Magazines don’t have to be old and collectible to have some monetary value for you. You can resell whole magazines, or sell useful articles or collectible photos. But everything is online, you say. How can I make money when people can just read stuff online for free? Even in today’s world of online publishing, there is still value in the traditional print magazine. Not every article is published online, and some of the more obscure, technical, and specialized magazines have very limited online presences. The photos used in the print edition may not appear online, either. There is a market of people out there willing to pay for information and you can give it to them.
Since there are a lot of ways to get free magazines this is a way to make money that does not have to cost you much money. Once you have the magazines, here are some ideas for turning them into cash.
Sell to used bookstores: Many used bookstores will buy your old magazines, particularly anything rare, out of print, or specialized. Some will buy recent issues of popular magazines, as well.
Yard sales: You can sell old magazines at your next yard sale. You might not be able to charge much, but every little bit adds up. If you have a complete set of a magazine, you can charge more for the set.
Turn them into craft projects: You can cut out the pictures or text and make framed prints, decoupage items, collages, and any other creative items you can think of. Once you’ve made your items, sell them on Etsy.com or at local craft fairs.
Sell coupons from magazines: Many magazines have coupons in them, some more than others. Magazines like “All You” offer a lot of coupons, while you may find just one or two in many women’s magazines. At certain times of the year mainstream magazines often contain coupon inserts. The more specialized the magazine, the more specialized (and valuable) the coupons are likely to be. You can sell the coupons on eBay or Craigslist, or use them in your local coupon swap to trade for some that are more valuable to you.
Sell articles on eBay: Articles about DIY, hobby projects, antiques, and craft ideas all sell well on eBay. Recipes sometimes sell, as well, if they are for unique dishes. The more unique or specialized the idea, the better it will sell. You might not make much from an article on how to install flooring since that information is widely available. However, an article on how to make a reproduction Louis XVI sideboard may bring in more money.
Sell magazines as a set: You can command more money if you have a complete set of a magazine, whether it’s a complete year or dating from the first issue to the end of its print run. You can also make sets out of just certain issues. For example, having every Christmas issue of Southern Living might be valuable to someone looking for Christmas ideas. Sets of news magazines do well since a year’s worth of those is like having a printed history of what happened in a given year.
Sell photos or ads: There are collectors who value ads for certain products. There are people who just want a nice photo out of a magazine. You can carefully clip the photos and ads and sell them, or you can sell the whole magazine and let the buyer do the clipping. You can also clip it yourself, frame it, and sell it as a finished product.
Donate them: Many school art departments love old magazines. They use them for craft projects and ideas. Goodwill will also take old magazines and resell them. Women’s shelters, hospitals, and scout troops are other likely avenues for donations. None of these are likely to pay you cash, but you can take a small tax deduction.
Identify what collectors want: If you know what collectors are
looking for, you can command more money. Which celebrities’ photos are in demand? Which artists and photographers works are collectible? Are there any authors that are collectible? Are there certain issues of magazines that are more prized than others? Spend some time trawling eBay and the Internet at large to get a feeling for what is considered collectible and then try to meet that demand. You’ll be able to command higher prices from collectors.
Try selling to local specialty stores: Sometimes you can sell magazines to antique stores if they are old. In college I sold my computer magazines to the local computer repair store. He, in turn, sold them cheap to college kids looking to learn about computers. I know another guy who sells old animal magazines to the local pet shop, vet (for their waiting room), and agri-supply stores. If you have any local mom and pop businesses around, you might be able to unload some of your inventory with them.
You chances of success at this business are better if you can offer information and photos from magazines that aren’t in wide circulation. Everyone has access to “Good Housekeeping,” but not everyone knows about “Pointing Dog Journal,” for example. The articles and photos in the rarer magazines are likely to be worth more because of their rarity and obscurity. However, there is still value in mainstream magazines, you just won’t make quite as much.