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Through the Wire

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There's a glut of used CDs out there, and nowhere is this more apparent than the Amazon Marketplace. This section of the giant retailer's Web site (www.amazon.com) allows independent sellers to hawk their wares using Amazon's storefront. It's similar to eBay, but the Marketplace area isn't about auctions — the seller sets a price and the buyer orders the item with a click or two.

Tons of CDs are available cheap; some good albums, in fact, can be had for one cent. How? Sellers charge $2.49 for shipping, which if they work it right will only cost them $1.50 or so. They may make $1 or less per sale, but they're dealing in volume.

Here are four good records for a penny I found while I was browsing the Amazon Marketplace last week. Sukpatch's "Tie Down that Shiny Wave" was a groovy, catchy indie-pop record released on the Beastie Boys' Grand Royal label just before it went under. Many, many dozens of copies of R.E.M.'s "Monster" are out there for almost nothing; yes, it's one of the band's weaker albums, but it still has three or four worthy tracks. Paul Westerburg of The Replacements debuted as a solo artist with "14 Songs," which is still among his best solo works. And Belly's "Star," with the iconic '90s hit "Feed the Tree" is also a bargain at twice the price.

For a shiny penny, plus shipping and handling, any of these can be yours. And nothing more to buy later! S

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