Last Update: January 7, 2010
991 (Formerly known as EIL or Espirit International Limited)
991 is a fantastic shop. They are a little on the pricey side, but for really obscure items you’re having a hard time finding anywhere else, 991 is the place to go. I have personally ordered from them several times, and really, the time and effort saved was worth the extra cost on being able to easily find rarities from all over the world. Their catalogue of items is extensive and goes well beyond just CDs, vinyl records, and cassettes, they often have available other things like promotional products, tour programs, books, sheet music, and more that appeal to the diehard collectors. And they even buy collectibles if you want to sell your collection.
Alibris is a site where you can buy and sell used books, textbooks, music (in CD or other formats like LPs), and movies (DVDs, VHS, etc.) They are kind of like an eBay type site for selling used and new stuff, except it’s set prices and not an auction site. They specialize in out of print materials so if you’re having trouble finding a specific item that’s out of print, give them a try, there may be a bargain to be had, or depending on how rare it is, someone who can sell it to you for what it’s worth.
The Amazon Sites of the World
For best results with these Non-English Amazon sites, set up an account with Amazon through one of the English sites first, then you can shop through these links below and access your account even though these sites are not in English. Also it may be handy to have AltaVista’s Babel Fish Translator open in a separate window to translate unfamiliar phrases into English
Note, on Amazon Japan’s site is there an “In English” button to the right side of the blue bar under the category tabs, it’ll make your shopping experience easier.
Audible.com is the go to source for downloadable audio books. You can get Audible.com products through the iTunes store if you have an iPod, but if you don’t have an iPod, then it’s best to use Audible.com’s website. In addition to being a shop for audio books, their website offers subscription plans which allow you to pay a monthly fee and download one audio book a month for free, this monthly fee is actually less expensive than outright buying the audio book. The membership also entitles you to get discounts on additional titles during the month in case you want another book before your next month starts. They also create their own exclusive content that you can only get from Audible.
Like CD-Wow, Bang CD is an international supplier of CDs and DVDs that offers global free shipping. Use them as a place to comparison shop with bargain sellers like CD-Wow. Products ship from Singapore so be sure to factor that into your calculations. Great prices on CDs especially.
Barnes And Noble
Barnes and Noble is a big retailer of books in the United States. They are often a direct competitor to Amazon, but their product mix isn’t quite as diverse. Specializing in Books and Textbooks, and media like CDs, DVDs, as well as newly added divisions like Toys and Home decor products, Barnes And Noble is a fine retailer. Check them out for great sales. And free shipping in the US for orders over $25, same day delivery to Manhattan addresses, and they do ship internationally.
The BBC Shop
The BBC Shop is your source for all things BBC related. Whether it’s Doctor Who, Torchwood, or Absolutely Fabulous or any of their other programs, this is the shop to get it from. They ship worldwide. If you buy DVDs make sure the ones they offer are compatible in your country or use the BBC America or BBC Canada shops for US and Canada specific DVDs.
Best Buy is one of my absolute favorite places to shop. They offer great deals on electronics as well as media products like DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs and more. Check them out, and their in-store pickup options allow you to buy online and go pick up your stuff at the nearby store, it’s like online ordering with instant gratification built right in. It’s a feature I’ve found handy over the years.
Big Dog Clothing
One of my favorite fun brands of clothing is that of Big Dog Clothing. They have a line of funny t-shirts that are definitely family friendly and some that push the envelope slightly. I personally love their line of Hawaiian shirts. They have great stuff in many sizes from the regular to the plus sizes.
Buy.com & Buy.com Canada
Buy.com and Buy.ca are a company that compete with Amazon. Unlike Amazon, they only ship within the US and Canada for the Buy.com Canada site. I tend to prefer Amazon, but Buy.com gets some amazing deals that shouldn’t be passed up. You can get some great deals on reconditioned electronics or close out deals. Even save some decent money on books, music, and movies. They even accept Google Checkout for payment. I’ve personally gotten some great deals on electronics and will most likely use them for my next computer purchase.
Cambridge Soundworks makes audio equipment that is often considered to be like Bose products but for not nearly the price that Bose charges. They have well made products with speakers that sound just amazing.
A great site that allows you to have personalized greeting cards printed and mailed for you. You can even include giftcards for several retail outlets and restaurants. It’s a one stop shop for a quick and easy gift. Just personalize it, they take care of printing and mailing it for you. Couldn’t be easier.
CD Japan is a Japanese seller, another good one to comparison check with Amazon.co.jp. Their site is in English and is easy to order from. As Japanese releases often have exclusive bonuses not available anywhere else in the world, true music collectors often have Japanese releases in their collections. Although Japanese releases are often more expensive than domestic ones, the Japanese record labels really put out high quality products. CD Japan is a place where I have shopped from often to get those exclusive releases.
