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Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection

Mail Order Sources

Many times it is difficult for the collector to find sufficient selection (or acceptable pricing) at local chain stores that cater primarily to top 40 artists. In this case, mail order may be the only way to locate obscure or rare recordings. Often mail order houses can offer better prices than chain stores, even after shipping charges are added, due to their reduced overhead. In addition, many mail order sources have employees knowledgeable in the area of classical music, a feature often lacking at normal retail sources. However, few mail order firms maintain large inventories, and this may increase the wait time for shipments.

Alphabetically listed below are a few of the mail order sources I have dealt with, or have been recommended by others, that offer reasonable service and pricing. A list of mail order sources that do business over the net, including several that are listed below, can be found on the Retail, Mail Order & CD Clubs page or by following links below.

Berkshire Record Outlet
Route 102
Pleasant Street
Rural Route 1
Lee, MA 01238-9804
Fax 413-243-4340
For credit card orders only 800-992-1200
Web page
They carry classical close-outs and overruns of CDs, tapes, and LPs, often at astounding prices. Look here for older recordings of standards as well as many rarer recordings that evidently didn't sell and are being dumped by the manufacturers and distributors (cut-outs); includes many small labels, including non-US. Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5 EST.
Ethel Enterprises
P.O. Box 1069
Murphy, NC 28906-1069
Orders only 800-648-2042, or Fax 1-828-837-0393
Good selection of recent obscure classical releases and some well-known labels. Free monthly catalog. Short term sales on some new releases, and occasional sales on overstocked items.
H&B Recordings Direct
P.O. Box 309
Waterbury Center, VT 05677
International 802-244-5290
Fax 866-774-9845
Web page
Wide selection of well-known and obscure classical labels. Monthly newsletter available at
Musical Heritage Society
1710 Highway 35
Oakhurst, NJ 07755
Fax 908-517-0438
Web page
Though similar in some respects, this is not the traditional "record club." Monthly booklets are sent out, and they will send you the "featured selection" if you do nothing, but there is no minimum obligation to buy. MHS features an extensive catalogue of music, not limited to the popular repertoire.
Records International
P.O. Box 978
West Springfield, MA 01090
Fax 888-804-5514
24-hour order line 888-804-5515
International orders 413-746-0883, Fax 413-746-5051
International 24-hour 413-746-5090
Web page
Dsitributor of small, independent labels. Informative monthly listings; many hard to get discs, including Japanese.
Tower Records
Orders 800-275-8693, Fax 800-538-6938
International 916-373-3050, Fax 916-373-2930
Web page
All mail order for the nation-wide chain of Tower stores is handled through a single contact. Check for current prices and postage rates.