In 2012 I made a super popular “Amazon Prime Review” YouTube video where I broke down the price structure and how much shipping you would have to do to get your money back.
Things have changed significantly since then so I’m now writing this blog post for your reference if you want to see is Amazon Prime worth it?
First thing’s first. Amazon Prime costs $99 for a year.
So I see it as my job to justify at least $80 of actual cost to you.
Because Amazon Prime packs a wallop in convenience too. Imagine not having to run to Target or Wal-Mart another 3-4 times a year. Imagine getting your new gadget-toy in 2 days instead of 6.
That kinda stuff is worth something too.
But I want to show that Amazon Prime is mostly cost efficient, not just checkout stand convenient.
If you use Prime for the shipping cost alone, you need to average roughly 2 orders per month to make up the $100 difference.
Why 2 orders per month?
If we conservatively the average shipping on an order at $4, then you’d need to pay that 25x to reach $100.
12 months x 2 orders = 24 orders which is right there.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to order something twice a month, just that you need to average 2 orders a month.
For example, if you’re placing 5 orders in December and 4 orders in June, when you have several birthday’s, then that would offset any down months of 1 or 0 orders.
Note that Amazon recently upped its minimum order to get standard shipping from $25 to $35 so this becomes an even better deal. You can no longer just piece $25 worth of stuff together and get slow free shipping.
This is actually way better than industry standard. According to the Wall Street Journal, on average a customer has to spend $82 to get free shipping in online retail. It does cost money to the companies so you’re going to have to pay for it one time or another.
Of course, if you make a bunch of orders throughout the year, Amazon Prime becomes more and more a better deal.
You might not shop at Amazon that much now but maybe you transition a little more if you get a membership. Something to think about.
3rd: Free Streaming Video
When you become a part of Amazon’s club, you also get access to a decent selection of movies, documentaries, and TV shows.
In terms of selection, it’s constantly changing. I’d compare the titles to a slightly poorer man’s Netflix. However, they do put some winners in, particularly in the TV series or program realm.
With programs and TV series, they’ve got a lot of great History channel stuff and PBS shows and all that. You just have to browse to see if they have anything you like.
As another example of the real value in streaming video, my cousin got the entire set of Ancient Aliens for Christmas. These are about $8.99 – $12.99 apiece (or $1.99 per episode streaming) on Amazon and there’s 7 seasons. ALL OF THE EPISODES ARE ON PRIME.
My uncle could have saved the cost of a membership by purchasing Prime and giving her the login. (Not the same, I know, but you get my point.)
Click here to see what they have.
To summarize, if you are interested in watching any streaming video, it really does add value to Prime. I’m about to complete the History channel series, The Men Who Built America which would cost $10 on DVD. That’s a good chunk of savings for 1 month.
3rd: Borrowing Kindle Books (You Need a Kindle)
Before I begin, big * is you need a Kindle to borrow. Kindle’s are pretty cool entertainment tablets but whether this section applies to you depends on whether you have or even want a Kindle. Here’s the one I have.
I don’t always remember to but I try to borrow an ebook every month because Amazon Prime members get 1 ebook enrolled in Kindle Select per month.
The titles available vary based on the authors/publishing companies but I was able to get The Big Short by Michael Lewis free using my membership. The Kindle version of this book sells for $9.77.
Quite a few independent authors have their ebooks available for free so if you like independent books, this service might be even more valuable.
4th: Songs and Photos
You can also get unlimited songs streaming (don’t use) and photo storage (don’t use).
As you can see neither of these add value to me so I can’t speak from experience here but if either appeal to you, then it’s another reason to tip Prime in your favor.
You can now see all the costs in play. Is Amazon Prime worth it for you?
The answer depends on 3 factors:
- How many orders you place
- How much you would use streaming video
- How many books you would borrow
While you think about it, you can also test it out for free: Amazon Prime is 100% free to try for 1 month.
Click here to try it out.
PS Cancelling is easy if you decide not to join.