Review: Amazon Prime

I had originally planned to review Amazon Prime last as it was the last video streaming service that I invested in but seeing as today is the last day to get Amazon Prime for $79/year, I thought I better hopscotch it to the front.

Last Day to Subscribe to Amazon Prime for $79

What is Amazon Prime?

Initially, and primarily, Amazon Prime is Amazon’s priority shipping program. If you see the check box with the word Prime next to it Prime

 that means that not only is there no shipping charge for Amazon Prime members but you will receive your package in as little as two days.

In addition to the shipping, you also have access to unlimited streaming of Prime Instant Video on any compatible device. Yep, the streaming of free movies and television shows is included in the price.

And, if you own a Kindle, you can request to “borrow” one free book per month from the Kindle Owners’ Lenders Library. You can only borrow one book at a time but there is no due or expiration date.

A program that I am just reading about today is Kindle First. With Kindle First, you can download one of four editor’s picks a month before the official publication date. This is available to everyone but it is free to Amazon Prime subscribers. Hm.

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What I do like about Amazon Prime.

I like that I can start off with a free 30 day trial.

Cover of "Veronica Mars"

Cover of Veronica Mars

What I actually spend the most time using is the streaming. I have found shows that are not available on Hulu Plus or Netflix. I have finally watched all 3 seasons of Veronica Mars and my friend and I are planning a day to order the newly released Veronica Mars movie. Yeah!!

And I have been slamming House Hunters even though the skip several seasons with no real explanation.

I also like that I can share my two day shipping benefit with up to 4 other people. Especially as I have 3 teenage kids who order from their own Amazon accounts.

What don’t I like about Amazon Prime?

My first turn-off was that I couldn’t use my Amazon gift card balance to pay for my Prime. That $79 debit on my card came as a bit of an unpleasant surprise. Especially since I asked an Amazon chat representative if they would charge my balance and got a positive response. Apparently, my representative was incorrect.

So far, the shipping itself has been fine. I don’t always go with Amazon Prime because it might not be the lowest price. On the other hand, if time is of the essence, than I immediately seek out Prime offerings. Other members on my plan, however, have been killing the shipping savings. Lol.

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One thing that sincerely bummed me is that the only way to borrow a Kindle book is if you own a Kindle device. If you are using the book apps on your phone, you are pretty much out of luck for this aspect. Although, I do wonder if I had a Kindle device  and borrowed a book, would it also show up on my Android phone. Hm. (Anyone know the answer to this, feel free to leave it in the comments. :-))

My final criticism is about the streaming videos. First off, I was very disappointed to learn that not all of the videos were not available to be streamed.  And, of course, I loathe the way the try to plump up there offerings by having each season separated so that I have to add/remove each one as I go along. And if you plan to watch a particular show, you better hop on it quick as it could be taken off of Prime at any time. I was watching Californication under my Prime account but just the other day, I logged in to find that it is now $1.99 an episode. Boo!!

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Is Amazon Prime worth it?

The Closer

The Closer (Photo credit: srqpix)

So, is Amazon Prime worth it? For my family, yes. I stream a lot. As a matter of fact, I am streaming The Closer as I write this post.

Compared to Hulu Plus and Netflix, it comes out about even. While Hulu and Netflix offer more shows and the interface is more logical, I can’t discount the value of the free shipping. I used it just this morning to save $3.75. And the package that I ordered shipped just a few hours later and is expected to hit my doorstop on Friday.

For me, it is definitely worth it. Although I order frequently, it is not frequently enough to reach $35 each time. And my family, yeah, it seems as if we have packages delivered every week.

Don’t forget, if you want to lock in the $79/year price, you have to at least sign up for the Amazon Prime Free 30 Day trial by the end of today and upgrade to paid membership by April 17, 2014. After that, the price is $99/year.

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