It’s hard to believe that I’ve been an Amazon Prime member for over eight years! I have the proof right here…
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When I joined Amazon Prime in 2007, the only benefit that I knew of was free shipping. That alone was worth it to me. I order a lot from Amazon, and I loved not thinking about the added cost of shipping with each order. I don’t remember if they had 2-day Prime shipping back then or not. I’m not even sure if the amount I saved on shipping justified the cost: I liked the not thinking about shipping enough to spend the $60 or so a year for that luxury. Back then I didn’t know anyone else who had even heard of Amazon Prime, let alone was a member.
Not long after I joined, they started adding videos, but there was nothing there that thrilled me. I prefered my Netflix DVD subscription and I thought that Amazon was crazy for adding a streaming feature. The selection was slim, and what they did have were old movies and nothing that I wanted to login to see. There was no WiFi TV back then, and I’d have to watch it through my flat screen computer monitor.
I’d all but forgotten about the streaming feature until just a couple of years ago when one of my son’s favorite shows disappeared from Netflix. I decided to login to Amazon Prime to look for it there and I was amazed at how much it had evolved since the last time I’d paid attention to it.
Last year or so they had their first, that I could remember, rate increase and raised the price to $99 per year. If it was still only free shipping then this would have bothered me. Good thing Amazon Prime has so much more to offer now!
Here’s why I’ll always be an Amazon Prime member:
- Free 2-Day shipping: I can order something on Wednesday and have it before the weekend! This has saved me when I need to get a quick birthday present and don’t have the time to shop in a physical store. Sometimes Amazon will offer a $1 or $2 incentive to select no-rush shipping that can be applied to future digital purchases. In my experience, the actual time added on is practically nil and when I’m not in a rush it’s a nice little bonus.
- Prime Instant Video: We still tend to watch Netflix more than Amazon, but having Amazon is still worth it to me. I don’t ever buy DVDs anymore. Instead, I purchase movies not available on Prime or Netflix from Amazon and watch them on my TV, tablet, or phone. Like Netflix, Amazon Prime has some original shows. For kids shows, they show pilots so viewers can vote on which shows will be produced. The Amazon Prime original series, Transparent, just won five Emmy Awards. And, they have Downton Abbey! We don’t get live TV in the house, so this is the only way I can enjoy this show. While watching Season 5 of Downton Abbey, I noticed that if I touch the screen on my tablet, information pops up about each actor/actress in the current scene. You can leave it on or turn it off, but when it’s on info comes on and off the screen about whoever is in the current scene. Trivia information is also available.
- Prime Music: This is a feature that I’ve only recently come to appreciate. They’ve just added “Stations” to make it easy to listen to a variety of music without much effort. Select a station based on a favorite artist or genre, and let it play! I’m currently listening to “Just Beats” as it helps me to concentrate on writing, working or studying. I found it under that category of “Work, Study & Reading.” In addition to stations, they also have tons of free music that you can listen to from your mobile device, computer, or even your TV.
- Prime Photos: This is the best feature that I have not taken advantage of yet. Amazon gives you UNLIMITED storage of your precious photos. I already upload my photos to Google Photos and Facebook, and this will be another great place to store them without worrying about limits. I’m currently at 141% of my 2GB limit on Facebook and I keep wondering when they will auto-delete photos or start charging me for more space. Prime Photos lets you automatically backup from your phone as you take pictures and upload photos from your PC or Mac computer.
- Early Access and Prime Member-Only Deals: Prime members get early access to sales like Lightning Deals as well as member-only sales. They had a Black Friday in July event that only Prime members could attend.
- Kindle Books: I do wish that Kindle Unlimited were part of Amazon Prime, but maybe that’s getting a little greedy. What they do offer here is one free book per month. You can choose one of six Editor’s Pick early-release books each month. Prime members can also borrow one book per month for free. There are no due dates, but if you return it early you still have to wait until the next month to borrow your next book.
- Easy Returns: Okay, this isn’t a Prime exclusive feature, but it’s a big reason why I love to buy from Amazon. In the ten years or so that I’ve been ordering from Amazon (8 of those as a Prime member), I’ve only ever had to return one thing. The return was beyond simple. I just printed something out and put the box on my front step. UPS put the label on and sent it back for me.
- Innovation: Considering that Amazon Prime has added features that I never would have dreamed of eight years ago, I’m guessing that they will continue to improve and add features that I don’t even know that I need yet.
Things I buy from Amazon to take advantage of 2-Day Prime Shipping:
- Books (especially regarding aromatherapy, homeopathy, and botanical medicine)
- Toys for my son and for his friends when they have a birthday
- Electronics: I even got my husband’s Verizon phone through Amazon because it was the cheapest price I could find on the Samsung Galaxy S5 at the time.
- Odd batteries for my kitchen scale and car keys
- Non-Candy Treats for Halloween
- Herbs and supplements
- Random other stuff
Even when I don’t buy from Amazon, I still go and price compare and read reviews to help with purchase decisions.
I’m sure there are tons more things about Prime that I haven’t even tried out yet. For instance, Prime Pantry delivers everyday items to your doorstep like baby care, pet care, and snacks, cooking, and household items. I just haven’t used it yet!
To celebrate Transparent’s five Emmy awards, Amazon is offering $32 savings to new Amazon Prime members for one day only. On Friday, September 25, 2015 from 12:00 am ET to 11:59 pm PT, Amazon is offering new members a special price of $67 (normally $99) for the first year of Prime. I would snatch this up if I were not already a member! Even if you miss this deal, there is always a 30 day trial period to try Prime.
Time for me to go start uploading my pictures to Amazon Prime Photos! And time for you to go join Amazon Prime!