Amazon Prime – More Than Just Shopping and Shipping
Originally introduced by Amazon in the US as a subscription service giving customers premium shipping for their purchases from the site, Amazon Prime was eventually expanded in an effort to make it more desirable. Aside from free, faster shipping, Prime members get access to extras like a Kindle reading library, photo storage and more. But one bonus has been so successful, Amazon eventually started offering it as a service on its own – Prime Video.
What is Amazon Prime?
More than just a subscription to a streaming service, Amazon Prime is a full package of perks that not only enhance your experience shopping on Amazon, but also provides an ever-growing list of extra benefits that are tightly tied in with all the things Amazon has to offer. All of this comes at a surprisingly low price, with a single low annual subscription covering everything to do with Amazon Prime (it’s also available month-to-month if you’d prefer).
Amazon Prime Plans
- Monthly – just $6.99/month
- Annual – just $59/year (approx. $4.90/month).
The list of benefits included with a Prime subscription has already expanded since the service launched in Australia, and Amazon continues to add to the inclusions available with Prime at no extra cost. If you shop on Amazon even occasionally it’s a good idea to have a Prime subscription – but with the range of content on offer, it’s hard to go past at the price regardless.
Amazon Prime Video
There are very few streaming services that could hold their own in a market where Netflix and Stan have attracted so much attention, but Prime Video has managed to do exactly that. Amazon is one of the big players when it comes to original productions for their streaming service – and you’ll find them holding pride of place on Prime Video, ready to stream in 4K. Alongside the multi-award-winning comedy-drama The Marvelous Mrs Maisel there’s high-budget car action with the Top Gear team in three epic seasons of The Grand Tour, the high-stakes espionage thriller series Jack Ryan, the new Julia Roberts series Homecoming (from the creator of Mr Robot) and must-see thriller Hanna arriving in March. You’ll also find critically acclaimed series like The Man in the High Castle, Bosch and American Gods, plus hugely popular shows such as This Is Us and a vast range of movies to suit all tastes – ranging from recent titles like Downsizing and A Quiet Place to all-time classics such as Dirty Dancing, Grease, The Big Lebowski and the Mission Impossible series.
You can stream Prime Video on a wide range of devices, from popular smart TVs to phone and tablets, as well as streaming devices like Apple TV and Amazon’s own Fire TV Stick. There’s no extra charge for HD or 4K streaming, either – it’s all part of your Prime membership.
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It might seem like the less glamourous side of Prime, but if you spend any time shopping for products on Amazon you’ll quickly start to realise how brilliant Prime Delivery is. Any product that you find on Amazon’s Australian store that has the familiar Prime logo next to it can be shipped to you with expedited delivery – with absolutely no shipping charge. It doesn’t matter how big or small your order is – whether it’s a Blu-ray movie, a new toaster and frypan or toys for the kids, if you see that Prime logo, then all you pay is the price for the product.
Not only that, but on a range of eligible products from Amazon’s US store, you can get free shipping direct from the US to your door on any order that totals over $49.
Once you’ve gotten used to the ease and convenience of shopping Amazon’s vast range it’s hard to go back, especially when you realise that checking out shipping costs is a thing of the past if you’re a Prime member!
Featuring over two million songs (and growing every day) and available at no cost to Prime subscribers, Amazon Prime Music gives you a brilliant cross-section of the best music in almost all genres, ready to stream whenever you like at no charge. There’s a bunch of hand-picked playlists for all eras and genres (such as the “50 Great” series), as well as radio stations for when you just want some music in the background. Amazon Prime Music has apps available for everything from your phones and tablets to your desktop PC, or you can listen directly on the web site. Music streams at full quality and it’s absolutely free for 40 hours of listening every month. And if you decide you want to go beyond the huge range of music on offer, you can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited and explore the entire vast library of tens of millions of songs. Any songs, albums or playlists that you’ve added in Prime Music will stay with you if you decide to use that service, as well.
Amazon Music. 50 million songs. $11.99/month.
With visual and musical entertainment covered, it makes perfect sense for Prime to give you something to feast your eyes on as well – and that’s where Prime Reading comes in. You get access to over a thousand eBooks completely free – just download them and start reading. You can read online direct from your web browser, using the free Kindle apps available for phones, tablets and PCs – or download your free books directly on an Amazon Kindle eBook reader. The Kindle reader is the most popular and well-liked eBook brand on the market, and a range of them are available direct from Amazon (with free Prime shipping, of course!)
A recently-added perk for Prime Reading users is the new Prime First Reads selection. Every month, you’re given a selection of half a dozen brand new books that are still a month or more away from being published. Prime subscribers can choose one of these books each month and be among the first in the world to read it – and the books are yours to keep, too. It’s a great way to discover new authors and some exciting new stories.
You can see where this is going by now – Amazon Prime encompasses all facets of entertainment, so it’s only natural that would include one of the biggest types of entertainment on the market – video games. Hugely popular global game streaming service Twitch has gone from strength to strength since becoming part of Amazon, and it gets some proper Prime attention too, in the form of Twitch Prime.
There are more than a few benefits to Twitch Prime, starting with a free Twitch channel subscription every month so you can support your favourite streamer, expanded chat emotes, colours and badges, and regular free in-game loot (especially if you link your Twitch account with your favourite games). But even better, every month Twitch Prime gives you a selection of games for your PC, completely free and yours to keep forever. Over the months that the free games have been arriving, there’s been some absolutely stunning, acclaimed titles given away for nothing to all Prime subscribers, and the goodness continues.
How much does Amazon Prime cost?
You can subscribe to Amazon Prime either on a month-by-month basis or annually, with the monthly price set at $6.99. The real value is had in the annual subscription, though, which costs $59 (a remarkably cheap $4.90 per month) and makes sure you’re all set for an entire year. There’s a 30-day free trial when you sign up (yes, including the free shipping) so you can road-test all the perks of Prime for yourself and not pay a cent unless you’re happy.
The best way to reach Amazon is to jump on their website and click on the “Help” button at the top right, and then on the “Contact Us” button at the bottom. If you want a more direct way to reach them, you can call Amazon’s 24/7 customer support team through their general help number at 1800 571 894. If your question is about an existing US-based Amazon account, you can also contact their US support at 0011 1 206 266 2992 (and if you use Skype to make that call it will be toll-free).
Amazon Prime Video Australia Review
Amazon Prime may have started in Australia as just another video streaming provider. But now, having turned into a package that combines entertainment, perks, shopping deals and free shipping for less than five dollars a month, it’s essential for anyone who shops, games or watches video online.