Is Amazon Prime Worth It?


On July 11th, Prime Day arrives, and with it, a lot of people will get a free trial, or will consider signing up. To be fair, it is $100 a year, after the free trial expires, and that’s not cheap for most of us. But you get a lot for your money. In fact, you get a lot more than you might think. Let’s break down the benefit, and whether they’re all worth it.

Amazon Households

The most important note is that if Amazon lets you split a Prime membership between two accounts, as long as both members are adults and both agree to pay half the bill for Prime. So, if both you and your roommate, or spouse, or sibling, want the deals, you can share. That also reduces the financial load.

Free Shipping

The most basic benefit is, of course, free shipping. Amazon offers two-day shipping, “no rush” shipping, standard shipping, and even day-of-release shipping for Prime members, as well as a few other shipping options at a discount. No Rush is a particular stand-out because if you choose it, you get either a discount on the item or a promotional bonus applied to your account. On a practical level, look at your Amazon history, see what you order , and how fast you need it. If you’re buying one or two items a month, you’ll probably come out even.

Prime Streaming

The other most widely known benefit is, of course, Amazon’s streaming service. Prime’s got some very good original series, such as Transparent, it’s home to some great series like Eastbound And Down and Justified, and it’s got a pretty great movie selection too. If you’re considering cutting the cord or paring down your cable subscription, the Prime Video will fill in a lot of gaps for your viewing.

Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and Kindle And Prime Reading

If you read a lot of ebooks, and your library can’t keep up, Amazon, believe it or not, will loan you books! It even has two programs for loaning you books to read! For some incredibly odd reason, Amazon never touts this feature, but if you’re an avid reader, your Prime subscription will pay for itself.

There are some caveats, though: To borrow from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, you need a Kindle — you can’t read the books you borrow on the Kindle app. Books available on Prime Reading, however, can be read on your Kindle via the app, too. And Amazon has a lot of books for your reading pleasure (no, not just the self-published stuff), so bookworms will save a lot of money. Oh, and Kindle owners get a free book every month, via the Kindle First program.

Audible Channels For Prime

Another little discussed benefit is Audible, Amazon’s audiobook storefront. Amazon has a deal in place where Prime members get access to Audible Channels and certain audiobooks. While the audiobooks available are more of a sampler than anything else, the Prime content is quite good, and news junkies in particular will enjoy access to The Washington Post. Considering Audible Channels is $60 a year on its own, if you’re an audiobook fan, that’s a fairly good deal.

Prime Music

Unlike Prime Streaming, it’s fair to say Amazon has lagged somewhat in the music department. While it has a reasonably good library, and the playlists and other content are decent, it’s not as strong as Spotify and Amazon’s insistence on having you download yet another app — not to mention making you subscribe to their service above your Prime membership for the best features and most music — may leave a bad taste in the mouths of some. It’ll be a good backup for parties and work if Spotify or Pandora are down or you just want a service for background music, but it’s firmly second-string and shouldn’t be the clincher.

The Other Deals

There are a bunch of other deals and discounts that come with Prime, but they tend to be more specific. For example, if you’re a gamer with a Twitch account, you can get ad-free streaming on Twitch. If you own an Amazon Prime credit card or store card, you get 5% cash back, and if you keep a gift card balance on Amazon, you can get 2% cash back on that. You can also get access to Amazon’s private label products, the food delivery service Prime Pantry, and have access to streaming add-ons like Showtime. And if you’re anxious to get your grocery shopping done online but don’t want to pay for Instacart, Amazon offers “Fresh” for prime members only. However, it’s $15 a month on top of your Prime subscription, so you’ll want to weigh that separately as well.

So, is Prime worth it? If you use it smartly, you’ll get your $100 worth, and that’s before any deals you get on Prime Day. So, whether you’re weighing it for Prime Day or just in general, Prime is likely worth it.