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To Club or Not To Club: Buying DVDs Online 
 
by Robbi Erickson October 11, 2005

Buying DVDs online has its pros and cons. Read about DVD clubs and online DVD discount stores. Find the best DVD deals online.

Introduction

With the advent of the DVD player and the virtual explosion of available titles on DVD in the market today, finding the best price for DVDs has become one of the top shopping goals for Americans, especially if they buy several titles each month. With an average retail price between $19.99 and $29.99 DVD prices for new releases can quickly drain the family entertainment budget. However, substantial discounts on DVDs can be found online through movie clubs and discount online movie stores.

If you have ever wondered if it was worth joining a movie club you need to read this article. It will provide you with the membership requirements of two movie clubs as well as their discount and selection advantages and disadvantages. To help you make up you mind on whether you want to club or not, this article will also provide you with information on several online discount movie stores including discounts available, title availability, and shipping charges. After reading this article you will know where to find the best deals on DVDs online.

Columbia House

Perhaps the most well know of all the movie clubs available is Columbia House. In business since 1955, Columbia House began their business offering a wide selection of long playing records to their customers. Today, Columbia House offers three different clubs: a music club, a DVD club, and a TV on DVD Club.

Benefits of Columbia House Benefits

Columbia House membership offers a great selection of benefits and over 7,800 movie titles from classics to new releases to choose from. Once membership requirements have been met, you are offered special sales and bonus offers that allows you to save 50% or more on your favorite movie titles. In addition to special sale prices many movies are always available at extremely low prices with over 1,000 titles priced under $9.99. Finally, Columbia House offers a bonus point program that allows you to accumulate points good towards free movies during special cash in periods during the year.

Membership Requirements

Your initiation into the Columbia House DVD Club will begin with you selecting 5 (or more depending on the offer) DVDs at $0.49 each plus shipping. With your initial selections you must promise to buy five more DVDs at regular price ($19.99) within the next two years. To reduce the number of movies that you will need to buy over the next two years and save money, you can select another title for $14.99 and then only have to purchase four titles, or you can purchase two titles, one at $14.99 and one at $9.99, and then you will only have to buy three more movies over the next two years.

Each month you will receive a mailing with your highlighted director’s selection. You can either accept or deny the selection by checking the appropriate box and returning the card by the reply date. If you want to save a stamp, you can also manage your account and respond to director’s selections online.

If you receive a selection that you don’t want you can email Columbia House and request a postage paid return label to be mailed to you so you can return the unwanted shipment at no cost to you. Your account will be credited for the price of the movie once Columbia House receives the movie back.

Drawbacks

While Columbia House offers a wide selection of DVDs to chose from and they offer many great discounts and deals on movies, you do have to be aware of their shipping and handling charges that they assess. In some cases, especially before you have completed your club membership requirements, the added shipping costs make individual titles more expensive then simply buying them at a store or buying them through another dealer.

Disney Movie Club

If you want to complete your Disney movie collection then you may want to consider joining the Disney Movie Club. This club gives you access to hard to find Disney films in both VHS format and DVD format.

Membership Requirements

Your initiation into this club will begin with you selecting three Disney movies, either DVDs or VHSs, for $1.99 each. By submitting your membership to this club you agree to buy five more titles at the regular price of $14.99 for VHS or $19.99 for DVDs over the next 24 months. To reduce your purchase requirements the club offers you two discounted options. First you can buy a fourth selection at $14.95 for a DVD or $9.95 for a VHS and have only four more selections to buy over the next two years, or you can add a fifth selection at $9.95 for a DVD or $7.49 for a VHS and have only three more selections to purchase over the next two years.

Every four weeks you will receive a club mailing with your monthly director’s selection and sale information. You can respond to the mailing either by filling out the card or by responding online.

Benefits

This club offers you access to Disney titles that are difficult to find anywhere else, especially classic titles. In addition to a great selection of classic and new Disney films, the Disney Movie Club also offers special priced videos and video sets that can save you 50% or more per title.

Drawbacks

Like other online stores you do have to pay for shipping and handling charges. The Disney Movie Club charges $3.95 for the first title plus $1.00 for each additional title. The second drawback to this club is that it takes them longer to process and ship items than a regular online movie store does. As a result, you will need to order items sooner to ensure that they arrive in time for a holiday or birthday.

Overstock.com

If you don’t want to join a movie club you can still find great DVD prices by shopping at an online store like Overstock.com.

