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Old 11-12-2012, 10:47 PM   #1
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A roundabout way for Canadians to save on Kobo e-books and e-readers

I was watching Dragon's Den and they had a pitcher for a service called CardSwap.ca on the show. The site buys people's unused gift cards, and/or sells you gift cards. As you buy gift cards you accumulate points that you can use (when you have enough) to buy other gift cards, or just convert to PayPal cash.

For the last few months I've been using it and it's been great. You can use Chapters/Indigo gift cards with Kobo to buy e-books, or with Chapters/Indigo/Coles (online and off) to buy e-readers.

I've averaged about 9% savings so far, and it's a way of saving money on agency books (or magnifying savings on non-agency books, if you're using a discount code). To Kobo it's just a gift card, the fact that you realised a savings by buying it is neither here or there as far as they're concerned.

What I did was start bulking up on gift cards to buy first my Glo, then again to buy a Glo for my girlfriend's daughter, and then again to pre-order a Kobo Arc for my girlfriend. I suppose if you preferred to buy your readers at Future Shop or Best Buy you could buy their gift cards for the readers, but only Chapters/Indigo gift cards can be used for e-books.

Amazon.ca is on there too, but because you can't buy e-books or e-readers from Amazon.ca (or use those gift cards on Amazon.com) that's not useful to e-book enthusiasts.

If you're going to buy e-books from Kobo anyway, you might as well do it this way and get the bonuses for first buying the gift cards. I buy them right before I anticipate spending them, so I'm pre-paying for a short-term use (rather than a long-term use).

So far in buying two Glo readers, a Kobo Arc, and two sleepcovers, and a couple of e-books, I've saved about $70. Not a huge savings given I had to spend over $700 (after tax) to get that savings, but if you're going to spend the money anyway you might as well get whatever savings you can get.

Mods: I'm just a consumer of this service, so this is not meant to be promotional in any way. I'm not getting any bonuses or kickbacks from CardSwap for recommending them, either. In fact, since CardSwap is a supply/demand driven service, it's actually detrimental to me to let anyone here know about it as it reduces the supply of Chapters/Indigo gift cards of their site, and the most popular gift cards on CardSwap (Tim Horton's, Canadian Tire, etc.) pay out the smallest numbers of points to purchasers. But I've benefited from the recommendations of other Mobileread users, so it's only fair I return the favour.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:05 AM   #2
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If anyone ends up trying this out, I'd love to hear about your experiences with it.

Last edited by scrapking; 11-13-2012 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:02 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrapking View Post
I was watching Dragon's Den and they had a pitcher for a service called CardSwap.ca on the show. The site buys people's unused gift cards, and/or sells you gift cards. As you buy gift cards you accumulate points that you can use (when you have enough) to buy other gift cards, or just convert to PayPal cash.

For the last few months I've been using it and it's been great. You can use Chapters/Indigo gift cards with Kobo to buy e-books, or with Chapters/Indigo/Coles (online and off) to buy e-readers.

I've averaged about 9% savings so far, and it's a way of saving money on agency books (or magnifying savings on non-agency books, if you're using a discount code). To Kobo it's just a gift card, the fact that you realised a savings by buying it is neither here or there as far as they're concerned.

What I did was start bulking up on gift cards to buy first my Glo, then again to buy a Glo for my girlfriend's daughter, and then again to pre-order a Kobo Arc for my girlfriend. I suppose if you preferred to buy your readers at Future Shop or Best Buy you could buy their gift cards for the readers, but only Chapters/Indigo gift cards can be used for e-books.

Amazon.ca is on there too, but because you can't buy e-books or e-readers from Amazon.ca (or use those gift cards on Amazon.com) that's not useful to e-book enthusiasts.

If you're going to buy e-books from Kobo anyway, you might as well do it this way and get the bonuses for first buying the gift cards. I buy them right before I anticipate spending them, so I'm pre-paying for a short-term use (rather than a long-term use).

So far in buying two Glo readers, a Kobo Arc, and two sleepcovers, and a couple of e-books, I've saved about $70. Not a huge savings given I had to spend over $700 (after tax) to get that savings, but if you're going to spend the money anyway you might as well get whatever savings you can get.

Mods: I'm just a consumer of this service, so this is not meant to be promotional in any way. I'm not getting any bonuses or kickbacks from CardSwap for recommending them, either. In fact, since CardSwap is a supply/demand driven service, it's actually detrimental to me to let anyone here know about it as it reduces the supply of Chapters/Indigo gift cards of their site, and the most popular gift cards on CardSwap (Tim Horton's, Canadian Tire, etc.) pay out the smallest numbers of points to purchasers. But I've benefited from the recommendations of other Mobileread users, so it's only fair I return the favour.
This is a scam. It is also unethical.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jackastor View Post
This is a scam. It is also unethical.
How is this a scam? As far as I can tell, they purchase giftcards from consumers at a discount to value on the card then re-sell the card at full value. They keep the difference as the brokering charge.

