What is Amazon Prime?
Amazon Prime is a membership program that provides exclusive benefits to paid members. For a small membership fee, Amazon Prime provides access to thousands of free Kindle books; as well as special discounts on other Amazon store items and shipping.
In addition to free books, customers are given access to the Kindle Prime library; which adds a wide variety of apps, games, and special offers to the Kindle Prime customer. Kindle Prime customers are also able to borrow one book per month from the Kindle Prime library; and customers also have access to thousands of movies and TV shows within the Amazon instant video area.
So, how much does an Amazon Prime membership cost?
An Amazon Prime membership costs only $99 per year, and Amazon now offers a free trial of Prime to customers via their website. Amazon members are able to try out the benefits of prime for a full 30 days to determine if a Prime membership is right for them.
What are the benefits of Amazon Prime?
Although Amazon Prime is often considered only a membership program that provides certain books for free Kindle books to customers, the benefits of this program go far beyond the Kindle scope.
Amazon Prime is able to offer free shipping to Prime customers on certain items. For items that are not eligible for free shipping, customers are able to receive shipping upgrades. This allows frequent Amazon shoppers to fully enjoy the experience of Amazon – and also saves a lot of money while doing so. Paying only $4 will allow the Amazon Prime customer to receive overnight shipping. This is an excellent benefit for Prime customers – especially when purchasing last minute gifts.
The value behind Amazon Prime pays for itself with only one use per month, in most situations. The price of Amazon Prime is less than the cost of a paid book from the Kindle store. Joining this program is an easy decision – when value is weighed against cost. Considering that most books cost $9.99 on average from the Kindle store, and the fact that customers are able to check out one book per month, Prime customers easily are able to pay for their membership with this alone; just by using the Kindle library feature.
In addition to Kindle discounts, library access, and free shipping – customers also gain access to the Amazon Prime instant video site. Customers can watch free clips from TV shows, movies, and instructional videos. Amazon's instant video access provides Prime customers with an excellent selection of humor, drama, and exclusive previews to new shows and movies.
Customers can stream movies or TV shows online from popular networks around the globe. You don't have to worry about recording your favorite TV show on a DVR or setting a reminder on your cable box. You can simply login to your Amazon Prime account, search for your favorite TV show, and watch any episode that you like; from the comfort of your own home.
In comparison to Netflix and Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime is much cheaper and provides nearly the same selection of movies and TV shows. We'll go into a comparison of the two later on in this guide.
Many popular titles are available within the Amazon instant video library, such as “Thor” and “Captain America.” You can find TV shows, movies, and books from all age groups and categories – all for free with your Amazon Prime account.
Is Amazon Prime right for me?
Many customers are conflicted when choosing to sign up for the Amazon Prime program. There are a few different decision making factors when you decide to purchase an Amazon Prime membership. There are a few questions to ask yourself before buying that will help you to decide if a Prime membership is right for you:
1) How often do you use Amazon.com?
2) What items do you purchase from Amazon?
3) Do you own a Kindle Fire?
As mentioned previously, if you use Amazon.com for any type of purchase once or more per month, your Prime membership has more than likely already paid for itself. By choosing one free book from the Kindle Prime library, or even free shipping on one item, you have already paid for your membership.
For any frequent Amazon user, the choice to join Amazon Prime could not be easier to make. One subscription can save hundreds of dollars per month to any Kindle owner that reads frequently, as well as adding exclusive item choices to their selection.
If you purchase physical items from the Amazon Marketplace, you should most definitely join Amazon Prime. With free shipping and/or shipping upgrades provided to Amazon customers, this program will save lots of money and time for any customer. After all, who has heard of overnight shipping on any item for just $4?
Kindle Fire owners, as mentioned, get a huge selection of books with Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime members receive special discounts, free library checkouts, and additional applications and games to enjoy on the Kindle Android OS.
