Amazon Prime Review
Amazon Prime is a subscription-based service offered by Amazon. Priced at $99 per year in the United States, Amazon Prime has over 20 million subscribers around the world.
What Is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime initially came with three main benefits:
— Free two-day shipping (and discounted one-day shipping)
— Access to popular movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime Instant Video
— Access to over 500,000 titles in the Kindle Lending Library
Amazon Prime was announced in 2005 and released later that year in the United States. In 2007, it arrived in Germany, Japan, and the UK. Between 2008 and 2013, it would launch in France, Italy, and Canada.
Currently, however, only Amazon Prime members in Germany, the UK, and the US receive access to Amazon Instant Video.
In 2014, Amazon added two more benefits to its Prime service, including:
— Prime Music, which provides unlimited ad-free access to over a million songs and curated playlists
— Prime Photos, which offers unlimited photo storage in your Amazon Cloud drive
At the same time, Amazon raised the price of Prime to $99 per year. Prime is constantly hounded by price hike rumors. Searching online, you’ll find people who claim the price is going up to $120 per year or higher.
As of writing, however, Prime is available for $99 per year. That price might seem high, but broken down into a monthly rate, Prime is competitive with similar services offered by Netflix and Google Play Music. For $8.25 USD per month, you gain access to a huge library of books, television shows, movies, and songs. You also get fast shipping on all Amazon orders – which is a great bonus if you buy a lot of stuff from Amazon.com
Amazon Prime Benefits
To find out if Prime is worth it, we need to break down each of the services listed above.
Free Two Day Shipping
Amazon Prime comes with free two day shipping and discounted one-day shipping rates. This service can be valuable for anyone who orders multiple smaller packages from Amazon.com. A few years ago, Amazon raised the free shipping threshold from $25 to $35. If your order is priced below $35, then you’ll need to pay a standard shipping rate of around $3.99.
Standard Amazon shipping also takes an estimated 5 to 10 business days for standard-sized packages. This is a good deal for impatient people who frequently buy smaller goods, but might not be worth it for those who buy larger orders and don’t mind waiting 1-2 weeks for them to arrive.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video is similar to the streaming services offered by Hulu Plus and Netflix (both of which cost $7.99 per month or $95.88 per year). Amazon Instant Video, like Netflix, is only worth it if you like its exclusive content.
Netflix has popular series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Prime Instant Video, on the other hand, has the exclusive streaming rights to Downtown Abbey, Workaholics, and Under the Dome.
The list of exclusives is being updated all the time. It’s worth taking a browse through Amazon’s library to see if their exclusive TV shows and movies are more aligned with your interests.
In general, Amazon Prime Instant Video doesn’t have as large or as diverse of a library as Netflix. Nevertheless, it’s a good streaming service that is growing every day. You can check the updated library here.
Prime Instant Video is currently only available to Prime members in the UK, Germany, and the United States.
Kindle Lending Library
The Kindle Lending Library contains 500,000 titles. You receive access to all of these titles. However, there’s one big catch: you can only borrow one book per month. Fortunately, there’s no due date (you can keep the book on the device as long as you like), and you can also transfer the book between devices (as long as those devices have been officially registered with your account).
Do you like the sound of Amazon Prime – but mostly just for the Kindle Lending Library benefits? Well, you can also sign up for Kindle Unlimited, which costs $9.99 per month and offers unlimited reading and audiobook listening for over 700,000 titles.
You can view an updated library of available Kindle eBooks here. The Kindle Lending Library doesn’t contain many new releases or big-name titles, but it’s getting better over time. If you want to catch up on New York Times best sellers you missed from a few years ago, then you may find those books on the Kindle Lending Library.
Prime Music Unlimited Streaming
Amazon announced Prime Music in 2014. This service gives unlimited ad-free music streaming “to over a million songs” as well as custom-built playlists. You also get an unlimited number of skips.
One of the cool things about Prime Music is that you can download songs to your mobile device for offline playback – so you can listen to them when you don’t have an internet connection. Not all streaming services let you do that.
Unfortunately for international Prime members, Prime Music is currently only available to Prime members in the United States.
Prime Unlimited Photo Storage
Prime Photos lets you store an unlimited number of photos in the Amazon Cloud Drive. These photos are accessible anywhere you are. You can view and add photos over any web browser, mobile device, or desktop computer. There are Amazon Cloud Drive apps you can download for all major mobile devices.
This unlimited photo storage feature only counts for photos: you can upload videos, but they count against your 5GB free storage space limit.
That same restriction applies for any non-photo files you want to store in your Cloud Drive.
Aside from these restrictions, Amazon supports unlimited upload of most popular image formats, including JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and some RAW photos.
Is Amazon Prime Worth $99 Per Year?
One of the best things about Amazon Prime is that you can split the cost between multiple people in the same household. However, this benefit only officially works with the delivery perk (your entire household enjoys free two day deliveries on all orders).
You can add multiple household members to your Prime account directly from the account settings screen, which can significantly reduce the cost of membership.
With that in mind, Amazon Prime’s value is however much you want it to be. If you watch movies and TV shows on Prime Instant Video every week, download one free Kindle book per month, listen to music through Prime Music every day, and order multiple packages off Amazon per year, then yeah, Amazon Prime will be worth the price of membership.
If you don’t see yourself doing any of those things, however, then you’re not going to get much value out of Amazon Prime. It’s also important to note that Prime works best for people in the United States, where users get access to unlimited Prime Music. Furthermore, only members in the UK, Germany, and the US get access to the Prime Instant Video library.
One nice thing about Prime is that there’s a 30 day free trial. You can easily cancel this trial if you don’t like it, or continue on at the ordinary rate of $99 per year.