Amazon May Raise Price On Prime By $20 To $40

For years, Amazon has been charging an annual fee of $79 for Amazon Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on many items and access to a library of streaming movies and TV shows at no extra cost. For people who take advantage of both aspects of the service, it’s a pretty good deal at under $7/month, but is that all about to change?

In a conference call to discuss its fourth quarter earnings report on Thursday, Amazon admitted that it’s considering — not definitely doing it, but considering — raising the annual fee for Prime by twenty to forty dollars.

Amazon says there are “tens of millions” of Prime members around the world, growth that has likely been encouraged by increased use of tablets and other wireless devices that can stream Amazon Prime videos.

In its earnings report, the e-tailer says it increased the size of its Prime video library from 33,000 titles to 40,000 in December. It’s also recently begun getting into original programming with the launch of two shows, Alpha House and Betas.

It’s possible the additional costs of content acquisition and creation may be causing Amazon to look at that $79 and dream of a bigger number. Maybe the company will have different tiers of Prime service for people who want the video plan and those who just want the free shipping benefits? We don’t know as Amazon isn’t saying.

Amazon has made changes to Prime that some say make it less worthwhile. First, it began labeling some items as “add-on” items that did not count toward the minimum purchase total to qualify for free shipping. Then it raised that minimum from $25 to $35. For customers who had used Prime for many, smaller-dollar purchases and didn’t watch any of the streaming video selections, these changes took away a lot of the value for the program.

Amazon considering $20 to $40 price hike for Prime service in US [TheVerge]

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  1. SingleMaltGeek says:

    I use the Prime shipping a lot, but I watch mostly Netflix, and very little Prime Instant Video, despite having players for it. If they raise the price, I will probably cancel again.

    They really should consider breaking out the unlimited streaming pricing from the discounted shipping package.

  2. Raekwon says:

    I’m not understanding how the minimum free shipping amount or the add on items affect Prime membership other than encouraging more sign ups. Prime is Prime and those things have no effect on it whatsoever.

    • furiousd says:

      Exactly, that was Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping changing, not Prime. Although there are things that are only Prime as an add-on

  3. theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

    wait, huh? as a prime member, this doesn’t make sense

    “Amazon has made changes to Prime that some say make it less worthwhile. First, it began labeling some items as “add-on” items that did not count toward the minimum purchase total to qualify for free shipping. Then it raised that minimum from $25 to $35.”

    prime shipping and free shipping with $25/$35 minimum purchase are separate things. if i wanted to order a $7 item with free prime shipping right now, i could order just that item and my shipping would still be free.

    in my experience, the add on items are still add on items if your order is under the limit, but for item straight up marked “free prime shipping” there’s no minimum order.

    i do find there is less overlap between amazon and netflix than there used to be for the streaming video, so that’s a benefit.
    it’s likely i’d pay an extra $20 a year for prime, but if it went to $40 i’d want an additional benefit from it. like a discount on paid streaming videos (the new stuff) – an extra 15% off getting new doctor who episodes the day after they air would take the sting out of the price hike

  4. smirkette says:

    I wonder if this strategy would even work, though. I save add-on items until I have enough to cover the minimum. Going through with this means that I would likely buy less, not more. If the price of Prime goes up, I’ll likely cancel because my budget is tight at the moment–which means I’ll be buying a lot less from Amazon. Most of the reason I buy so much from them in the first place is because I have Prime.

    • furiousd says:

      Agreed, if I didn’t have Prime I doubt I would spend as much. I just got my tax email for last year: over $1500 in purchases that otherwise wouldn’t have happened

  5. CommonC3nts says:

    I think they need to split up prime into two separate programs one for packages and one for instant video.

    I use both, but they need to give a cheaper option for those that dont use the video.