There is only one way to find out if Kindle Prime is right for your particular situation. The free trial of Amazon Prime provides customers with a great way to weigh the cost versus the benefits of the program. Signing up for a free, no obligation trial, requires nothing more than a credit card and an Amazon membership.
Free for 30 days, Amazon Prime members are able to experience the benefits of this program without paying the membership fee up front. Most free trial members choose to retain their membership to Amazon Prime - due to the value versus price comparison.
How to make the most of your membership
As with any paid membership, customers should know how to take advantage of their program benefits. Customers should explore their Prime account to learn the benefits that are offered by Amazon Prime, in order to ensure that they are using the benefits to their fullest extent.
Amazon Prime customers are able to download full episodes and seasons of certain TV shows and thousands of movies. On the next family “movie night” - why not choose Amazon Prime instead of Red Box? Watching a movie from your Amazon Prime account is free. Customers who wish to rent a movie can simply go online, browse, choose, and watch. Convenience is key in today's busy society – and with Amazon Prime – you can point, click, and watch.
As mentioned, this program is very similar to Netflix' streaming program, or Blockbuster online. Renting movies is most definitely the greatest benefit that is added to an Amazon Prime membership. Take advantage of your membership - and watch your favorite TV shows and movies on your computer at your convenience.
You can also store your movies inside of your Prime account for later viewing. When you see a movie of interest, simply click “Buy with 1-click” and the movie will be added to your shopping cart. Whenever you decide to watch the movie, simply login to your account and view your purchased item.
Checking out a book from the Kindle Prime library is one of the most important benefits of an Amazon Prime membership. Customers of Amazon Prime are able to check out one book per month from the Kindle library. Most of these books are priced at an average of $10 per book. Using this benefit alone would easily pay for your Amazon Prime membership; as you receive $120 in free books with a $99 membership. Using this feature alone pays for your membership in its entirety – not to mention the other benefits of this program that can be utilized.
Since Amazon Prime customers receive free shipping on certain items, using this benefit whenever an online order is placed would easily justify cost versus benefit. Shipping on items from Amazon is cheap in comparison to other websites; but on large items, using Amazon Prime's free shipping can save $10-20 on one order. Considering that the membership is only $79 per year, you can easily see the savings that are able to be provided to Prime customers through this program.
Using your Amazon Prime membership benefits relies on the fact that you know what the benefits are. This guide is designed to help you make the most out of your Amazon Prime membership, so that you can use the benefits of this program to its fullest potential.
For instance, why would any item be purchased from a retail store – when you have an Amazon Prime account? Amazon alone offers excellent deals on most items that would save customers lots of money, even when shipping is included. When you have an Amazon Prime account that brings your item directly to your doorstep within 2 days (at no cost), you can easily see the benefit of this program.
Shopping online is a great way to save money, but shipping has always kept many people from beginning an online purchase. With Amazon Prime's 2 day free shipping, you can't go wrong. Online purchases have never been easier with their “buy with one-click” button. Simply store your credit card on file, search for your item, and press the button. The item will be on your doorstep within 2 days, and you probably saved a lot of money versus any retail store – even Walmart.
Between the discounts provided on shipping, books, and videos - purchasing multiple memberships for the same discounts could easily cost over $100 per year. Simply signing up for a Netflix streaming account costs around $8.99 per month, and purchasing shipping discount programs separately would potentially create even more cost. Without using Amazon Prime to purchase your Kindle books – Kindle users would pay at least $.99 for each book – when Amazon Prime members are able to download thousands of books for free.
In consideration of the authors, we have to ask “how do the Kindle authors make money from Prime customers? How can they give away free books?” Contrary to popular belief, using Amazon Prime does not hurt Kindle authors' income. Amazon Prime memberships contribute to a fund that supports Amazon Authors, and each book that is downloaded for free generates a commission for authors that choose to give their books away on Amazon Prime.
