I use eBay and discogs. My experiences with both have been positive. I buy used original pressings. New reissues cut from digital files are of no interest to me. I am price conscious and look for the lowest prices. I have never had to return a used LP. How the cover looks is of little concern. I will not buy any Mobile Fidelity after learning of their dishonesty.
Not wanting to incur the wrath of Jason Bourne, but I'm not willing to commit to the program. Of used records that is. Some people don't mind a few pops and clicks when listening to vinyl. I hate it. When buying a new LP for my collection, I want pristine sound. To that end, it's really hard to beat Amazon. Fast delivery and no hassle free returns if the product is not perfect. I only have one very good TT and it only plays great vinyl. Don't get me wrong, as I have bought a lot of used LPs in the past. I've simply come to the conclusion, for me anyway, that life is to short, and the investment in my system is too large, to not be playing the best records available. And I don't think $25 is a lot to pay for something that will hive me years of enjoyment. IMHO.
Does he live nearby? If so, the best gift you can give him might be to make a date to go to the nearest record store and then guide him thru the selection of 30 LPs. You can teach him what you know about condition, different pressings, reissues, etc. One of the many joys of entering the world of vinyl is patronizing physical record stores, finding deals by crawling through the stacks, talking to other music lovers, and interacting with knowledgeable, quirky staff. This may set him off on a path of discovery that leads to a new hobby and a lifetime immersed in vinyl culture.
Of all the bigtime vendors that sell used vinyl, the stringency that used vinyl people demand of their sellers is most likely to be observed and respected by the Discogs seller. Buying new vinyl is fine, and there are plenty of options for that, but finding quality pressings at reasonable prices for vintage pressings (I’d recommend not only choosing only those sellers with 99.8%-100% rating, but ones with comprehensive descriptions of the items in question, and don’t be afraid to ask for pictures if you’re curious, and don’t suffer the fools that show unresponsive/late/sloppy/irresponsible correspondence with you, the customer) is relatively easy and hassle-free on Discogs. The ability as a buyer to purchase with exact specificity a particular vinyl pressing one has on Discogs is also a big plus if one knows exactly which pressing they want.
I find Discogs, like any third-party vendor, is not perfect (I’ve had a few dud sellers I’ve dealt with) but all of the things I mentioned about it remain true, and the number of perfect transactions I’ve had vastly outweigh the number of bad transactions.
I find being very informed before purchasing music on vinyl is very helpful, and the ability to know exactly the right pressing FOR YOU and then being able to purchase that very pressing with ease, reliability and (with some sleuthing and perhaps some luck) at a reasonable price is where Discogs is advantageous.
Here is his other site: http://www.clevelandvinyl.com/cleaning-process.html
The records are graded and steam cleaned. If you are buying 30, give him a call before ordering.
Excellent thank you all. Yes he is near by and I do have a record store within 10 miles that I’ll probably visit first and check it out.
craigslist sometimes has bulk sales. E.g. there was a guy in LA, a few weeks ago selling 1000s for $5 a piece, incredible selection. There are a lot of collections up for sale, some only sell to one buyer, some willing to sell one by one.
I go to a record store once a week and buy from ebay. I always have a plan, look for a certain artist and go for the lowest price. Worst case scenario I buy it again, I'd spend 5-10 dollars twice rather than 35.
For some albums, new may be best, you would need to know about the specific copy, who/when/where, I had a post about that with great insight provided in the comments.
I have three new LPs in the original wrap, I have not opened them. I just look at them from time to time and feel like I need the right moment to remove the nylon. For me vinyl is all about the time travel and I want that original sleeve with the 70s ads on it.
I'm a 1st pressing junkie, I've noticed at least on ebay that there definition of excellent is different from mine. If I buy a 1st pressing on ebay I ask the seller a question ( Snap crackle pop? Surface noise in between tracks?) Reason is I recently purchased a Neil Young Harvest 1st pressing and the listing said Excellent for "Vinyl" I got it, The LP looked great, I put it on, dropped the Stylus and Very bad surface noise to start and then when Out on the Weekend started it skipped about 5 times through the song. Turned it over and Old Man skipped bad. It went back! I went as far as to check my Stylus and tracking force with my qauge. Put on my Steely Dan Aja and all was good on my end. Truly shocked on his Excellent grading.