Should You Pay For Amazon’s Amazon Prime Service?
What is Amazon Prime?
Most of us are already aware of Amazon. A product of the dot com bom of the late 1990's, Amazon has grown from an online bookstore to a behemoth in the realm of online shopping. Regardless of whether you live in the US or not, Amazon is often the first online retailer most of us hit whether we live in the US or not.
Amazon Prime is Amazon’s subscription service that gives members access to free 2 day shipping on a host of Amazon fulfilled products. The Amazon Prime program has an annual fee of $79, but you can try the service by signing up for a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime.
UPDATE! $7.99 a month!
This month Amazon implemented a trial for montly Amazon Prime membership. Instead of couming up with $79 once a year, you can now pay on a monthly basis. At $7.99 month it will cost you a little more (roughly $96) for a years membership.
Free 30 day trial to Amazon Prime
Whenever you buy products online at Amazon that are eligible for Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping you will see the option to sign up for a free 30 day trial of the Amazon Prime service. Sign up for the trial and you will be able to use free 2-day shipping on that order. Depending on what you buy, the amount you save in shipping from the 30 day trial, may actually pay for a year’s subscription to the Amazon Prime service.
After the 30 day free trial expires, you will be charged $79 – the annual Amazon Prime subscription charge – unless you cancel your membership prior to the expiration of the trial.
Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Whether Amazon Prime is worth it is a very personal decision, and will depend on where you live, how much you purchase from Amazon, what shipping you generally pay, and whether you can make use of the perks of the Amazon Prime membership.
Do you live in the USA?
Unless you live in the US, it isn’t very likely that an Amazon Prime membership will be worth your while. You see the free 2 day shipping applies to US addresses (and APO) only.
That doesn’t exclude shoppers from outside the US from joining. It may still be worth your while if you have friends or relatives you can ship your goods to using the free 2-day shipping offered with Amazon Prime. Of course all you are really buying yourself is a reduction by a week in the overall shipping time; since under this model, you could also take advantage of Amazon’s free standard shipping (5-8 days turnaround).
The same logic applies if you use repackaging services specifically available to receive and re-ship online products to shoppers outside of the US.
How much do you spend on Amazon Shipping Charges?
If you typically spend more than $79 annually on shipping buying Amazon fulfilled products then the Amazon Prime service becomes a no brainer. Especially if you are likely to make use of some of the perks of the Amazon Prime subscription.
Amazon Prime Perk 1: the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library – Free eBooks
Amazon Prime members also have access to the Kindle Owners Lending Library.
This service allows you to borrow Kindle published e-books – free for 30 days. There is a catch though. As the name actually implies, you must own a Kindle – any Kindle – which means the hardware that Amazon sells for reading e-books. You cannot access the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library from one of the many Kindle reading apps that Amazon provides.
And you must be a member of Amazon Prime.
The Kindle reading app was the first app I downloaded for my iPad. I now read far more extensively now that I have access to books on the go on my iPad.
Given that I generally spend much more than $79 a year on shipping charges when I order goods from Amazon, I will likely join the Amazon Prime program after the free trial. My renewed interest in reading eBooks and the opportunity to access quality eBooks for free through the Kindle Owners Lending Library also means I’ve found my excuse to buy a Kindle. Read on to find out which version I will buy and why.
Amazon Instant Video Now on iPad!
July 31, 2012 saw the release of the Amazon Instant Video app for the iPad!
Download from the Apple app store - the app is free. And if you are an Amazon Prime Member you have access to Amazon Prime free streaming video from your iPad. (Only via WiFi at this stage...)
Are you getting a duplicate name error trying to log into your Amazon Instant Video App on your iPad? Here's the fix!
Go to your iPad's name under Settings - About - Name. If there is a space behind the name of your iPad - Delete it!
Try logging back into your Amazon Instant Video App - you should be all set!
Amazon Prime Perk 2: Prime Instant Video – Free!
Amazon also makes available to Amazon Prime members a library of TV shows and Movies for free streaming. At the time of writing there is a reported 15,000 titles available in the Prime Instant Video collection.
As an avid TV and movie watcher – one who regularly rents from iTunes - free streaming of TV and movies as an Amazon Prime member is a huge perk and likely to save me money.
It is important to note that not every title in the Amazon streaming library is available to Amazon Prime members for free streaming, but content is refreshed periodically keeping the value of this perk current.
Again there is a catch: you can’t stream the free content from just any platform. At present there are only a handful of viewing options:
1. Your computer: PC or Mac
2. Your Kindle Fire – The Kindle fire is the only mobile option at present.
So which Kindle will I buy?
I love to read – and access to the Kindle reading app on my iPad has greatly increased my reading – but I love to watch TV and Movies more. Given that you need Kindle hardware to access the Kindle Owners Lending Library (free eBooks) and the Kindle Fire can stream the free TV and Movie content available to Amazon Prime members, my Kindle hardware decision is made.
I will buy the Kindle Fire.
Who should pay for Amazon Prime?
If you fall into one of these categories you wil likely find Amazon Prime Membership to your benefit:
You live in the US and regularly spend more than $79 per annum on 2 day shipping.
You would make some use of the free 2 day shipping, AND own a Kindle (hardware versions) and would regularly borrow books from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.
You would regularly make use of the free streaming offered with Prime Instant Videos on your compatible internet ready TV, KIndle Fire or computer.