For Readers – The Benefits of Amazon Prime

I joined Amazon Prime through their student program. They did, and still do, offer a special student membership that’s free to start out. If you’re currently a student, I definitely recommend checking that out. My Prime membership is now a full Prime membership, and yet I’m still getting a discount because I’m a grad student.

Regular Amazon Prime membership does sound a bit pricey, and I know many people will waffle on “will I use it enough to justify it?” So here’s some things to keep in mind when you’re running up the tally of pros and cons in your head. (Note: When I say ‘free’ below, it means ‘no additional cost’, because you are paying for the membership.)

A stack of 4 Amazon boxes. Credit: scriptingnews on Flickr

A hazard of Prime membership.


* Free 2-day shipping.
In some places, it’s even faster than that. That means you can just drop one item in your cart, order it, then decide 10 minutes later that you wanted something else. New order! Amazon recently raised its free shipping threshold for non-Prime customers to $35. That means whenever you place an order, you’re scrambling for that extra book or two to push you up to $35. With Prime, you don’t have to worry about it. So, you may (or may not) end up buying less.

* Free streaming videos. – Amazon Instant Video
If you don’t have a fast Internet connection, this point is going to be completely moot to you, as it was for me until recently. But if you do have a decent connection, then you can watch all of “Stargate SG-1” or several series of “Doctor Who” whenever you feel like it. Or, y’know, whatever you’re into. If you already have a Hulu or a Netflix subscription, then take a look and see if Amazon has things you want that they don’t. I will note that the availability and quality of the closed captioning has been very hit or miss. :}


* You can borrow 1 Kindle book for free per month. – Kindle Lending Library
This ONLY applies if you own a Kindle device of some sort. Kindle, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite, etc. If you only read Kindle books through the Cloud Reader or through the apps on your PC or your phone, then you can’t “borrow” ebooks this way. If you do own a Kindle, then it can be great. Some ebooks are really expensive and never discounted, so the chance to read them for free is a good one.

* You can read 1 specific Kindle book for free per month. – Kindle First
The Kindle First program was introduced in November 2013. Whether you own a Kindle or not, you can choose one from a short list of books (around 4) to read before anyone else gets a chance to.


Summary: If you like watching streaming video — and/or you frequently buy books and other things from Amazon — and/or you’re often shopping at the last minute, then Amazon Prime is going to be worth it for you.


And, again, if you qualify for Amazon Student, there’s no reason not to try it!

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