Benefits

Overstock.com does not specialize in movies, however, their movie department hosts new releases and classical favorites at great prices. For example a new release like Batman Begins, which retails at most stores for $19.99 +, is listed at Overstock.com for only $15.79. Overstock.com also has clearance bins and movies for $5 and even for $1 each. While these titles are not usually blockbusters, you may be able to find a title that you will enjoy viewing.

In addition to great list prices for movies and a great selection of movies, Overstock.com also has extremely low shipping and handling prices. For movies it is $1.40 to ship one item, with a maximum shipping charge of $2.95.

Finally, Overstock.com offers several convenient payment options including: Master Card, Visa, Bill Me Later, and even a PayPal button. These options allow just about everyone a way to buy online.

Drawbacks

Overstock.com has many advantages including great prices and low shipping charges, however, if you can only receive mail at your PO Box you may have a difficult time getting your movies shipped to you. You may have to contact Overstock.com directly via their 800 number in order to make delivery arrangements that will get your movies to you in a timely manner.

SuperDuperClub.com

SuperDuperClub.com is a four and a half star Yahoo! Shopping rated store that offers a movie supply with over 50,000 titles.

Benefits

The first benefit to the SuperDuperClub.com is that it has such a large library of titles from new releases to old time favorites. It has 56 categories of films that you can select from that include DVD titles, music titles, and even video game selections.

Next, the SuperDuperClub.com offers great prices. I have found that it has prices that are often $10 or more less for TV series box sets than most other sites. For single titles a noticeable discount is seen, however, you will need to do a price comparison for the exact title you want to determine if the SuperDuperClub.com offers you the best price possible.

You can even pre-order high demand releases to ensure that you get a copy at a great low price. You won’t even be charged for the purchase until the item is shipped.

Drawbacks

The drawback to buying online as opposed to shopping at a physical location is that you have to pay for shipping and handling. If you want your items shipped via the postal service you can expect standard delivery charges to be $2.99 +$1.99 (per item). If you want your order shipped via UPS then the charges will be $4.99 + $1.99 per item. And finally if you want your item shipped via FedEx Express 2 Day you will pay $8.99 + $1.99 (per item). As you can see, if you have a large order your shipping expenses may make ordering via the SuperDuperClub.com more expensive than if you just picked the items up at the store.

The second drawback to using this online store is that you can’t use PayPal or check by phone to pay for your order. If you don’t have a major credit card, you won’t be able to shop at this online store.

DeepDiscountDVD.com

DeepDiscountDVD.com is similar to the SuperDuperClub.com in regards to the number and types of titles that are available.

Benefits

DeepDiscountDVD.com offers several benefits. The first benefit is that they offer free standard shipping via USPS on all orders. If you want your order faster you can select to pay for expedited shipping methods such as priority mail ($4.95), UPS 2nd Day Air ($6.95), or even UPS Overnight Delivery ($12.95).

The second benefit of DeepDiscountDVD.com is that they offer Bill Me Later, which allows qualified buyers to buy now and pay later through a third party lender. You won’t have to start payments for three months and you can make payments to Bill Me Later online if you want, or you can pay via snail mail.

Drawbacks

The drawback to ordering anything online is that you have to be able to pay for the purchase electronically. If you don’t have a credit card, or if you don’t qualify for Bill Me Late, than you won’t be able to shop at this online store.

Wal-Mart.com

If you live in the United States then you have probably heard of or shopped at a Wal-Mart store at some point in your life. Wal-Mart offers great low prices on their merchandise and their online store offers the same discounting as their physical stores do.

Benefits

The first benefit that WalMart.com offers is that you get the same great prices offered in the physical stores. For new releases, this usually means a three to four dollar discount during the first week the movie is released on DVD. In addition to getting the new release sale price, you also are able to buy the bonus packs that include a free gift such as a soundtrack, toy, or in some cases another DVD.

Drawbacks

Shipping costs and delivery times are again the drawbacks to shopping online at WalMart.com. To determine the exact shipping costs you will need to go online and place items in your virtual shopping cart to see how much it will cost to ship your items to your location.

Finding the Best Price

While the initial benefit of club shopping means movies for a dollar or two each, later shopping may actually cost you more per titles than if you shopped at a physical store. Online discount stores are one way to reduce your pre title prices, however, finding what store has the best price for the title you want may take a bit of research. One way to quickly locate the best price is to use a search engine shopping site such as shopping.yahoo.com. Here you can enter the DVD title that you are looking for and sort the list of stores that carry it by price. You will quickly be able to see what store has the best list price and shipping charges for that title, making your online shopping faster and cheaper.


 

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