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Amazon Prime to Increase Enrollment Fee

I‘m a large supporter of Amazon and their Prime service, but sadly I, and the millions of other subscribers, received some very unfortunate news this morning. Amazon has announced that as of April 17, 2014, they will be increasing the Amazon Prime fee from $79 to $99 per year. In an email to all of their subscribers, Amazon had this to say:

“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 get that they have stayed the same for nine years where others have increased, but lets be honest here. Nine years ago, $79 was way too much for Amazon Prime. There was no Instant Video or Lending Library then. Also, as they stated, items eligible for Prime shipping were 1/20 the amount that we have now. As Prime has grown, I feel it has only been worth $79 for about two years now. The addition of Instant Video is nice, and they have been working very hard to make it better. And at $99, it has a very similar price point to Netflix’s yearly cost. But there are two big issues with that. One, Netflix charges you monthly. Amazon Prime is all up front. Paying $8.25 a month is a lot more enticing that charging $99 all at once. Two, if you are buying this for just Instant Video, it doesn’t even come close to competing with Netflix or even Hulu Plus yet. They have worked hard for more TV contracts and to produce original shows and to bring more current movies to their lineup, but they are still a long way from matching their competitors and so far their original programming is just awful.

Instant Video was a nice addition, but it still lags far behind Netflix in content. The original shows are truly awful and the overall design is cluttered and confusing to navigate.

Instant Video was a nice addition, but it still lags far behind Netflix in content. The original shows are truly awful and the overall design is cluttered and confusing to navigate.

In the end, I get it. Fuel prices, especially jet fuel and diesel, are crazy high.  As a small business owner myself, I realize that shipping costs are really eating away at your bottom line right now. But I really think this was too soon. If they had announced that they were increasing to $99 but also announced a large addition to their Instant Video library or Lending Library, this would go over a lot better. Or, they could have just announced a monthly subscription service. Either would have made this a lot easier to swallow. Existing users will not get to grandfather their old subscription fees upon renewal. For those of you lucky enough for your renewal to take place over the next month, you will get to stay at the current price for one more year. But if your renewal falls on April 17 or after, you will be paying $99. My subscription renews on April 26. Awesome. I will however have to swallow my pride and pay the new fee. I buy basically everything through Amazon and the shipping I save will still pay for the service itself. But if you are a Prime subscriber that rarely buys items and mainly just use the Instant Video and Lending Library features, I would really think about considering other options.

About Evan Swafford

Evan Swafford
Evan is a semi reluctant insomniac, who has used his extra time to watch way more TV than is healthy for a normal human being. All his other time is devoted to movies, gaming, and being a sports fanatic and stat geek. Evan has a degree from MTSU in Electronic Media Journalism which he now uses to grow some of the best trees and shrubs money can buy. You can hear his useless knowledge every week on the Free For All podcast.