Amazon Prime – What is it, and is it worth the cost?

Amazon Prime has been around for quite awhile. I’m sure you’ve heard about it somewhere, but probably have also wondered; is it really worth the cost (currently $99 per year)? Amazon Prime benefits include Free 2-day shipping for thousands of products sold by Amazon, free streaming video including movies and TV shows, and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. I’ve been a member for a number of years now and below will outline the benefits of membership and how to best use them.



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FREE Shipping:

  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on eligible items.
    • These are items that are “sold and shipped” by Amazon.
  • FREE No Rush Shipping (typical delivery one week after placing an order).
    • Note: Sometimes you may receive promotional credit for selecting No-Rush Shipping. Credit will be automatically applied to your Amazon.com account once the first package from a No-Rush Shipping-eligible order ships. As an alternate Amazon may offer you a Video or MP3 credit. Of course this does not always occur, but is a nice feature when it does.
  • Shipping Upgrades to expedite delivery. You can upgrade to 1-day delivery for rates as low as $3.99 for each item.
  • You may say “Why would I spend $99 extra for free 2-day shipping, if standard delivery is free anyway”? Well, most free delivery items require a minimum order of $35, while Prime membership waives this minimum.

 Prime Video

Prime Instant Video Streaming:


  • Thousands of TV Shows and Movies are available with this service FREE and included with your membership.
    • Some TV shows are exclusive to Amazon Prime members such as:
      • Grimm – Falling Skies – Under the Dome – Dora the Explorer – Downtown Abby – Covert Affairs – Justified, The Good Wife
      • These are just the exclusives, many other shows are also available.
    • Recently added movies include:
      • The Avengers – Hunger Games – Rango – Cabin in the Woods – One for the Money

 

What devices can you watch these FREE videos on?

You probably already own a device that will play the Amazon Prime FREE videos, such as your Smart TV, Roku, PS3, Xbox-360.

Prime Boxes

Sharing:

This feature is especially a great value. Free or paid Amazon Prime members can share their shipping benefits with up to four additional family members living in the same household, or up to four coworkers. Other Amazon Prime membership benefits such as Prime Instant Video and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library can’t be shared.

To invite family members to share your Amazon Prime membership:

  1. Sign in to Your Account.
  2. Click Manage Prime Membership.

Review your current membership details, the status of all members linked to your Amazon Prime membership, and options to add or remove members.

 books

E-Book Lending Library:

  • Choose from over 300,000 titles, including all 7 Harry Potter books and more than 100 current and former New York Times Best Sellers, to read on your Kindle.
  • You can currently “borrow” one book every calendar month, completely FREE. This means you can also keep one book on your Kindle for more than one calendar month.

How to Borrow a Book:


You can borrow one book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library each calendar month. You can deliver the book to other Kindle devices registered to your Amazon account.

  1. From your device, open the Kindle Store.
  2. Select All Categories, and then select Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

 

Eligible titles display the Prime badge.

  1. When you’ve made your selection, select Borrow for Free.

You can borrow only one book at a time. If you’ve already borrowed a book, you’ll be prompted to return it before you can borrow a different book.

Note: Available titles may change each calendar month.

If your Amazon Prime account is disabled after you borrow a book, you will lose access to the book you borrowed.

Your bookmarks, notes, and highlights within the book will be saved to your Amazon account. They are available if you borrow or purchase the book later.

Return a Book

Books from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library have no due dates.

  1. Visit Manage Your Kindle, and then click Your Kindle Library.
  2. Next to the book you want to return, click Actions, and then select Return Book.


Conclusion:

I’ve been a Prime member for the last 4 years and the price has not changed in that time, but they have added more and more new features each year. Near the holidays the 2-day shipping is very much appreciated to avoid the last minute mall-crowds. During the summer, the free book lending provides my relaxation entertainment. And the free video streaming saves me money with my Roku (reviewed here) as an alternative to cable TV. At just $6.58/month (after your FREE trial) it’s more affordable than any other service out there. Add FREE 2-day shipping and the other features and it’s an amazing deal. You have nothing to lose by signing up for their FREE trial today. (If you don’t want to continue, just deselect “auto-renew” in your Prime account settings). It really is that simple.

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