Amazon Prime Fee is Prime No More

For nine years Amazon Prime, the expedited shipping service, had an annual membership fee of $79. However, in April of 2014 it will become $20 more expensive.

What is Amazon Prime?

Prime began as a membership program that entitled customers to "free 2-day shipping" on select products in the seller's catalog. Over the years, however, it has grown to be more. Today, it also includes "free" streaming of select movies and television shows and the ablitiy to borrow certain Kindle books.

At the time of this writing, Prime Instant Video includes more than 40,000 videos and the Kindle Lending Library contains over 500,000 books.

Why Prime isn't Prime

The new membership fee will be $99 and that's not prime. Now, maybe the company was making a play on words by charging $79 for their service, but I'm not sure. In math, a prime number is divisible by one and by itself — and that's it. The number 79 is prime. So, I always thought that was where the name of the program came from. The new cost isn't prime. It's divisible by 1, 3, 9, 11, and 33. If the company had shifted the cost of the service by just a few dollars, it could have kept the pun going. After all, $97 or $101 isn't too far away from $99. Perhaps Amazon is simply taking advantage of psychological pricing, a technique for maximizing sales by setting prices at points that consumers "perceive as being signifiantly lower than they actually are."