So, you’re a fan of movies. You have a burning desire to collect them all, or maybe you are a collector of something else and feel a bit of the urge to expand your hobbies. But where do you start? What should you consider going into such a venture?
Or maybe you just like movies and want some tips and tricks for protecting your investment and find more cool content.
Either way, we have your back here at TheNerdMentality.com. In this article we will discuss many topics on collecting Blu-ray, so strap in and enjoy the ride.
Finding your collection
When I say finding your collection, I mean the first step you should consider is to determine what it is that you are interested in collecting. Do you want to own every movie that comes out on Blu-ray? Are you interested in a specific genre? Maybe you have a favorite director or actor that you want to support? It all boils down to defining your collection so you know what you’re after. Don’t have anything in particular you want to collect? Unsure and want to decide later? That is perfectly ok as well. It’s your collection, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong.
Here are some popular collection types when it comes to Blu-ray:
- Boutique distributors (Blu-ray distributors who release specialized packaging and/or cult and niche films)
- Steelbook collecting
- Collecting specific directors and/or actors
- Special Edition collecting
- IMDB Top 100/250/500
- Best Picture collection
- Slipcover collecting
Where to buy, how to get good deals
Once you know what you are looking for (or if you are just looking for anything), the next step is to find the best place to get it. While Amazon is a great place to start (they generally have somewhat decent prices), it’s entirely possible that they won’t have what you are looking for or will be higher priced than what you want to pay. So, where else can you go?
Well, there are two types of stores, so we will break up this section into two. The first type is brick and mortar. These are your Best Buy, Target, and Walmarts, where most new releases will hit shelves on Tuesdays and prices are generally MSRP unless you find a good sale. These “big box” stores will have weekly deals in their Sunday ads, random price drops and deals, and of course, Black Friday.
Apart from the big box stores, there are plenty of smaller shops to find good deals. Pawn shops, movie rental shops, and used book, music, and movie stores all can house great prices and hidden gems if you stumble in the right place at the right time. Don’t forget to check the thrift store shelves if you’re out and about. I’ve personally found some out of print titles for mega cheap in my ventures.
Itching to do some shopping during the late hours? No good shops around town? Well don’t worry, the internet has you covered. Places like eBay and Amazon are great, of course, as are the online versions of the big box retailers (bestbuy.com, target.com, walmart.com, and barnesandnoble.com, to name a few), but there are a wide range of specialty shops that will either provide good deals or help you find the niche titles you’re looking for. Diabolikdvd.com is a top choice for cult horror and boutique distributor releases. Speaking of boutique distributors, each one will have their own shop, and they generally will each have at least one sale a year, so keep an eye out. (The fine folks over on the boutique blu-ray subreddit have a calendar of sales).
The best place to hear about deals, both in store or online, is the Blu-ray.com forums. In fact, the website should be bookmarked and you should sign up right now. Apart from being the biggest forum on blu-ray collecting, you will also find a for sale and trade forum, and a forum dedicated to the best deals that are currently going on, and a handy collection tracker so you don’t accidentally double dip. This has been the best place I’ve found for getting great priced movies and the best deals to take advantage of.
One last hot spot would be Amazon Warehouse Deals. While this is not a good way to get a specific movie, you can often find good deals on movies that have been returned to Amazon. Theforklift.net aggregates these deals and turns them into a feed that you can sort down into categories. When you filter down to the movies section, you will see a handful of titles put up every few minutes. These items can be in varying states, so be careful of the listed condition, but the pricing cannot be beat in a lot of cases.
Storage, Sorting, and Protection
Once you have these movies, the real fun can begin. And no, I’m not talking about watching them silly, I’m talking about showing them off!
Space is the bane of every collector’s existence, no matter what it is that you collect. I won’t go into detail here about how you should store and display your collection because I don’t know what your situation is. I do know that at some point you will run out of space, and when you do, it’s time to start shopping for a bigger house, amirite?
Apart from the typical wall or bookshelves, some people prefer to put their discs into a CD storage book and either toss the cases or put them in boxes and store them separately. This certainly reduces the space requirement drastically, but those books can scratch discs and they are a giant pain to put new movies in and shuffle them all around, but to each their own.