CD-WOW is a UK seller of CDs and DVDs that sells for low prices with free shipping anywhere in the world. Although the site originates from the UK, they are an international supplier of CDs and most of their titles ship from Hong Kong even if its a European release. This site is often an excellent bargain if you’re looking for import new releases for roughly the same non-sale price of an album in the United States. Prices are listed in British Pounds, be sure to check the exchange rate to know approximately what that is in your local currency.
CD-WOW also has a US site, where prices are listed in US Dollars. Like the original UK site, shipping is free and CDs ship from Hong Kong, it even accesses the same database for releases but has the benefit of being in US Dollars. Quick and easy and definitely one of my favorite sites to shop from.
The new CompUSA is affiliated with the affiliated with the company that owns TigerDirect. They have been resurrecting a brand new and better company out of the ashes of the former CompUSA. They even have restored a handful of the original stores to be a physical presence as well. Check them out, they have some awesome deals that I’ve ordered recently.
Corel is the maker of great software like Paint Shop Pro (which I’ve used for years in various incarnations including the most current version). They also make the WordPerfect Office Suite and several different different DVD software packages, everything from player packages to ones that help you make your own professional looking home made DVDs.
If you live in the United States and want good deals on music, movies, books, and more, then Deep Discount is your place to go. They’re similar in nature to CD-Wow, except based in the United States and the offer free shipping. They will ship internationally but do not offer free shipping on international orders. They’re a great place to get your stuff if and you do have the option to pay extra if you want it sooner. Check them out.
Dress Circle is a shop in London that specializes in show business merchandise, especially live event merchandise such as cast albums, libretto books, and miscellaneous merchandise from the various shows that have graced the London stages (as well as Broadway and other stages around the world). I’ve personally shopped from Dress Circle for Chess and Mamma Mia merchandise as well as Elaine Paige merchandise.
DVD Planet was formed when DVD’s took over, but it previously was the incredibly awesome Ken Crane’s Laserdiscs, where I shopped for many of the titles I still own on laserdisc. They are a great place to shop for DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.
eBay is simply one of the more amazing sites on the web. Essentially a global scale garage sale where you can find just about anything and everything. I’ve used it to buy a lot of unique items including an electric guitar featuring the signatures of Per Gessle and Marie Fredriksson of Roxette, Corey Hart Gold Record sales awards, and even rare CDs from around the world. And I’ve also sold stuff on eBay. So whether you’re looking for deals or looking to get rid of your stuff, eBay is one of the best places to do it.
FYE is a US based retailer who only ships within the US. They have some decent deals from time to time and orders over $25 get free shipping. They have a large retail presence in the US, doing business under the names of FYE, Sam Goody, Musicland, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, and Wherehouse Music, although most are being transformed into FYE’s.
Ginza is a Swedish only retailer. Unfortunately, they don’t ship outside of Sweden, but they are an excellent source of Swedish music. I’ve used them to get some extremely hard to get vinyl editions of Per Gessle’s “Son Of A Plumber” album, but it does require you to have someone in Sweden who’s willing to receive the order and then ship it to you.
HMV is a UK based retailer that often has great sales on CDs and DVDs. I’ve ordered from them more often than I care to admit over the years. I’ve had some great bargains from them and when I finally took my first trip to London, it was HMV’s store on Oxford Street that I sought out as soon as I had a chance to go find it and spent hours in the store. Check them out for great European releases.
Hotwire is a reseller of travel services. They act as kind of a discount clearing house, where you can get extreme discounts so long as you’re willing to agree to the price before you learn which company is actually offering it. Everything from flights, hotels, and car rentals. I often use them for hotels because you can narrow down the area of where you want to stay to specific neighborhoods and you base your decision down to prices for hotel star levels. I’ve gotten some great deals, I’ve easily saved more than I’ve spent with them. Check them out for your next trip.
International Jock is a site specializing in the sale of men’s underwear and swimsuits. While you can find underwear in your local discount retailers, it seems you have to go online to get quality and more comfortable styles. I just found over the years, even though you pay more for name brand designer underwear styles, you get better quality garments that are much more comfortable.
Invisible Shield by Zagg is line of military grade protective covers for all your gadgets. Their shields are extremely thin and scratch proof, so even though they are a little pricy, but they are a one time purchase for the life of the product you’re protecting. You can get covers for everything from laptops, iPods, and cell/mobile phones. The technology behind the Invisible Shield was originally designed to protect the leading edge of military helicopter blades from damage. The company is so sure of the quality of their products they offer a lifetime replacement guarantee.
iTunes has definitely become a convenient and great resource for music, whether its full albums or songs. I tend to only use them for the occasional song or iTunes exclusives, as I still prefer to own a physical CD for full albums.
