Amazon Prime price increase now official, will cost $99/year instead of $79

13 March 2014, 11:07 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

Amazon Prime prices are increasing for the first time since the service first debuted nine years ago, going up to $99 a year.

Rumors about a potential spike in Amazon Prime pricing have been swirling for a good while, and now Amazon has officially announced that it will indeed increase the price of its Prime service.

According to the announcement, existing members will soon have to pay $99 instead of $79 to renew their membership, while Amazon Student members will have to shell out $49. The Amazon Prime Fresh membership will remain unchanged, priced at $299. Amazon offers more details on a support page regarding the Amazon Prime membership charge:

"If your membership renews before April 17, 2014, you'll be charged at a membership rate of $79. If your membership renews on or after April 17, 2014, you'll be charged at a membership rate of $99," Amazon explains.

Paying this annual charge for Amazon Prime membership offers several advantages, including free two-day shipping, Prime Instant Video, as well as the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Amazon noted that it has sent out emails to all of its subscribers, notifying them of the upcoming price changes.

Rumors about this price increase started to shape up back in early January, when Amazon reported disappointing earnings for the holiday quarter that had passed. The disappointing performance during the holiday season affected the company's stock, putting Amazon in a difficult position.

Amazon's stock has recovered since that tumble, but the company missed analyst expectations on both its top and bottom lines in the holiday quarter. The company has tried to offer budget-friendly solutions with all of its products and services, but a slight price increase in some areas was nonetheless expected.

As previously mentioned, Amazon Prime first launched nine years ago, and today it stands for far more than just a free shipping service. Although Amazon Prime members will not see these new price changes as good news, most long-time subscribers will likely choose to renew their membership anyway. Generally, Amazon prime members have grown very fond of the company's video streaming and Kindle libraries, and re-subscribing is likely worth it for most users despite the $20 spike in pricing. Even at $99 per year, the service is still a bargain considering what it offers.

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