Now that we have culled the potential worries of an Amazon Prime membership purchase, we can discuss the benefits and uses among various devices. Amazon Prime is not only for PCs. Over 200 different models of Blu-ray players, internet TVs, and Android-based devices (including, of course, the Kindle Fire) are able to stream movies and TV shows directly to your device. Amazon Prime offers access to more devices than Hulu Plus – and also offers more movie titles than this provider.
Speaking of Hulu Plus, we should also provide a short comparison of the two competitors. Amazon Prime, as mentioned, has more movies - while Hulu has more TV shows. However, while selection of TV shows may vary, Amazon has done an excellent job at making sure that die-hard TV fans are able to choose between most of the recently-popular TV series. Amazon Prime offers TV episodes of shows from NBC, Fox, Disney, The Biography Channel, MTV, PBS, Criterion, and National Geographic.
Amazon Prime is also very user-friendly and features an easy to use shopping cart interface. When you are signed into your Amazon Prime account, you are able to purchase movies and TV shows from the Amazon store. Although these items are free, they are added to your account just as a purchase would be. From your shopping cart, you are able to view the items that you have selected – and you will have access to them anytime from your Amazon Cloud.
Another thing that customers wonder about when purchasing any type of streaming movie subscription is the speed and quality of the server. After all, nobody likes to wait on their movie to load.
Amazon Prime versus Hulu and Netflix are relatively the same in speed and quality. Amazon provides great speed and reliability from multiple data centers, and you are guaranteed to never have a server lag because of an Amazon member overload on a busy movie night.
The quality of movies that are streamed to your device are in High Definition, 720p to be exact. This creates a high quality viewing experience for your movies and TV shows on wide screen devices.
Another excellent benefit of the Amazon Prime account is called the “family share” program. Amazon allows one account to be used on up to 4 different devices, meaning that your entire family is able to use the Amazon Prime account – watching multiple TV shows or movies at the same time.
With Hulu Plus and Netflix, this is often not possible. Users will get logged out of their account when someone else logs in with a different device or from a different location. Amazon Prime allows 2 users to watch streaming content at the same time, and allows 4 devices access to the same Amazon Prime account.
Previously, we compared a small portion of Amazon Prime to Netflix. Although Netflix has a larger selection of TV shows and movies to choose from, the cost benefit of Amazon Prime is beyond comparison.
To purchase an Amazon Prime membership at $99 per year equals out to approximately $6.58 per month. When in comparison to Netflix at $7.99, you have already begun to see the savings offered by Amazon.
When we take into consideration that most Amazon Prime members own a Kindle, and the fact that most Kindle books average $9.99 per purchase, the choice becomes a little more clear. Amazon Prime easily beats the competition.
When purchasing a gift for someone on Amazon.com, you are able to use your Prime membership account to not only choose free shipping, but you are able to overnight your item for as little as $4. This is an amazing benefit versus cost comparison that justifies the purchase of Amazon Prime by itself.
For instance, a customer could purchase a large item such as a canoe or kayak from Amazon.com. While the item costs around $400, shipping costs approximately $40. Amazon Prime customers receive free 2-day shipping – which makes up for half of the cost of the annual membership - with just one purchase.
So to sum it up, if a Netflix subscriber pays $96 per year, purchasing one e-book per month costs $120, and shipping charges for online purchases add up to $50 per year (assuming that you purchase approximately one item per month), you have easily created a ton of savings for yourself with the purchase of Amazon Prime.
Best of all, Amazon Prime's membership fee has not increased since the inception of the program. Amazon Prime customers have enjoyed the same membership fee of $79 per year since the beginning, unlike many other online providers.
Amazon Prime is a very impressive program that is a must-have for any Kindle Fire owner.
The benefits are many, the drawbacks are few. Amazon Prime is most definitely one of the cheapest and most beneficial programs on the Internet. Any online shopper, Kindle owner, or movie / TV show fanatic should sign up for an Amazon Prime account to enjoy the benefits of this amazing program.
Whether you are a Kindle Fire owner, movie buff, or TV series fan – Amazon Prime has the entertainment for you – and at a great price.