For USA residents, click here:
J&R Computer/Music World
Think Amazon but without the books. J&R based of New York is a great place for just about anything that takes batteries or gets plugged into the wall and they even carry CDs, DVDs, and software to feed those kinds of machines. They have a great selection of all things electronics and even have great sales from time to time.
Netflix is an awesome DVD rental service in the United States. I use them primarily as a way by which to save money by NOT buying DVDs that I wouldn’t want to watch over and over again. The also offer instant viewing, either on a PC (using Internet Explorer) or through their new Netflix Viewer from Roku, which is a $99 box you add on to your TV and you connect to the Internet either by a network cable or through the built-in wireless adapter. Using the internet to create a Queue list you can instantly watch thousands of movies and tv shows (all commercial free). I just got one of the boxes for myself and it’s just amazing. All the instant access shows are available with Netflix’s unlimited rental accounts starting as low as $8.99 a month.
Overstock.com is kind of a clearing house for all kinds of items, there can be some really great deals on everything from high thread count sheets to refurbished iPods. I’ve used them mostly for purchasing retractable audio cables to connect my iPod to various items as well as iPod accessories. They even take PayPal which is convenient for some. They are definitely worth checking out to comparison shop.
The PBS Shop
Along the same vein as the BBC is for the UK, PBS is a network of publicly supported television stations in the US that gets its funding from viewer support drives as well as government grants. They don’t have commercials and so commercial sponsorship of programs is limited to underwriting programs. PBS is often home to well produced documentaries and concert specials as well as such infamous programs as the program for children “Sesame Street.” Also PBS was the first place I ever became exposed to British BBC programs so their webshop also has a number of British BBC DVDs as well.
Priceline, like Hotwire, is a travel services company that offers discount pricing on travel needs. Where they are different from Hotwire is that in addition to already discounted pricing, you also have the opportunity to submit bids on what you’re willing to pay for your airfare, hotel, and/or car rental and see if any of the companies will accept your bid. If you find a travel company willing to accept your bid, you’ve essentially named your own price. I personally used Priceline for my flight to Australia the first time I visited there.
Rifftrax is a fantastic company selling downloadable MP3 comedy commentary tracks from the guys responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000. Because you’re buying the commentary track separate from the film (you provide it yourself) so they can provide commentary of current movies or classic favorites such as Star Trek VI as featured in the image below. And the commentary tracks are reasonably priced, and if you feel so inclined you can record your own commentary tracks to your favorite movies and sell them on the site.
San Francisco Music Box Company
I know it seems weird that I would be highlighting a music box company as a recommended place to shop, but the main reason is because they’ve been the partner of Boyd’s Bears for producing all the music box versions of their resin figures, which are a favorite of my mother, so they’ve made great gifts over the years. They also have other licensed music boxes from pop culture like Disney, Betty Boop, Elvis, Looney Tunes, The Wizard of Oz, and Broadway shows like “Phantom of the Opera” and “Cats.” I’ve even suggested they should make a music box with the tune “Slipping Through My Fingers” to tie into the “Mamma Mia!” movie for it’s DVD release. So check them out and maybe send them an email requesting a “Mamma Mia!” music box.
Sanity is Australia’s leading music retailer. They operate shops under their own name, HMV, and Virgin Megastore in Australia. Australian CDs often also get bonus tracks and are well worth checking out. I’ve bought from them a number of times over the years and have been very pleased with their service.
Second Spin is a used CD, DVD, and Video games site. You can get some great deals on used media and you can even unload the CDs, DVDs, and Video games you no longer want. Unlike a bunch of sites catering to used media, Second Spin WILL ship internationally. Check them out.
Simply Audiobooks is essentially Netflix for Audiobooks. They specialize in the ability to rent Audiobooks and they offer two different types of subscriptions, one very much like Netflix where CDs are sent to you in the mail, you enjoy them, and send them back and they send you more. The other subscription type is downloadable, so you can pick your list of desired audiobooks, download them and either burn them to CD or put them on an MP3 player. This is a great way to enjoy audiobooks without having to purchase each and every one of them. They have US, Canadian, and UK sites, all available through the main site.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio
SIRIUS Satellite Radio is a paid radio service where your money buys you commercial free access to so many channels you’re bound to find a few favorites to switch between. There’s a channel for whatever you’re in the mood for, all music, all 70′s, all 80′s, all talk, even all Howard Stern (if you’re into that). SIRIUS offers something that I as a fan of Scandinavian music really enjoy, a show called “Nordic Rox” which airs on the Spectrum Channel which features new and great classic music from Scandinavia. “Nordic Rox” is under the creative guidance of Per Gessle, of my all time favorite band Roxette. Additionally for the two weeks of July 7-20, 2008 in honor of “Mamma Mia! The Movie” being released, SIRIUS ran an exclusive ABBA channel playing original ABBA songs as well as songs from the original cast recording and movie soundtrack intermixed with interviews of the movie cast, members of ABBA, and several other pop culture icons. Don’t worry if you don’t have a SIRIUS radio, you can listen online and they offer a free trial
You know that catalog of great stuff you browse through when you’re in flight on any of the major airlines? It’s a SkyMall catalog. SkyMall offers you the best products from several mail order companies with the convenience of one stop shopping. They’re awesome.
