App Showdown - Zapper 🆚 MusicMagpie


It is time for me to have a clear out. I've got hundreds of books which I've replaced with eBook, CDs which I never listen to, and DVDs I'm ashamed to own.

Selling them individually on eBay or Amazon sounds like a lot of hard work... That's where Zapper and MusicMagpie come in. Both offer the same basic service:

  • Scan the item's barcode with the app.
  • The app makes you a cash offer for your book/CD/DVD.
  • You send a big box of your stuff to them.
  • They send you money.

Let's get one thing out of the way first - you would almost certainly get more money if you were able to sell your stuff directly to customers. But do you really want the hassle of creating listings, answering customer questions, packing and shipping, dealing with returns, etc? No, probably not. So you let these companies make a profit in return for your sanity.

Usability

Both apps are stunningly simple - they've got a good onboarding process and you can complete nearly everything just on your mobile. The only other thing needed is a printer in order to get a label for your boxes.

Zapper and MusicMagpie won't make an offer
Zapper on the left, Music Magpie on the right.

That said, there are some clear usability advantages in Zapper.

  • Zapper has a much larger scanning window.
  • MusicMagpie doesn't tell me the name of the book it has rejected - so I'm not always sure if it's scanned the correct code.
  • This is hard to convey in a blog post - but Zapper plays a "happy" sound when it recognises a barcode and can make you an offer. When it can't offer you any money, it plays a "sad" tone. This is so useful when scanning in dozens of books! If you get the happy beep, put it in a box - if not, back on the shelf. MusicMagpie, by contrast, plays the same default beep time and again. It gets really annoying.

Prices

After scanning a few books with MusicMagpie, I decided to see what offers I could get on Zapper.

Some would only get me a quid on one, while the other offered me five times that. On some, there was only a few pence difference.

Zapper and MusicMagpie offer different prices on same book
Zapper on the left, Music Magpie on the right.

Similarly, some books weren't accepted by one, while their rival was happy to take them.

But how does that compare to retail costs? As an example, The Complete Beatles Chronicle sells for about £4.50 + £2.80 postage second-hand on Amazon - or 77p + £2.79 delivery on Alibris.

Depending on how much time you have, you may be able to make more cash selling direct. As a very rough estimate, I reckon I could have at least doubled my money if I'd used multiple sites and if I'd found willing buyers and if I could use bulk postage and if I sold everything.

Delivery

Right, so you've packed up all the books in a cardboard box, you've printed off the labels, now what?

Zapper uses Collect+ - so you can pop round to your local corner shop, hand over the parcels, and they get picked up by a courier.

MusicMagpie has a free courier service - I left the boxes outside my front door and a myHermes delivery driver picked them up.

Both were very convenient and hassle free.

MusicMagpie also offer a drop-off service, but I wasn't able to find it in the app.

Payment

This is what it comes down to. How easy is it to get your cash? Both companies reserve the right to reject any of the goods you send them if they're not of saleable quality. No torn pages, scratches, or cracked boxes. They won't return anything, they'll just recycle it. None of my shipments were rejected - and some of the books were a bit dog-eared, so they seem fairly generous.

MusicMagpie picked the box up on the 6th. They received it on the 9th. On the 10th they paid £48.46 into my back account via BACS electronic transfer. Brilliant!

Zapper was significantly worse. I dropped the boxes off at the pickup point on the 5th. They told me they'd received them on the 10th. On the 15th the goods were assessed. On the 16th they authorised my payment. On the 22nd they posted out a cheque(!) On the 25th I received the cheque. I'm still waiting for the £58.13 to clear.

Seriously - who uses cheques any more? They're wasting money on postage, generating losses from missing deliveries, and probably have an increased customer service level as a result. Worse still, they're wasting my time.

Conclusion

Zapper is, without a doubt, the better app. So much thought has gone into its design. The sounds are delightful, and the process for adding and removing items is easier than MusicMagpie.

While both are fairly easy to use, Zapper definitely has the edge.

Prices are similar across both - there were only a few outliers in price.

But Zapper is really let down with its cheque-only payment options.

So, if you can't wait for your cash, use MusicMagpie. The app isn't brilliant, and the prices aren't always the highest, but it is the fastest way to get your money.

If you're not desperate, scan your stuff using both apps and go with the highest price per item.

2 thoughts on “App Showdown - Zapper 🆚 MusicMagpie

  1. A good summary – however, there is one very good reason for going with cheques.
    If you get paid by a cheque then the company doesn’t need to know your bank account details. Which if your only going to use the service once or twice a year is probably worth the extra hassle when you compare it with the risk.

    1. There's absolutely zero risk to sharing your bank details. After all, they're printed on every cheque you give out.

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