When it comes to sorting your collection, everyone has their own method, but here are some popular ones:
- By distributor
- By year
- By genre
- A mix of the above
Personally, I have my collection broken into a handful of sections, each alphabetized. The sections include: boutique and cult distributors, SteelBooks, 4K, Disney and Marvel, Performing Arts, Documentaries, TV shows, and then everything else. I also have all of my Criterions on their own shelf because they are a special case (I really like them).
There is certainly no “right” way to do this, and, like storage, will vary depending on the size and shape of your room and the size of your collection. Let us know below in the comments how you do it! Better yet, let’s see some pictures of your collection!
Protection. <Insert condom joke here>. While most collectors don’t choose to use sleeves for their movies, I do in some cases, and will likely extend the use to every movie in my collection at some point. This is half from OCD and half from having pets and a baby in the house.
If you don’t know what I am talking about, you can check out the two styles I use here and here. I use these to protect my slipcovers and boutique Blu-ray that were a bit more expensive (or out of print/worth more). I am a big fan of these as they look great and keep the Blu-ray from getting dusty/spilled on. They may seem a bit expensive, but if spending up to a dollar to protect a twenty dollar investment can save me from having to buy a movie twice, I’m all for it.
Once you have amassed a collection, you’ll want a quick and easy way to sort through them to see what you have. Or, if you’re like me, your friends and family will want an easily accessed list to peruse and determine what they want to borrow. No matter what the reason, most collectors end up wanting to catalog their collection.
There are a handful of ways to do this, of course. You can create your own database or use excel to keep a spreadsheet, you can use an app on your phone or tablet such as iCollect Movies Pro, or you can use Blu-ray.com’s collection feature. There are pros and cons to each method, so you will have to choose for yourself. Personally, I prefer Blu-ray.com’s collection manager because I spend a good deal of time on their forums and am usually already on the page looking at the deals. Also, my larger collection size has caused problems in some other apps.
- TheNerdMentality.com (duh!) – reviews, release dates, podcasts
- Blu-ray.com – great forums, reviews, release dates, sales info
- Just the Slips podcast – our crew talk about the newest releases and roundtable movies
- Reddit.com/r/dvdcollection – the name is just old, this is a subreddit for collectors of all types of movies
- Reddit.com/r/boutiquebluray – subreddit dedicated to boutique Blu-ray
- HiDefDigest.com – release dates, reviews, forums
- ReDVDit.com/reviews – reviews, release date news
Hints, Tips, and Lessons Learned
To close this out, I’ll list out a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned, as well as a couple lessons that I’ve learned from my time collecting movies.
- While cataloging can be tedious and annoying, it can save money in the long run. I’ve accidentally double dipped when I couldn’t remember having already bought a title, multiple times.
- If you don’t care about digital copies, you can sell your UV codes on the Blu-ray.com forums or on the reddit.com/r/dvdcollection monthly digital sale and trade thread.
- Similarly, if you don’t care about slipcovers, you can often find buyers for them as well.
- New releases will come out at a discounted price for the first week in most retailers. Then, they will go up to MSRP for a week or two before dropping. (Not always the case, but the lesson to be learned here is that if you miss out on buying it in the first week, give it a couple weeks before scooping it up)
- Patience is a virtue. Save up and take advantage of sales!
- Barnes and Noble has two 50% off Criterion sales a year (Summer and Fall).
- Arrowfilms.co.uk has a sale every quarter.
- Shout Factory/Scream Factory generally has sales during holidays throughout the year.
- If you want a Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook release, you should probably preorder it — you get points for RewardZone and you don’t have to rush to get a copy before they sell out.
- Mechanical Turking is a great way to pay for Amazon orders. Don’t know what turking is? Check it out here, I’ve earned just under four thousand dollars in the three and a half years I’ve been turking (and I only turk in free time in between video games or while I’m doing something else).
That that, my friends, is that. Let me know what your collection is like in the comments, and if you have any tips or tricks of your own, share them here!