If you’re looking to buy your physical from somewhere other than Amazon, there are options – these ones, in fact.
Appreciating that this site uses Amazon links to help pay the bills, consider this our latest effort to burn a boat that we’re reliant on sitting in.
But still: it’s little secret that one of the reasons we have fewer disc retailers on the high street, or even online, is that Amazon has gobbled up the market. Deserved to a point: as better people than me have pointed out, it’s hard to ever argue that you want to pay more and wait longer for your deliveries. But still: we’re now at a point where you search for something on the site and get a host of ‘sponsored’ results distracting you from what you actually wanted to search for. Finding what you want – ironically, given that it always used to be such an Amazon strength – is being obfuscated as Amazon chooses to eat more money instead.
Recently, then, a former colleague of mine shared the story of her attempts to have an Amazon-free Christmas, so concerned was she about the erosion of choice, and the dominance of one retailer. It got me wondering how easy would that be for those of us who want to buy DVDs, Blu-rays and Ultra HD 4K Blu-rays.
Here’s what I came up with. I’ll keep adding to the list if you want to recommend further outlets in the comments…
Through The Hut group, that underpins it, Zavvi is one of the longest-running disc etailers out there. With regular deals, and stocking discs from pretty much everyone, it’s a popular choice. Especially so for Steelbooks, which is has an enviable supply of. Find it here.
Rebuilding its online presence following the business changing hands at the start of last year, HMV’s webshop is now back up and running. The range is broadening. But of particular note there are the exclusives it has on certain Blu-ray releases. In some cases, it’s the only UK outlet that has access to such releases, so check out the exclusives section (Blinded By The Light Blu is one such exclusive, for instance). Link here.
This is, on the quiet, an enterprise formed by Sony Pictures and Universal, to offer a different retail outlet for their discs. It’s why Zoom – at the moment – doesn’t sell, for instance, Warner Bros discs, but that will change when the Universal/Warner Bros physical media merger takes place next year. Find the store here.
Appreciating choosing to go from Amazon to eBay is a bit like jumping off of one of The Rock’s biceps and straight onto another, there are lots of independent retailers who do their business through the firm. Music Magpie, for one, lists approximately 64 trillion old DVDs and Blu-rays. Deals are there to be had. I’d put the weblink in, but suspect you already know it.
Warner Bros Online Store
Last year, Warner Bros revamped its online store and started directly selling its discs to the likes of you and us. There’s a lot of Game Of Thrones stuff on there, and occasional movie offers too. More here.
Arrow Online Store
With early bird pricing on preorders, occasional unmissable special offers and the huge range of Arrow’s impressive DVD and Blu-rays, the firm’s excellent online store is very much worth checking out. Find it here.
The excellent disc label 88 Films sells you its range of discs on its own website. You can find it here.
With free shipping when you spend over £50, the range of terrific Second Sight releases is available to buy direct. You can do so here.
As well as selling copies of our magazine, the BFI’s online store also has a sizeable, impressive selection of DVDs and Blu-rays. For arthouse and world cinema, it’s an excellent resource. You’ll also find a lot of British movies, and a few sojourns into the mainstream too. Find the shop here.
Hive is best known as a high street-supporting online retailer, best known mainly for its books. You pay a little more, but you support independent outlets as you do so. There’s also a selection of discs to choose from too at the site. You can find it at www.hive.co.uk
Of course, there are still Actual Real Shops (TM) that sell discs, but you probably know about most of them. The supermarkets currently sell the bulk of physical discs at retail in the UK, and tend to concentrate their ranges on DVDs. Blu-rays and occasionally 4K discs are to be found in bigger stores. Boxsets are a no-no (too much shelf space taken up that could be filled with some more of those weird garden gnomes that Asda sells). For those (the discs, not the gnomes), you need to head to HMV or Fopp stores. Or, if you’re on the hunt for second hand discs, CEX and every charity shop in the country.
For a more eclectic range of films – and this is genuinely not taking the piss – venture to your local garden centre. Appreciating I’m old enough to remember when garden centres sold garden stuff, they’ve become an unlikely repository of more ‘niche’ older titles. I still half expect my local to sell VHS players, such is the range of vintage classics to be found.
Furthermore, Universal has its standees in places such as Primark and Debenhams. If you’re on the lookout for a last-minute disc present, you could do worse. I mean, you could do better. But you could do worse. WHSmith still has a small supply of discs too.
There are, thankfully, some independents who keep disc retailing going. If you do have a local independent DVD store, tell us about it, and please support it.
Finally, there’s always fun to be had at the counter of your local petrol station, if you want to find out what the actual RRP of a disc is, rather than the discounted price it sells for elsewhere.
As I said, I’ll keep updating this list…
Lead image: BigStock
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