encyclopedias
  • Older travel books (4+ years old)
  • Older computer books (4+ years old)
  • Movie or TV novelizations, with some exceptions
  • Self-published books, except for new releases by local authors
  • Ex-library books, except for exceptional cases
  • Book Club editions, except for exceptional cases or titles/authors we don’t see enough
  • Review Copies
  • Advance Readers
  • CDs without full jewel case and front and back cover – better artists can be discounted absent both covers
  • Complimentary CDs or any with brand-name affiliations (i.e., “A Victoria’s Secret Collection” or “Compliments of Prime Outlets”)
  • CD singles (1-4 songs, usually) should be taken only for known artists, and then assuming .93 discount
  • Homemade DVDs – often say “CD-R” or are blue or otherwise indicate homemade
  • Screener copy VHS tapes
  • Pornography

For most items we generally pay store credit that never expires, although we do reserve cash offers for premium items such as new bestselling books, DVDs, newer video games and high-end CDs.

How important is the condition of my items?
Extremely important. For our buying customers’ sake, we are somewhat picky about the condition of items we take. Slight book jacket tears, slight CD and DVD surface scratches, minor underlining and highlighting and the like are forgivable, but on the whole we like our items “gently used” as advertised. Many of our new customers initially think we are a new bookstore, which is a compliment we’d like to continue to earn.

What amount of credit or cash can I expect to receive for my items?
Because our average price is $4.98, the most common amount we offer, in trade or cash, is $1.00, or 20% of our asking price. We do, of course, sell items for more as well as less, and the amount we offer depends on our likely asking price as well as its likelihood of selling – i.e., a double Beatles CD that will sell for $14.98 is worth to The Muse $7.50 in trade or $6.00 cash, the same premium offer we would make on DVDs or video games, whereas a hardcover novel that may or may not sell for $4.98 is worth 50 cents to $1.00 trade only (no cash), or, again, only 20% of our asking price. Our offer goes up or down depending on our asking price and how likely we are to achieve that price.

Pocket Paperbacks
For pocket paperbacks we typically pay 20% credit of, depending on saleability and the likelihood we already have copies, though we occasionally offer half in credit or even some cash for newer (6 months old or less) bestselling authors/titles. We do not take pocket paperbacks that have severely cracked spines or substantial other damage. If the customer is buying only like items, we can do a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade, depending on the age/equality of items being traded.

Hardcover/Trade Fiction
Since we have less space for these than we do pockets, especially for genre fiction, we are pickier about what we take in this category; we take primarily the best sellers, and then only items we strongly suspect we do not have. In Fiction/Lit, of course, we take all classics as well as other salable items, and we do not take Harddover/Trade historical romances, only contemporary romances for that separate section. On average we offer 20% of our asking price, which is typically $4.98 for these items. Sometimes, however, we pay even less than 50 cents for some hardcover fiction, especially if it is likely to be discounted, a recent release by an unknown author, etc.

Hardcover/Trade Nonfiction
This category varies widely because it encompasses a wide range of topics and price ranges. Still, on average this category garners 20% of asking price, although many premium items are worth up to 50% of the asking price.

Whenever possible we use to determine our asking price and therefore our offering amount, and while our average is $2.98, the range of asking prices varies much more widely than for many other categories. We certainly try not to price most DVDs over $12.98, with obvious exceptions such as boxed sets, Criterion Collection discs, etc. We offer between 30% and 50% credit or 20% and 40% cash for most DVDs.

VHS Tapes
We are currently taking a limited amount of VHS tapes, including Disney classics and classic films such as Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, etc. We offer at most $1.00 credit for 10 in most cases. If the customer is buying only like items, we can usually do a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade for VHS, depending on the equality of items being traded.

Our average asking price is $3.98, and we typically top out at $7.98, although boxed sets can go out for much higher. We generally offer 10% for usual suspects; 20% to 30% for less common ones; and 40% to 50% for classic 60s bands, better Greatest Hits collections, higher-end blues and jazz and any other artists that will sell and of which we don’t already have too many.

Our average price is, again, $4.98, even for audio CDs, although best sellers and certain titles can go for much more. We pay on average 30% credit or 20% cash for CDs, 30% credit only for most cassettes. As with pocket paperbacks and VHS tapes, if the customer is buying only like items, we can do a 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade for VHS, depending on the equality of items being traded.

Video Games
Consul videogames, especially newer ones such as Xbox one and PS4, are worth 60% credit or 50% to even 60% cash. Most PC games are worth roughly 5 for $1.00.

Most LPs go out for between 93 cents and $3.98, with obvious exceptions such as The Beatles, Elvis, Miles Davis, etc. if they’re in good condition. We pay the same as we do for VHS on average (5 for $1.00 credit).

Audio Cassettes
Audiocassettes are worth 20 for $1.00, or 5% of asking price.

Journals, Address Books, etc.
We can take blank journals and address books provided they have no writing whatsoever in them. We can give 20% to 30% of our asking price, depending on how nice they are. Most go out for between $3.98 and $5.98.

Games, Puzzles & Toys
We do not take games (except videogames) unless they are in their original wrapping (i.e., new) or unless we know for sure that no pieces are missing. Asking prices and offers depend on list price and condition, and we give 20% to 30% on average. As for toys, offers vary considerably.