Few things give me more “bang for my buck” than Amazon Prime. For $79 a year, I can one-click shop to my heart’s content, and never worry about hitting a Super Saver Shipping minimum or wonder when my stuff will arrive. Free two-day shipping, $4/item overnight shipping, no minimums … it’s hard to complain about Prime in any way.
That’s why I don’t think it’s a big deal that Prime is reportedly going to raise its annual fee to $119 … especially not when I place maybe a dozen orders a month (though that number has dropped precipitously after Amazon started charging sales tax in New Jersey last summer). I also don’t think it’s a big deal for a price bump because Prime also offers other perks – like Prime Instant Video (easily accessible on just about every major device) and the Kindle Owners Lending Library.
But I do have to stop and question whether Amazon could be cutting back corners in other places or re-tooling some ideas, rather than jacking up the price of Prime. The price hike would come due to an increased cost in shipping. There’s nothing we can do to refute that – we all know gas prices are insane (even though I paid $2.99 a gallon for gas [and credit, too!] a week ago). But when I order a single Blu-ray and it shows up in a 10” x 3” x 7” box, I have to wonder whether Amazon is doing everything it can to save money.
I rarely have issues with Amazon’s packaging; most of my orders are a single book, or a single movie, or a single game, and they usually come in a padded envelope designed for just that purpose. If I order more than just one item, Amazon usually sends them along in a box perfectly suited to their shape. But this? This is kind of ridiculous.
Sure, you can leave feedback on Amazon’s packaging, but that feedback form is about the entire package process, including shipping speed. I filled out the form and uploaded the picture above, but don’t know if it’ll do anything.
I have no problem with Amazon or Prime, and I don’t mind paying an extra $40 a year. But I rarely use Instant Video or Lending Library – so why not offer an option to keep your price at $79 and drop those? I don’t know that the Lending Library would be able to support itself, but Instant Video should be able to – especially with the original content they’ve been producing.
That’s where this is all going, right? Amazon is like a drug dealer; it gets us hooked on these fringe services – I imagine most people pay for Prime primarily for quick shipping – to one day spin them off into their own, standalone services. Why not now? Why not at a time when you’re going to raise prices anyway? If you’re really dedicated to taking on Netflix and Hulu, make a stand. Give us options.