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Amazon Bumps Prime Membership Fee to $99

Amazon amazon primehas been hinting ever since their last quarterly report that they might raise the US price for their discount club, and today they followed through.

I can now report that Amazon is going to raise the cost of Amazon Prime to $99 a year. A reader has forwarded the email he received from Amazon which conveyed the bad news:

We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews on December 16, 2014.

Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

I haven’t received this email yet; have you?

Sidenote: Here’s how you can get another year of Amazon Prime at the old rate.

There has been much debate in the past couple months about the possible price increase, with many predicting that Amazon would lose customers if they raised prices across the board.

But now that the price hike is here I don’t think that is going to happen. Speaking as a consumer, I can say that I will probably still renew my Prime membership.

Amazon successfully psyched me out by hinting at a $40 increase, and then only increasing the price by $20; they’ve created the impression that it could have been worse and as a result made the actual price increase more palatable. That was a subtle trick on the part of Amazon, and it was well-played.

And frankly, I still see the $99 as a good value – to me.  A Netflix or Hulu Plus streaming subscription costs $7.99 a month or $95.88 a year, and while those services might offer more content I also frequently use the Amazon Prime free two day shipping option. I have probably saved far more in shipping costs over the years than I spent in paying for a Prime membership, and I expect that I will still come out ahead when the price goes up.

Thanks, George!

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Robert March 13, 2014 um 9:08 am

I received this email overnight. No one likes getting an email warning of a future $100 bill.
I think it would be in Amazon’s best interest to start talking about Prime as a monthly price. $8.25/mo sounds much less horrible and comparable to Netflix/Hulu than $99/yr.

Nate Hoffelder March 13, 2014 um 9:24 am

That might have been better. Amazon could have pgged their price to the Netflix price and gotten a few extra bucks out of us.

Paul March 13, 2014 um 9:37 am

I got the email this morning as well. I think I’ll probably drop it, as I don’t have a Kindle to use for the lending library and I’ve cut back on my amazon purchases.

Kim W March 13, 2014 um 9:40 am

I got the email this morning. I won’t cancel. I’m disappointed to see the price go up but I use it for the shipping. I have things arriving on my doorstep 3-5 times a week so it’s still a bargain. Plus I use the streaming and the Kindle lending library.

Anne March 13, 2014 um 10:01 am

I got the email. I’m sure we will keep it. We buy a lot of merchandise from Amazon.

Anne March 13, 2014 um 10:23 am

Well the spouse says maybe not. We’ll have to weigh the cost benefit. We almost never stream prime videos, and the prime ebooks are usually a waste of my time. The shipping is our main reason for having it. We have until May to decide, as that’s when our year is up.

Anne March 13, 2014 um 10:16 am

I’ll renew. I primarily use it for videos, the lending library and kindle first plus shipping whatever to the nieces and nephews that are located all over the US. The real worth is that I also share the account with my parents and their business. Living in a rural area and being able to share three accounts for $99 is still a bargain for us.

I’d suggest people check into the requirements for sharing an account. If they can be met, it could make it more worthwhile. Just remember that the "add on" people only get the free shipping; no videos, no KOLL, etc.

Whateveragain March 13, 2014 um 11:04 am

Now Amazon have a USA monopoly, are they beginning to increase prices?

Nate Hoffelder March 13, 2014 um 11:40 am

A US monopoly on what, exactly?

And how can Amazon have a US monopoly when they are an $80 billion a year company and Walmart is a $500 billion a year company?

Javi March 13, 2014 um 11:56 am

Perhaps amazon should remove the service price sending (fuel increasing) than streaming services… that could still be cheaper.

Paul March 13, 2014 um 12:33 pm

What it more likely suggests is that Amazon Prime has plateaued in driving new business. i.e. The number of items prime members buy from Amazon isn’t going up anymore like it used to. (Prime members tend to buy more stuff from amazon than non-prime).

The price increase may even bring it back (because you’re spending $100 on membership, you use it more to justify the $100).

Tyler March 13, 2014 um 2:14 pm

I will keep mine too. Luckily, mine just renewed so I don’t have to worry about it until next year. Meantime, I can hope Amazon Prime does start an internet music service!

flyingtoastr March 13, 2014 um 2:58 pm

"I would expect that price increase will only arrive in the company of the Amazon Prime Radio, or not at all."

– Nate Hoffelder
March 11, 2014

Nate Hoffelder March 13, 2014 um 3:03 pm

Yep. I got that one wrong.

George March 13, 2014 um 8:34 pm

You’re welcome, Nate! 🙂

I just saw another reason to keep Prime despite the price increase: Spaceballs is now available on instant video.

Nate Hoffelder March 13, 2014 um 8:47 pm

May the Schwarz be with you!

Amazon Quietly Starts Kindle Fire Discounts for Prime Members – The Digital Reader April 15, 2014 um 8:37 am

[…] Amazon’s loyalty program offers customers shipping discounts, free ebooks, and free streaming video, making it a very nice at $79 (or $99, which is what we will be changed next time around). […]

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