Like many people, I have a fairly sizable collection of CDs sitting in a storage room collecting dust. It's literally been years since I even touched a CD, let alone played one. So why am I hanging onto them?
Forget Craigslist. Forget eBay. Forget garage sales. Do you want to spin that jewel-cased straw into gold? Head to iPodMeister, where you can trade your old CDs for a brand-new hard drive, iPod, or even iPhone.
Here's how it works: You pack up your CDs (or DVDs), then e-mail the company to let them know how many boxes you have. It then sends you prepaid FedEx labels. That's right: iPodMeister covers the shipping cost.
The number of discs you send determines what kind of booty you can get in return. The minimum, 150 discs, gets you a 1TB hard drive or an iPhone 3G. (Actually, you get a check covering the cost of an iPhone 3G, as iPodMeister can't do activations and all that.)
Scrape together 250 discs and you can land an 8GB iPod Touch or 16GB iPod Nano (current-generation models in both cases). For 350 discs, you can cover the cost of an iPhone 3GS. See the iPodMeister Web site for the complete list of trade options.
Interestingly, iPodMeister also gives you the option of digitizing your CD collection, meaning you get back not only your free gadget, but also a set of DVDs containing your music in (presumably) MP3 format. But that "costs extra" (meaning more discs). My guess is most folks have already ripped their CDs to MP3s.
I'll admit that all this sounds a little too good to be true, but I've yet to find a single complaint about the company. For your reference, check out Consumerist's recent interview with iPodMeister, this guy's review of the service from March, and the company's Facebook page.
I will say that the iPodMeister site looks atrocious and, suspiciously, offers no contact information except for an e-mail address and toll-free number. But with a little Google recon, I had no trouble finding an address and local number.
Did I mention I'm packing my CDs as we speak? It may take a couple weeks to complete my trade, but I'll definitely report back once it's done (so bookmark this article if you want to learn what happens).
In the meantime, I'm just kind of happy that I can clear out some boxes and don't have to spend a dime on shipping.
If you've tried iPodMeister, please share your experience in the comments!