Best places to find vinyl


I am a long time vinyl enthusiast.  I used to travel a lot for work and was able, sometimes, to voyage out to thrift and antique stores during working hours and search for albums.  Found some great ones, too.  Curious as to others' routines and methods to expand their collections.  In warmer months, there are some flea markets nearby and I have found a few good ones although I am not very fond of that method.  Never used Ebay or online auctions though.  There is just something about the thrill of finding it on my own, and inspecting it before i buy it...the thrill of the hunt!
awhittington
I have one of the best and largest LRS in the USA about 30 minutes from myself.

Their prices are very fair to start with but they also when overstocked throw some very Good stuff in the bargain bins at $1 each.

My last visit I bought 217 albums this way... Lol.

Flea markets around here have just vastly overpriced junk, not even worthy of the $1 bin but all seem to think ALL vinyl is now worth a fortune and charge accordingly.

I have bought some rareties from EBay and Discogs to complete collections but it can be a crap shoot for sure.
I have a very good, but small, Local Record Store (LRS). There are 2 more larger quality record stores in my metro area, and a few other small ones. I visit the local one regularly, about once every week or two. I visit the others when I'm driving in that area. There are also 2-3 Half Price Book Stores in my metro and I look through their records a couple of times a year.

I use eBay and Discogs to buy stuff I want NOW without waiting for it to show up in the bin at the LRS. I've had OK luck with it, but the prices are typically higher and the grading is typically off by a grade, or sometimes two. You just have to know that going into the transaction. But I still prefer a VG+ or NM- original used record at $5-$15 to a brand new re-issue at $30.
I rarely find what I’m chasing (if I’m after a particular record) in local shops. When I lived in NY, I would canvass many, along with the record shows; now, in Austin, with a decent number of shops and a pretty large show. And back in the day, I did hit record shops wherever I travelled for business, pleasure, etc.-- it wasn't necessarily easier then, my interests were just narrower.
I buy mostly online. Discogs, occasionally e-bay, from vendors who have their own websites listing older pressings. I think the further you stray from the stuff that is heavily bought and sold, the more unlikely it is that you will find certain records in stores, particularly if they are ex-US pressings and desirable.
I’m talking older records, not new ones.
Just once I responded to a local Craigslist ad for a small collection of rock albums which were described as very good with little play.

So I trekked. 25 miles to see them and was pretty embarrassed to have to tell the guy that I would not be buying any of them as the condition of the vinyl was very poor(scratches, dirty is a different story) and he needed to revise his ad instead of wasting people a time.

That did not go over too well and we parted on unpleasant terms and I even received a few nasty text from him over the next week's. Ignored them all and they stopped.

First and last time will look on Craigslist for vinyl!

A long time ago (starting in late 1976), when Goldmine Record Collectors Magazine was a huge, monthly print publication, I began buying from sellers of rare and collectable LP’s. And remember, the LP was at that time the main format (almost the only one), and they were plentiful. Certain LP’s were already hard to find, of course, but luckily my musical tastes were out of the mainstream, so the titles I was looking for were not too expensive.

But finding LP’s in what I considered no less than Mint Minus condition proved to be elusive. I soon learned my grading standards were far higher than that of most sellers. Little-by-little I found dealers whose grading was accurate and consistent, and bought only from them. Things are far worse now; every Tom, Dick, and Harry thinks ALL LP’s are worth a small fortune, regardless of condition.

The local record store I frequented when I lived in Portland Oregon in ’77-8 (they stocked UK 45’s and LP’s, hot at the time), and am doing so again since my move back, was playing a US copy of The Kinks Village Green LP when I was in the shop a month-or-so back, and I went over to have a look. It was in maybe VG- condition, and they were not only playing the LP on a cheap turntable/arm/cartridge, they had a price of $60 on it! I already have the LP (and CD) of course, but if I didn’t I sure wouldn’t have paid 60 bucks for theirs. That is NOT a rare LP, and in that condition is not worth anywhere close to that price.

Erik: I paid about 48 Euro, plus 6 E shipping from Germany for the mono reissue of Village Green pressed in 1980 in mint condition. FWIW. Still probably too much, but my notes say impeccable condition. And despite the shipping cost, still way cheaper than many items shipped from UK or elsewhere (Netherlands is brutal).
PS transaction was 3 years ago. 
Prices on ebay have really gone up for original pressings.
Very disheartening.
How is the 180 gram reissue of Village Green? Anybody heard it?
Any other online reliable sources besides those that have been mentioned so far?
Depends on what you mean by reliable?

Discogs is good along with eBay but I would always in your mind downgrade their record grading a notch and you should be all set.

So those pair are reliable in that you will get items that may be very hard to find elsewhere, they might not be exactly as they are depicted in grading and you may have to pay silly money for them!
uberwaltz...thanks!  I like to buy in person just so I can make the determination of the condition.  Great advice though and plan on using it!
Even a visual inspection can only tell you so much- appearance of surfaces, spindle hole wear and if you spin it on a turntable at a shop, warps. Play grading is pretty variable, depending on who is doing the grading- (you may not want a seller to be playing an older album that hasn’t gotten a proper cleaning on a questionable turntable set up). Most visual grading is inflated--I won’t look at anything less than M- for the media (I don’t care as much about the sleeve unless there is an indication of water damage, which is a red flag for mold- stay away!). Records are one of the few products where "very good plus" means not very good. 
I usually engage an online seller in a dialog through the message feature of the e-platform. It not only gives me more info about the record, but about the seller’s standards and knowledge. Make sure you have a right to return if it is an expensive album. I’ve had to do that a few times-- i’m not interested in a discount for a bad playing copy- but the dialogue has helped me screen many records as ’no buy’ before I committed. The cleaning is something you should do unless you know exactly what the seller’s methods are.
whart
Even a visual inspection can only tell you so much- appearance of surfaces, spindle hole wear and if you spin it on a turntable at a shop, warps. Play grading is pretty variable, depending on who is doing the grading ...
This is so true. I've bought records that looked mint and played awful. Conversely, I've bought records that did not look good, but played a-ok.
Agreed on that cleeds!

I bought a job lot of 217 vinyl from my LRS for $200 and even after cleaning I had made up in my mind how they were going to sound from visual.

As per your comments there are a few that I also thought about just throwing away from visual that played straight and true with nary a pop or click.

And ones that looked like never been played that were of lesser SQ than the aforementioned.

It’s a strange world.