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Amazon Prime Membership – Worth The Higher Cost?

I’ve been a loyal Amazon Prime member for years – in fact, I enrolled in the program within a week of purchasing my very first Kindle (one of the black and white ones that didn’t even have a touch screen). Since Amazon Prime’s inception in 2005, the charge for the annual membership has been $79… until now.

A few months back, I received an email from Amazon concerning my Prime membership. The basic gist of the email is as follows:

“We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews on August 18, 2014.”

At the time, I just filed the email away under “stuff to deal with later.” My membership was still 6 months away from expiring, and the extra $20 for the membership didn’t seem all that pertinent to me at the time. Now, as my Prime membership is about to expire, I’m seriously starting to wonder about whether or not it’s going to be worth paying $99 for the first time.

So just what are the benefits of Amazon Prime membership? Below are my top 3 reasons for renewing, despite the higher cost:

1) Free access to thousands of TV episodes and movie titles through Amazon Prime’s streaming service. This kind of operates like a pared down Netflix. I love this because it gives my kids the option to watch a lot of their favorite shows (just about everything on Nick Jr can be found for free on Amazon) without costing me anything. I use this service multiple times a week, if not daily.

2) Free access to Amazon’s Kindle Lenders’ Library. This is the place I go to get free books – just like checking the latest titles out of the library! A few years ago, when there was a months’ long wait at my local library to check out The Hunger Games, I was able to read the entire series for free thanks to my Prime Membership.

3) Free 2-day shipping on a wide variety of items for sale on Amazon. I don’t use this very often – maybe 1-2 times a quarter – but when I do, I’m always happy that I don’t have to worry about paying for shipping. Most recently, I bought my kids a bounce house for my youngest’s birthday and saved more than $25 dollars because of the free shipping.

Now my question is – do you think the $99 is worth it? I feel like I’m getting my money’s worth out of my Prime Membership, but I’m wondering what those of you who have also subscribed to this service over the years think of the price hike. Please let me know!

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