Is paying for Amazon's Prime membership worth the cost? What all do you get for your money?
Find out my experience, including my thoughts before and after trying this paid service for a year!
Becoming an Amazon Prime member costs $99 a year and comes with these benefits:
Before I go into more detail about each benefit, let me share my thoughts before subscribing to Prime.
*Unfortunately, (as far as I know) Amazon Prime is only available for customers who live within the U.S.
When I first learned about Amazon Prime I thought it was a rip off. Why would anyone pay a yearly fee for free shipping and to watch a few lame movies?
Obviously, it was clear that if someone purchased a lot of physical products from Amazon then eventually the free shipping would pay for itself. However, for me, I couldn't see that ever happening. I only made a rare purchase now and then, definitely not enough to justify the cost of membership.
It used to be that when you purchased a Kindle Fire you were automatically signed up for a free month trial of Amazon Prime, so when I received my first Kindle Fire I tried out this service. I purchased some accessories for my tablet as well as a few other items during the month. Although I really liked the two day free shipping I couldn't see myself buying enough items to justify the cost.
Several months later when my husband received his Kindle Fire
we got another free month of Amazon Prime. Amazon quickly caught on to
this loophole and changed things so you now only get one free trial per
account, plus I don't think it is an automatic thing anymore. I believe you now have to sign up for the trial yourself.
My husband enjoyed watching Instant Videos
with both trial memberships, and borrowing a free book with the lending
library was a cool feature too, but neither of these sold me on paying
for a full membership either.
A couple of months after our second trial membership ended I was browsing through Amazon's electronics department in search of computer parts to build myself a new computer.
As I compared prices and the cost of shipping each individual item I wistfully wished I still had that free two day shipping.
I eventually noticed that all of the items I wanted were available for Prime so I started to consider the pros and cons for my family if we subscribed to Amazon Prime:
Yep, it was time to subscribe to Amazon Prime for a full year to really try it out!
Of course, your pros and cons might be different than mine so feel free to make your own list. :)
Here are my thoughts and experience of the membership benefits of Amazon Prime after subscribing to it for a whole year.
This is my favorite feature of Amazon Prime! I LOVE purchasing items and receiving them two days later.* It's definitely worth the cost if you buy enough products from Amazon!
Once we signed up for Prime we started buying more on Amazon, kind of a cause and effect thing, I think.
In addition to purchasing all the parts for my new computer, we ended up doing the same for my husband a few months later- his laptop was left in the dust from the super fast speed of my new desktop! *wicked grin*
Besides buying a lot more Kindle Fire accessories (I just couldn't resist!) here are some quirky facts from the many purchases we've made since signing up for Amazon Prime:
Wow, that's quite the variety of items but it's only a small portion of what we've bought. During our year subscription of Amazon Prime we've definitely purchased enough items to more than pay for the cost of our membership with what we would have spent on shipping. Yippie skippie for saving money!
*The two days are business days and packages can arrive as late as 8:00
p.m. (I've never had a package arrive late either. Now that's great service!)
With millions of items that qualify for Prime free shipping you'd be surprised at what you'll find on Amazon! Just watch for the orange check mark and word "Prime" next to an item's price to know if it qualifies.
You can also filter your searches by those items that qualify for this free shipping. (I personally use this feature a lot.)
With over 41,000 movies and TV episodes to choose from, there's a LOT of free streaming that comes with Prime Instant Video.
At first I wasn't overly impressed with the movie selection (I'm super picky) but over time as we've used this service and more (excellent) videos have been added, I've really come to enjoy it.
However, what finally won me over was all the TV shows available on Amazon Prime! Between my husband, daughter, and I we have watched hours and hours of instant TV.
I'm not a TV person, it's rarely on during the day, and we even lived without watching TV for the first few years of our marriage. We had a TV, but only used it for movies as it wasn't connected to an antenna. However, I eventually compromised so my sweet husband could watch more sports and TV shows. Thus I've ended up watching more TV as a result.
The BEST part about watching TV shows on Amazon (besides finding great gems and watching shows I've missed) is the lack of commercials! My favorite button on the remote is the "Mute" button which I religiously use, and make my husband use, the moment a commercial airs.
With Amazon's Prime TV there are no commercials!! ♥
With over 350,000 ebooks in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library you'll never run out of titles to try out! They even have all seven of the Harry Potter books (I luv luv luv the HP series)!
Although I haven't personally used this feature as much as the others, I have checked out a few titles here and there. It's really great when you can find the title you want to read in the lending library.
You get to borrow one title per month, but you don't have to finish reading during that time. If it takes you awhile longer to finish, no problem! However, to check out another title (for your next month's freebie) you'll need to return the one you've checked out.
If you're on your Kindle Fire just go to Books and scroll down until you find and tap on "Kindle Owners' Lending Library" which is currently located in the column on the far right.
In November 2013 Amazon added a new feature for Prime members: Kindle Firsts.
This awesome Prime goodie gives you the choice of one (out of four) FREE Kindle ebooks to download and read before they are released to the general public!
Basically, Amazon's publishing editors pick four new books to feature each month. Prime members can choose one of these books to download for free, and there's no time-limit, it's yours forever!
As Amazon says, "Read next month's new releases today."*
Here are some of the genres of books that have been offered thus far:
This is a really sweet new feature. Way to go, Amazon, for giving us more bang for our buck!
*Posted on their Kindle First page.
Amazon has added an AWESOME new feature for Prime members: Prime Music!
Listen to ad-free music (yeah!), stream or download mp3s, and choose from over a million songs and hundreds of playlists!
Kindle Fire HD and HDX tablets have been updated with this new Prime Music benefit and I LOVE IT!
My husband and I have been having a hay-day searching, downloading, adding to our library, and listening to TONS of FREE music. Love, love, love it!
If you haven't yet tried Amazon Prime this new feature might just tip the scale for you. :)
If other members of your household have their own Amazon account you can add them to your Prime membership to receive the two-day free shipping. Obviously, to be a part of your household they need to live at the same address as you since the free two-day shipping is only for the same shipping address.
However, you can't share the other benefits of Prime Instant Video and the Lending Library with another account. To share, they would need to have access to login to your account which can only be done on a computer, not a Kindle Fire.
For Kindle Fire owners, the other way to share Amazon Prime on your tablets is to register each device on the same account. There are pros and cons to this as well, but it's the only way to watch Prime Instant Videos on more than one Kindle Fire without paying for Amazon Prime for each account.
We actually use both of the options mentioned above.
First, I've shared Amazon Prime
with my husband's account so he can purchase items and receive the
two-day free shipping. This is especially beneficial when my loving husband purchases gifts for me and doesn't want me to know what it through Amazon's notifications which are sent to the email on the account. ;)
Second, we have all our Kindle Fire tablets
connected to my account. This way everyone can access Prime videos, no matter which tablet they are using. Of course, we also see each others' digital purchases as well, but for us this is more of a pro than a con. You only have to purchase an app, game, song, etc once and then can access it from any tablet on the account.
Although the initial free trial didn't convince me, signing up for a full year membership did. For my family the answer to the question, "Is Amazon Prime Worth It?" is a resounding "Yes!" I'm so happy I took the plunge and tried it out. We'll be keeping this fabulous subscription!
Are you sold, yet? If not, don't forget to try Amazon Prime for free for a whole month!