Not-So-Easy Money: Portable Media Players, Digital Cameras, and Other Gadgets
Portable media players and other gadgets are kind of a mixed bag. iPods are probably the easiest MP3 player to sell (particularly the iPod Touch), and devices that haven't dramatically changed their core functionality in between generations (the Amazon Kindle, for example) can find a buyer.
Likewise, specialized gadgets like the Kaossilator tend to stay at a fairly fixed price for a niche eBay audience.
Point-and-shoot cameras can sell fairly well. There hasn't been a tremendous jump in image quality over the last three years or so, and unless you're planning on making very large prints of your photos, anything over 8 megapixels is probably overkill.
Instead, newer cameras are competing by offering different in-camera features and powerful zoom lenses--not necessarily image quality. However, older new-in-box point-and-shoot models show up almost every week in our Deals slideshows, meaning it's not quite so easy to get a good price for your older used model.
Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras can sell better than used point-and-shoots for two reasons: first, like point-and-shoot cameras, newer DSLR models are aggressively offering more features (HD video recording, for one) but not significantly increasing image quality, meaning that older models are still plenty usable.
Second, many newer photographers may be priced out of the new DSLR market and would be happy to take a used model off your hands for a slightly cheaper price. Also, if you've taken good care of your lenses and you don't need some of them, selling them can be a good way to raise some cash.
Not Recommended: HDTVs, Displays, Inkjet Printers, Storage Devices
HDTVs aren't resold very often. Not only can they be a pain in the neck to ship, but people tend to keep the same TV and display much longer than they'd keep a laptop or a cell phone. So by the time you're ready to get a new TV, your old one is likely to be fairly antiquated.
Computer monitors have leveled off somewhat, meaning that your older model could probably sell just fine. Unlike TVs, displays don't get bigger because anything larger than 24 inches isn't really useful for desktop environments, and most display-tech advances are aimed more at photo professionals than at the average desktop user.
But like HDTVs, monitors are a pain to ship, so you'll probably be sticking to Craigslist to unload your old display.
A new inkjet printer is generally fairly inexpensive (subsidized by high ink prices, no doubt), and the printer industry doesn't seem to add features all that quickly, so it's probably more sensible to keep your printer until it breaks, because it's harder to sell a used printer when new ones are relatively cheap (and therefore more compelling to would-be buyers).
Laser printers, however, have a healthy resale value, so if you're looking for a model with better color quality, toner efficiency, memory, or print speed, you could probably find a small business looking to take it off your hands for a decent price, as long as you can still find toner cartridges for that particular model.
Start with your local Craigslist posting--shipping a gigantic printer can be a tremendous pain, and might eat into your bottom line. Brand names matter, too--so your HP, Epson, Canon, or Lexmark printer has a better shot than a lesser-known brand.
Storage media is kind of a strange item to sell used--after all, your storage needs typically don't decrease, and by the time you're done with a drive, it's probably going to be: (1) much smaller than the mainstream drives out there, and (2) well on its way to drive failure.
If you do decide to sell your hard drive or old memory cards, follow the steps in our video, "How to Completely Erase a Hard Drive" (not the ones involving the hammer, though) to make sure no one else gets their hands on your data.