Amazon has announced that the cost of Amazon Prime will be increasing to $99 per year this morning (up from $79 per year,) the first time the service has seen a price increase since it launched nine years ago. The company cites increased fuel and transportation costs, alongside increased usage by Prime members, as the reason for the price bump.
Despite the price increase, Amazon Prime is still a fantastic service, introduced back in 2005, that provided unlimited free two-day shipping for millions of items, alongside Prime Instant Video, and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. When broken down, the monthly cost goes from about $6.58 up to $8.25 per month, making the cost 26 cents more than the price of a monthly Netflix streaming membership.
The price increase goes into effect on April 17th, so if you aren't yet a Prime member, you can lock in the lower rate now.
If you're an Amazon Prime member, does the price increase turn you off from keeping your subscription?
Amazon Prime is the best deal in tech, and now Amazon aims to make it's two-day shipping, Kindle Lending Library, and instant movie and television streaming service a bit more accessible with an alternate price structure. Amazon customers now have the option of paying $7.99 per month for a Prime membership, which some may find more palatable compared to the yearly $79 lump sum pricing. Obviously, paying for a year up front offers a 20% savings, but we're sure many will opt for the monthly payment interval. Some are calling this a direct shot at Netflix and Hulu, each of which also offer instant streaming of television and movies, however, both lack any sort of shipping option (or retail store,) or monthly ebook lending library.
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Amazon and Pottermore have announced that the entire Harry Potter book series--all seven books--will be available on the Kindle Lending Library beginning June 19, bringing a huge slice of legitimacy to the service.
“We’re absolutely delighted to have reached this agreement with Pottermore. This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we’ll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “Over a year, borrowing the Harry Potter books, plus a handful of additional titles, can alone be worth more than the $79 cost of Prime or a Kindle. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library also has an innovative feature that’s of great benefit for popular titles like Harry Potter -– unlimited supply of each title -– you never get put on a waiting list.”
The Kindle Lending Library will launch later this year, and will allow Kindle customers to borrow books from more than 11,000 libraries in the U.S. The offer will apply to all generations of Kindle e-books and Kindle reading apps.
Unlike physical library books, users will be able to make notes in the margins of their borrowed e-books. When they "return" it, those notes will not be visible to the next borrower, but if the customer checks the book out again or decides to buy it, their notes will remain intact.
"We're doing a little something extra here," Jay Marine, director of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement. "Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we're extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced."
A Kindle spokeswoman said the borrowed books will be in Kindle format.