Third Annual Real-Life Consumer Guide

Good news: CD prices this year are no higher, and maybe a little lower, than last year. We shopped for 15 likely stocking stuffers at three local stores and two Web sites, and found there is no one cheapest place to buy every item. Online, we tried Pricescan.com, which checks for your item at major e-tailers and reports back the results. It usually did better than Half.com, which claims to perform a similar service when it doesn't have a used copy to sell you; it will also occasionally refer you to eBay. This was our first survey in which J&R beat Sounds overall, but Sounds still came through with a few choice discounts. Not to brag or anything, but last year in this space we asked, "Is this the last year you'll buy 'CDs' in a 'store'?" and this year we found every track on every record on our list (except the jazz selections) on Napster for free. Research: Tyler Kord


Madonna Music
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS$9.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $13.28
HALF/EBAY $11.49

PJ Harvey Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $12.40
HALF/EBAY $12.99

OutKast Stankonia
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $13.09
HALF/EBAY $15.50

Jay-Z The Dynasty: Roc La Familia 2000
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS $13.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $13.09
HALF/EBAY $9.48

U2 All That You Can't Leave Behind
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS $14.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $13.09
HALF/EBAY $14.59

Badly Drawn Boy The Hour of Bewilderbeast
J&R n/a
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM n/a
PRICESCAN $11.19
HALF/EBAY $14.93

Radiohead Kid A
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $12.58
HALF/EBAY $13.00

Go-Betweens The Friends of Rachel Worth
J&R n/a
SOUNDS $11.99
SAM n/a
PRICESCAN $12.45
HALF/EBAY $15.98

Björk Selmasongs
J&R $13.99
SOUNDS $9.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $12.79
HALF/EBAY $10.75

Sun Ra Greatest Hits: Easy Listening for Intergalactic Travel
J&R $14.98
SOUNDS n/a
SAM n/a
PRICESCAN $11.81
HALF/EBAY $15.97

Sonny Rollins This Is What I Do
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS n/a
SAM n/a
PRICESCAN $11.02
HALF/EBAY eBay

Neko Case & Her Boyfriends Furnace Room Lullaby
J&R $13.99
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM $15.99
PRICESCAN $9.99
HALF/EBAY $14.97

Platinum Christmas
J&R $11.99
SOUNDS $9.99
SAM $14.99
PRICESCAN $13.09
HALF/EBAY eBay

Deltron 3030 Deltron 3030
J&R n/a
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM $16.99
PRICESCAN $12.45
HALF/EBAY $16.98

Merle Haggard If I Could Only Fly
J&R n/a
SOUNDS $12.99
SAM $17.99
PRICESCAN $12.58
HALF/EBAY $14.96


Stores: J&R Music World, 23 Park Row; Sounds, 16 and 20 St. Marks Place; Sam Goody, 390 Sixth Avenue

 
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