Personal Finance

Amazon Prime for Students: Beyond the Free Trial

amazon-ddMany students take advantage of free Amazon Prime for Students. The free and fast shipping along with discounts on textbooks can be a huge draw for a student on a budget. However, there comes a time when your free trial runs out and you must decide whether to purchase a one year membership. Here are the pros and cons of an Amazon Prime Student membership.

Advantages of Amazon Prime Student
There are so many pros of Amazon Prime Student. It can be especially handy for people who put up ordering until the last minute, with free two day shipping on even the smallest orders. If you need it even faster, Prime members can get guaranteed one day shipping for just $3.99. This is a huge advantage over normal Amazon shipping, which takes 5-8 days and is free only for orders over $35. These are the same benefits as normal Amazon Prime, but at roughly half the annual cost.

Another advantage of Amazon Prime Student is Instant Video. Amazon offers a wide range of videos and music for free to Prime members. While you cannot access these on a free trial due to digital copyright issues, paying for a Prime Student account will open up a new world of free television shows and movies.

In addition, all Prime members have access to the Kindle Lending Library. You and friends can lend each other digital copies of books, including textbooks, for a month on your Kindles or Kindle Readers. This can be very helpful for students who want a book as reference for a short period of time but can’t afford to buy the book. In addition, Amazon offers a variety of free books for Kindle users, so you may find some books you need and even a few that you want in their reading library.

Disadvantages of Amazon Prime Student
One of the major cons of Amazon Prime Student is the price tag. While people who buy regularly from Amazon will probably save the $39 that the annual membership costs on shipping alone, it still is a sizable amount of money. You basically are committing to buying from Amazon for the year. And once you’re not a student anymore, the price for Amazon Prime goes up to the regular $99 per year — with automatic renewal, so be sure you know when that’s coming if you use a debit card tied to your checking account!

In addition, not all items are eligible for Prime Shipping. This is especially true of used textbooks. If you buy from most private sellers, you will save nothing on shipping by being a Prime Student member. In addition, while the $3.99 guaranteed one day shipping sounds like a good idea, keep in mind that this is $3.99 per item.

Last, many people feel that, while Netflix costs more, it is a better deal than Amazon Prime Instant Video because it has so many more titles and tends to lag less. However, it’s important to remember that the Instant Video is only a perk of Amazon Prime Student, while the shipping is the main benefit.

Is Amazon Prime Student a Good Deal?
Amazon Prime Student is a good deal for many, but not all, students. If you regularly need expedited shipping, then the annual price will probably save you money. This is only true if you buy from Amazon Prime vendors, however. In addition, many people without the membership use other streaming services that have a higher number of on demand titles. But people who like to borrow Kindle books or watch videos occasionally will probably find Amazon Prime Student a good deal.

Amazon Prime Student is a great deal for most students, but has too few benefits for others to justify the annual cost. It’s important to weigh your options and make the decision that will be best for your needs and your resources.

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