Why You Should Photograph Your Physical Media Collection

Owning physical media has its benefits , especially in the era of streaming and digital distribution, but it also comes with risks such as loss, damage, or theft. That’s why it’s wise to keep detailed records of your collection in case something bad happens. The easiest way is to take a photo of the item’s serial number. This is a common practice in hardcore collectors’ circles, but useful to anyone who buys physical media.

Chances are, the expensive things you own, like cars or even home appliances, are protected by warranties and insurance policies, but your bookshelf of Nintendo games, classic movies, or vinyl records is not. And while you can take out an insurance policy for your collection of physical media, this is usually not necessary (unless you have a certain rare or extremely valuable item that you have gone out of your way to insure).

Instead, simply having detailed photographic records of the serial numbers for every item in your collection—or at least the rare or special items you care about most—can help you recover damages from homeowners insurance in the event of fire or other circumstances. disaster.

Similarly, if someone breaks in and makes off with your collection, you can use the list to get stolen items back if they show up in pawnshops or online marketplaces like Craigslist. They will also help you resolve any issues with shipping, shipping or travel companies if something is damaged or lost along the way.

Entries don’t have to be fancy; just take some photos of the product serial codes and save them on your phone, maybe save them on your computer and cloud storage to make sure you have multiple copies. Almost every media you buy has some kind of serial code or product ID – you’ll find them on video games, Blu-rays, CDs, vinyl records, books, graphic novels. The same goes for technical gadgets such as computers, tablets, smartphones or game consoles.

Of course, you can get more detailed information about your documentation, such as creating spreadsheets with the title, serial code, photos, and other important information if you like. There are even apps for cataloging games, comics, movies, and magazines that include barcode scanning and cross-platform tracking. But the bare minimum is to photograph important or highly valued items in your collection so you can refer to them later if necessary.

The most important part is to make sure you are documenting the correct number. Serial codes and other product identification numbers can appear anywhere: on the spine of a book or disc, in a printed manual, or even on the back of a video game cartridge. A quick web search can help you find where the numbers are (and which ones you want to keep track of).

Admittedly, it’s tiring to find, photograph, and tabulate a large collection of physical media, but even if you only do it for the most expensive (or most valuable) items, you’ll be glad you took the time if disaster ever strikes.


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