As for unethical, I think I need an explanation as I can't see what morals are being broken here.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:26 AM   #5
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The church I attend uses a service called FundScrip for fundraising purposes. The way it works is that you purchase gift cards from them at face value (ie $100 for a Loblaws $100 card), and then the church receives a percentage of the card's value (Loblaws 3%, Chapters 5% as an example).

So basically, it's a win-win situation; I get gift cards for stores I want, and the church gets a small % of the value.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackastor View Post
This is a scam. It is also unethical.
not a scam. it works off the prinicple that if i am given a gift card to a store i do not shop at (such as children's clothing, but my kids are too old), i can swap it for something i would actually use such as gift card to a book store.

so, not a scam, but since some cards do say they can't be transferred, i do wonder about the legality. though i've always found it odd when a gift card says it can't be transferred, since that's really what a gift card is ... me giving something to someone else.

anyhoo, looks interesting, but also looks like too much work for me. i'm much more likely to just regift a gift card for a store i don't use.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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Earlier this year I used CardSwap to get a $25 Esso gas station gift card for $0.25. They had 50 of them. I had the card in my hand within 4 days. It was great. I would totally recommend using them for gift cards. I never thought of using it for ebooks though. Thanks for the post Scrapking! Karma coming your way
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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Earlier this year I used CardSwap to get a $25 Esso gas station gift card for $0.25.
Wow, that's unreal. Was that just a promotion via CardSwap from Esso (they give some cheap gift cards in exchange for customer acquisition)?

Quote:
I would totally recommend using them for gift cards. I never thought of using it for ebooks though. Thanks for the post Scrapking! Karma coming your way
I've found it even more valuable when saving up for a new e-reader, since it's easier to predict how much I'll be spending and when I'll spend it, but I do use it for both readers and e-books.

Oh, and thanks for the karma!
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:40 PM   #9
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Wow, that's unreal. Was that just a promotion via CardSwap from Esso (they give some cheap gift cards in exchange for customer acquisition)?



I've found it even more valuable when saving up for a new e-reader, since it's easier to predict how much I'll be spending and when I'll spend it, but I do use it for both readers and e-books.

Oh, and thanks for the karma!
It was a one day sale. I swear I spent 8 straight hours on that site (at work) trying to get the 'Buy Now' button to pop up. It ended at 4pm and I finally got it at 3:57pm. There were A LOT of people going for them and they only released 10 cards at a time every few hours. It was a crazy day.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:13 PM   #10
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This is a scam. It is also unethical.
I'd like to re-iterate the requests of those who asked how you figure this is a scam, and how it's unethical? I can't see how it's either.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:09 AM   #11
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How is this a scam? As far as I can tell, they purchase giftcards from consumers at a discount to value on the card then re-sell the card at full value. They keep the difference as the brokering charge.

As for unethical, I think I need an explanation as I can't see what morals are being broken here.
Because they buy the cards for far less the face value this makes it unethical and preys on desperation of people in a bind.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:53 AM   #12
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Because they buy the cards for far less the face value this makes it unethical and preys on desperation of people in a bind.
I fail to see how buying something for one price then re-selling it at a higher price is either unethical or a scam. It is simple brokering.

If it is a scam/unethical to buy at one price and sell at a higher price, then all retail businesses are a scam. in fact, pretty much all business is a scam/unethical by this definition.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:55 AM   #13
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Because they buy the cards for far less the face value this makes it unethical and preys on desperation of people in a bind.
What do you mean? People sell things all the time because they need the money...like cars or stereos. See any local pawn shop. Most people sell these cards because they'll never use them. You make a choice to sell it, nobody makes you do it. Some people also swap for cards they can use. I have a Keg gift card for $50 I got as a christmas bonus at work. I already know I don't have the other $50 I would have to spend out of pocket because everything is so expensive there, so I sell it for $40 on CardSwap and get something I can actually use. What is so unethical about it? I made a *choice* to sell something I don't want and get something that I do want, whether it's cash or another card. If you don't want to do it that's fine, but there are people that do use the site and can save at least a little bit of money on occasion.

I'm hoping to grab a couple gift cards for my stepdaughter for christmas this year and save a couple bucks while doing it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:38 AM   #14
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I don't think it's unethical at all. I used to get cards for stores like The BAy from an old friend of mine. The town I live in doesn't5 have a Bay store. I would have been happy to sell my card rather than take a train in to the city and spend the day there just to use a $50 gift cert.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:46 PM   #15
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Because they buy the cards for far less the face value this makes it unethical and preys on desperation of people in a bind.
Don't they buy the gift cards for something like 80% of face value? How is that "far less" than face value?!
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