Amazon Prime: The ultimate clutter-free gift
I’ve been a member of Amazon Prime for years—well over a decade, I’m sure. I first joined when pretty much the only benefit was free two-day shipping (and it cost $79 annually). Now the price is up to $99 but to me it’s an amazing bargain. The free shipping is great. But they have added some benefits that make the $99 expenditure well worth it, even you never have a thing shipped.
I’m a big advocate of giving gifts that won’t create clutter and Amazon Prime fits the bill. (Except, of course, that it would make it easy for the recipient to acquire more physical stuff…but at least that stuff wouldn’t be a hard-to-part-with gift.)
In case you’re not aware, I’ll spell out the Amazon Prime benefits. It provides so many options for accessing information and entertainment, all for $99 a year.
- Free two-day shipping. You not only get your stuff shipped free, it comes more quickly! In certain metropolitan areas, Prime Now offers free same-day delivery is available for certain items.
- Amazon Prime Video. At no additional charge, you can stream certain TV shows (including a library of HBO shows) and movies, as well as Amazon Original programming that is available nowhere else. There are some terrific Amazon Originals, including Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, The Man in the High Castle, Bosch, and Catastrophe.
- Amazon Prime Music. I recently discovered that I can stream music free of charge and free of ads through Amazon. You can tap into curated playlists or listen to whole albums. I just realized that rather than spending $20 on the Hamilton Original Cast Recording album via iTunes, I could just stream it through Amazon Prime Music. And get this: you can display the lyrics, if you want.
- Audible audiobooks and Audible Channels. Until recently, I didn’t even know that Audible channels existed. I haven’t tried them out yet, but they’re original audio programming that look really interesting. (I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all the options of things to listen to!) With Amazon Prime, you can stream certain audiobooks and (I think) all Audible Channels at no extra charge.
- Kindle First books. I’ve written here about how much I love my Amazon Kindle. I read three or four books a month on my Kindle, most of which I check out from the library. Recently, Amazon added Kindle First, which provides Prime Members a monthly small selection of pre-release books, one of which can be downloaded free.
- Kindle Owners Lending Library. With the Kindle Owners Lending Library, Amazon Prime members can borrow one book per month from a limited selection of books. The one caveat is that the borrowed books cannot be read on the Kindle app on other devices; they must be read on the Kindle itself. And you must return the current borrowed book before borrowing another. I’ve taken advantage of this benefit many times.
- Prime Reading. It was only in researching this post that I learned about Prime Reading, which allows free reading of a limited (but not small) selection of books and magazines on your Kindle or Kindle app. What blew me away is that I can read, free of charge, the current issue of certain magazines, including Entertainment Weekly. I subscribed to EW for 25 years before I stopped my subscription because my aging eyes found the type too small to read. I’m taking great joy in knowing that I have access to the current issue (and I can make the type big enough to enjoy!). With a single click, I delivered it to my iPad Mini.
- Prime Photos provides free, unlimited storage space for photos. I haven’t tried it, but if you’re looking for cloud storage for your photos, it might be worth looking into.
- Twitch Prime, for gamers, provides free access to Twitch’s game-streaming service. I don’t even really know what that means, but if you’re a gamer, you might want to check it out.
This isn’t a comprehensive list. For more details, check out the Prime Benefits page at Amazon or this article from DealNews, Amazon Prime Benefits You May Not Know About.
In the past, you couldn’t give Amazon Prime as a gift. But in 2013 that changed. Click here to purchase Amazon Prime as a gift. Of course, one downside to purchasing a subscription as a gift is that the recipient has to re-up (or you choose to keep giving the gift). If your recipient is using the benefits of Amazon Prime, though, they may be more than happy to renew their subscription.
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