The Tech News Blog

March 13, 2014

Amazon Raises Prime Membership Fee to $99 a Year

Amazon Prime

Free two-day shipping and access to streaming video from Amazon is going to cost you a bit more from now on.

The online retail giant on Thursday morning sent email to Prime members, informing them of a $20 price hike. This means the service will now set you back $99 a year, instead of $79. For existing members, the change will go into effect when your membership renews.

"Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years," Amazon wrote in the email. "Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free two-day shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million."

Recently, Amazon also teamed with the USPS to offer Sunday deliveries.

During that time, Amazon has also bolstered its Prime Instant Video library with more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes and added more than 500,000 books to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, the company said. Some new additions to the Instant Video catalog include Pulp Fiction, Star Trek, and Storage Wars.

January 31, 2014

Amazon Prime Could Get $20-$40 Price Hike

Amazon Prime

Free two-day shipping and access to streaming video from Amazon might cost you a bit more in the future.

The online retailer this week revealed that it is considering an Amazon Prime price hike in the range of $20 to $40 in the U.S. The service currently costs $79 per year, but "the increased cost of fuel, transportation, as well as the increased usage among Prime members" has prompted Amazon to consider a price bump, Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak said during a Thursday earnings call.

"We know the customers love Prime as the usage of the shipping benefit has increased dramatically since launch," he said. "On a per customer basis, Prime members are ordering more items across more categories with free two-day shipping than ever before."

The price of Prime has remained at $79 since its launch nine years ago; the program now extends to more than 90 million items, Szkutak said.

November 6, 2012

Amazon Testing $7.99 Monthly Prime Plan

Amazon Headquarters

If you're interested in Amazon Prime, but don't feel like forking over the $79 annual membership fee, then you have a new payment option: $7.99 a month.

Amazon has begun testing the new monthly payment option, which brings the service in line with monthly pricing for Netflix and Hulu Plus. A subscription to Amazon Prime will get you instant streaming of about 25,000 movies and TV shows, a monthly Kindle e-book rental, and free two-day shipping on Amazon purchases.

The new monthly price option was first spotted on the Prime signup page by a Hacking Netflix reader. The option does not appear to be available for all users at this time.

May 23, 2012

Amazon Prime Adds More Paramount Titles

Amazon Headquarters

Amazon signed an agreement with Paramount Pictures on Wednesday that will bring "hundreds" of new titles to the Amazon Prime service over the next three years.

The movies include Star Trek, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Top Gun, The Italian Job and The Truman Show, the companies said. Others, such as Mission: Impossible 3 are already listed on the services as Prime-compatible.

If users don't have Amazon Prime – a $79 annual service that allows free two-day shipping, the streaming videos, and other perks – users can rent movies like MI:3 for $2.99 to $3.99 for a 24-hour period, or buy a digital copy of the movie outright for more.

Amazon said that it continues to invest in Prime streaming offerings, although the company typically lags behind Netflix - which has also struggled to add big-name movies and TV shows to its lineup. In total, Amazon claims that it has about 17,000 movies and TV episodes; historically, Amazon has counted each episode against the total.

"We are continuing to invest in building a vast selection for Prime Instant Video and are excited to bring Prime customers some of the most renowned and popular films in cinema history under this new agreement with Paramount," said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon, in a statement. "This deal will bring Prime Instant Video customers hundreds of new movies to enjoy on their Kindle Fire or any device connected to Amazon Instant Video, including titles such as Star Trek, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Top Gun, The Italian Job and The Truman Show, and we will remain committed to adding even more great movies and TV shows to Prime Instant Video in the future."

November 3, 2011

Amazon Launches Free Kindle E-Book Lending

kindle lending

Amazon on Thursday launched the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which will let customers with an Amazon Prime membership borrow e-books for free.

The new program will start out by offering 5,000 titles free-of-charge to Kindle e-reader and app owners with a $79 annual Amazon Prime membership. Titles include Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair GameThe Big Short and Liars' Poker by Michael Lewis, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Amazon said available e-books will come from "a range of publishers under a variety of terms," though the Wall Street Journal said the six largest U.S. publishers are not participating due to concern over future sales.

The company said that in most cases, Amazon has worked out deals with publishers to include the book for a fixed fee while others will be paid each time it is borrowed. Users can borrow one e-book at a time, and any notes or bookmarks will be saved if you re-borrow the book down the road.

September 26, 2011

Amazon Prime Gets Speed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Other Fox Content

Amazon today announced a licensing agreement with Twentieth Century Fox that adds an extra 2,000 movie and TV shows to the deep content well available to Amazon Prime members. The new deal brings the total number of Amazon Prime instant videos to more than 11,000 when the movie and television shows becomes available later fall.

The Twentieth Century Fox films available to Amazon Prime members will include familiar names  such as "Speed," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Doctor Dolittle," "Last of the Mohicans," "Office Space," "The Longest Day," "All About Eve," "9 to 5," and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." On the television front, Twentieth Century Fox delivers "24," "The X-Files," "NYPD Blue," "Arrested Development," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Ally McBeal," and "The Wonder Years."

February 22, 2011

Amazon Opens Streaming Video Service for Prime Members

For tech geeks that frequent, a Prime membership is a handy tool to have if you like getting your gadgets, groceries, or just about anything else delivered within two days for "free" or overnight for $3.99/item. We put free in quotes because an Amazon Prime membership costs $79/year, but those that order from Amazon frequently usually find the cost an easy pill to swallow.

Now Amazon is making the cost of a Prime membership even more palatable -- the company is now making its Instant Video streaming service free to Prime members. That means that in addition to the free two-day shipping comes access to over 5,000 instant streaming movies and TV shows.