Amazon Prime is a membership service from Amazon that provides exclusive services and products to Amazon customers. Customers willing to pay the $10.99 per month or $99 per year membership fee receive access to Amazon Prime-only deals as well as expedited delivery at no additional charge -- including two-day shipping options and even same-day delivery in eligible areas via the Amazon Prime Now mobile app.
An Amazon Prime membership also includes unlimited access to select movies and TV shows through Amazon Prime Video, unlimited ad-free music streaming through Amazon Prime Music, unlimited photo storage and unlimited reading of select e-books on any device.
Finally, an Amazon Prime membership also carries additional benefits such as 30-minute early access to exclusive "Lightning Deals" on Amazon and members-only access to special deals on a Black Friday-like discount day called "Amazon Prime Day" that typically occurs each summer (starting late July 10th and extending through July 11th in 2017).
The Limitations of an Amazon Prime Membership
While an Amazon Prime membership offers an extensive list of benefits, there are some important limitations to take into consideration when debating the value of joining Prime. For starters, the Amazon Prime Music service plan that is included with a Prime membership provides access to only 2 million songs and a thousand playlists and stations.
Getting access to Amazon's more extensive catalog of 10+ million songs and "expert-programmed" playlists and stations will cost an additional $7.99/month (or $79/year) for a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited. Note that there is a lower cost Echo plan for accessing Amazon Music Unlimited only on Amazon Echo devices that costs $3.99 a month.
Similarly, the video and TV show library collection provided through Amazon Prime Video and book titles through Amazon Prime Reading are limited to lesser-known videos, shows and books in most cases. Newer releases, more popular titles, and access to content from providers like HBO will require separate purchases or additional membership plans.
Free Trial of Prime and Other Amazon Prime Memberships
Those looking to take Amazon Prime for a test drive can sign up for a free 30-day trial of the service. Note that when signing up for the trial, your credit card will be automatically charged the membership fee following the 30-day period unless you cancel Amazon Prime in advance.
In addition to the standard Prime account, there are versions available for college students and households. College students can get a six-month free trial of Prime through Amazon Prime Student and will only need to pay $49 per year instead of $99 if they choose to continue using the service.
Finally, a family can share Amazon Prime benefits through the Amazon Households service, which provides account access to up to six family members: two adults and up to four child profiles for accessing content on Amazon FreeTime.
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