A subscription to Amazon Prime costs $99 per year. You are charged annually, from the date you sign up to the same date next year. If you're looking to compare that to other per-month billing schemes, Amazon Prime's cost averages out to $8.25 per month.
You can, however, get a 30-day free trial when you first sign up for Amazon Prime.
We will discuss the major benefits of Amazon Prime more thoroughly in our Amazon Prime Benefits article, but here's a quick list:
Free two-day shipping of items bought on Amazon throughout the continental U.S.
Free same-day delivery of items bought on Amazon in major U.S. metropolitan areas
Free watching of online movies and TV shows through Amazon Instant Video
Discounts on some items, and early access to deals on others
Free access to songs, playlists, and custom radio stations in Amazon Music
Unlimited storage for photos in Amazon Cloud Drive
Flat delivery fee on groceries from Prime Pantry, including Amazon Elements products
Access to early Kindle e-books and a lending library
Ability to share these benefits with another member of your household
Whether or not Amazon Prime will be worth its cost is, to put it bluntly, largely dependent on how many things you want to use Amazon for, and how often. The two largest benefits of Amazon Prime are the savings (in terms of both time and money) when it comes to shipping items that you receive from Amazon, and the access it affords you to Amazon's libraries of digital media content (i.e. movies, TV shows, music, and e-books).
In terms of shipping, the free two-day delivery will be most worth it if you buy a lot of low-cost items that you need quickly. We say this because most orders on Amazon qualify for free shipping anyway, as long as they total over $25. However, they usually take anywhere from 5 to 10 days to ship, as opposed to just 2. Conversely, free same-day delivery can be worth it if you qualify for it and have a lot of expensive orders that you need quickly, since your minimum order has to be $35. So, it's basically a convenience issue: if you place about 15 or more orders with Amazon each year, and you want your stuff as soon as possible, then signing up for Amazon Prime could save you quite a bit of money.
In terms of Amazon's digital media libraries, you basically get three services for the price of one: movie and TV show streaming, music streaming, and an e-book library. However, there are two catches to this. The first is that Amazon Prime is a little more expensive than some comparable streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu ($7.99 per month) for movies and TV shows, or Pandora One ($4.99 per month) and Deezer Premium ($7.99 per month) for music. The other catch is that competing digital media services often specialize in what they do, so Netflix has more movies, Hulu has more television shows, and Spotify (which is more expensive than Amazon Prime at $9.99 per month) has more music.
Basically, what we're saying is that Amazon Prime has some of everything, but not a lot of anything. With that said, its media libraries are catching up to those of its rivals, and do offer some exclusive content. If you can find much of the same content on Amazon Prime that you're watching, reading, or listening to on other online media services, then by all means switch over.
Again, whether or not you can justify Amazon Prime's cost is up to you and your online shopping and media streaming habits. If you order a lot of items through Amazon anyway, and need them as quickly as possible, then Amazon Prime's shipping benefits may be well worth the cost. Also, if you like to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music, or read e-books through other online services and can find a comparable selection of content on Amazon Prime, go with it and save yourself the subscription costs of the others.
We hope this information is helpful in deciding whether or not Amazon Prime is right for you!
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