Amazon Prime is a great deal, but it comes at a cost. For many, it's just free two-day shipping, but an annual Amazon Prime cost $139 in the US or 14.99 per month. On the other hand, the advantages may outweigh the disadvantages, especially if you're an avid reader, a frequent listener of streaming audio and video, enjoy interesting video games or frequently shop online.
What exactly is this thing called "Amazon Prime"?
Prime is a paid membership program offered by Amazon. The main perk of becoming an Amazon Prime member is getting free two-day shipping on millions of products. Depending on your country, same-day shipping is available—however, it’s not available in all countries and states in the US. Check out how Amazon Prime works in your country or region!
Typically, if you spend $25 or more on eligible products at Amazon, you'll get free standard shipping, but it will take five to eight business days to receive your package if you're not a Prime member. Amazon Prime members also have the right to purchase depleting merchandise – if a certain item is exclusive, a person with a Prime account can buy it early. What's more, Prime also provides many discounts and rebate programs.
However, these are not the only advantages of Amazon Prime—it has changed from a subscription program to a large, complex service.
What are the additional benefits of Amazon Prime?
Free access to a wide range of programs and movies
Prime Video is a video-on-demand service comparable to Netflix. The subscription offers access to thousands of TV episodes and movies, all without a subscription fee. HBO and Showtime, among others, are available to subscribers for an additional fee. Prime also produces hit series and movies that are only available there. It has a lot of great movies, but some of their hits might be region-locked. Overall, this is a great alternative to Netflix or Disney+.
Free books for everyone
More than a thousand books, comics, and magazines are available to Prime members completely free of charge. You can access the service on your Kindle reader or any iOS or Android device by downloading the free Kindle app. Amazon Prime might be a good solution for a Kindle owner who also orders a lot of physical books. If you buy both e-books and hardcovers, it’s worth getting Amazon Prime - cost of subscription might not be worth it on its own, but with the free books it might be a great solution.
Stream music indefinitely
With Amazon Music Prime, you have ad-free access to more than two million songs and selected playlists curated by Amazon. Amazon Music Unlimited includes more than 90 million songs, and Prime members can get low-cost memberships. You can also try out Music Unlimited by using the Amazon Prime free trial. The music library is limited, though, and on its own it’s not a good alternative to YouTube Music or Spotify.
Free PC games and in-game goodies, as well as a Twitch channel subscription that renews monthly, are part of the Prime Gaming package. You can make a gift to your favorite streamer and play the latest hits—the games are often interesting indie offerings. You won’t find AAA titles there, but you can also get rare items in MMO games, for example.
There are also other benefits, like access to Amazon Family coupons or online photo storage with Amazon Photos—but the examples above are enough to tempt many users.
Is Amazon Prime worth it?
Depending on your country or state, it might or might not be useful. If you ended up ordering many things from Amazon last year and spent more than 140 dollars on postage… of course it’s a great deal. But many people question if the streaming entertainment is worth it.
You can check it out yourself, using the Amazon Prime free trial—but it’s the “second best” option in many cases: not as good as Netflix, Apple Music or Spotify, but combining many options of these in one package. It’s definitely worth considering, especially if you are willing to share costs with your friends, roommates and family.