Skype is an Internet based phone service. Calls from computer to computer are free and when using high-speed Internet access, sound just as good as regular phone calls. You can even do video calls. The real power of Skype is that you can use their “Skype-Out” feature and call regular phones anywhere in the world for a tiny fraction of the cost making the same calls directly would be using traditional phone companies. They offer pay as you go usage or monthly plans that allow unlimited calling in your country or even world wide unlimited calling to landline phones. One of the nice advantages of skype is that they also offer accessories to help make using skype even easier, such as headsets and adaptors that allow you to plug in regular phones at home so you can bypass the computer and still use Skype all together. I personally enjoy using Skype to call friends in countries like Australia and the United Kingdom and family back home in Canada.
StubHub is an eBay subdivision that specializes as being a place where you can sell and buy tickets to concerts, live events, and sporting events. Essentially eBay for tickets. So whether you’ve got tickets you need to sell or want tickets to sold out shows, StubHub is your place to go for events in the United States and Canada.
Being a music fan usually involves concerts and other live events. Well to go to those events requires tickets!! Ticketmaster is one of the largest outlets for ticket purchases. Click the first link for US Ticketmaster events, the second one for UK Ticketmaster events.
TigerDirect & TigerDirect Canada
TigerDirect is kind of like Buy.com except it specializes in technology products. No CDs or DVDs here, but all the tools to play them in your computers and fancy ways to upgrade your computers or even get new ones or even reconditioned ones as well too. I’ve bought some laptop accessories that have really come in handy to allow access to the Internet while traveling as well as discounted RAM. The US site ships only to the US and the Canada site only to Canada.
T-Shirt Hell makes some incredibly funny t-shirts, but a lot of their range tends to border on the offensive side. I’ve personally only gone for their “Canadians Like It On Top” and “Canadians are Eh-Holes” designs. They rotate their designs frequently, so if you see a style you like, best to get it right away. They also custom print each order so you get to choose everything from style of shirt to size and color and it’s all made to your specifications. They are great quality shirts too.
One of my favorite retailers specializing in men’s underwear. They also carry other fashion clothing, workout wear, swimwear, and more but they make some of the most comfortable underwear in their own Undergear line. They also offer name brand clothing as well and often have some great sales. Your best bet is an advantage club membership which will get you free shipping and handling for a year. Makes you more inclined to order a few extra pairs throughout the year.
Vertus Software – Bling It!
Vertus Software is the company behind the fun and incredibly easy to use Bling It! software which is a quick and easy program to remove backgrounds and insert new backgrounds as ways to jazz up your profiles on websites like MySpace and FaceBook or even jazz up your eBay auctions by giving the images backgrounds that make the products stand out. I’ve personally tested out the software on a bunch of eBay auctions and saw items that didn’t sell using plain background images into auctions and they sold with several bidders to drive the prices up well beyond expectations. Click here if you want to see a more detailed review of my experience with the software as well as samples of before and after pictures.
The airline that brought back cool to flying usually offers great deals on trips to London from the US, check them out here.
VistaPrint is an awesome print house for business cards and just about anything you could think to get pre-printed. I used them constant for custom business cards and even for personal cards which are so much easier to just hand out then to find a spare piece of paper and a pen just to give out or get someone’s phone number or e-mail address. Since the prices are so reasonable, it seems silly not to get some. Whether you use one of their designs or create your own, VistaPrint is a bargain and one I enjoy using frequently.
Vons / Safeway
Vons is my preferred grocery store because their club card earns me flight miles on United. Since you have to buy groceries anyway, might as well get some reward for it that’s meaningful. For every $250 dollars spent at Vons (which is part of the Safeway group of companies) 125 flight miles can be earned on United. I’ve earned several thousand flight miles since since I’ve become a Vons club member. Check them out, they even offer online ordering. Click on Vons if you’re in a Vons serviced area, Safeway for other areas.
YesAsia is a retailer that specializes in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean released products. They offer really reasonable prices and if you spend over a certain minimum, which varies by country, they will ship your order for free. Not a bad deal, in most cases you meet the minimum with only a couple of items. What I especially like is that if what you want is available in Japan, China, or Korea and they don’t have the item listed, send them an email with the details about the item (including barcode or catalogue number) and they will check their suppliers to see if they can get the item for you.
They have a separate site for orders for the US and Canada and one that handles everywhere else in the world. Click the appropriate link for where you’re located to be taken to the correct store. And they even accept PayPal as a payment option if you don’t want to give them your credit card details directly.