A relatively new site profiled today in CNet (via The New York Times) is Zunafish, which is a service that allows it’s members to trade between them various types of media; CDs, Movies (DVDs and VHS), video games and books (paperback and audio).
How it works is simple: You enter a list of all the things you want to trade, offer them as trade for like items (books for books, CDs for CDs), then, if the trade is accepted by the other member, each member pays $1 plus shipping for the item. They even calculate the cost and allow you to print a shipping label.
I like this idea. It seems like a great way to turn unwanted stuff into wanted stuff. (Not that I would ever part with a book!) It’s gotta beat selling them on the used market – for higher priced items anyway.
A couple of potential downsides. First, the trading is limited to like items. This assumes that people want to trade like items which may not always be the case. Secondly, the trade is a bit inequitable. That Highlander Season Three 8-disc box set counts as a fair trade with, say, Porky’s. Of course, both parties must still agree on the trade so I suspect that’s not likely to happen. Another potential downside I foresee is dishonesty amongst members. You just can trust the internets. The planned member ratings system will help with that somewhat, I guess.
As Holtzbrinck Online notes, as the site becomes popular it will be interesting to see if publishers cry foul or, with only a weak stick (ahem) to lean on, at least whine a little.