Monday, February 27, 2012

Kindle books: What is FREE for Prime?

"Read for Free" prime has been quite a source of contention since the Prime library was introduced last year - a library that allows Amazon prime members to borrow a book a month to read for free on their kindle.

I've never quite understood why people get angry at something that's a bonus, or why they think the offer should be bigger & better. Today on a forum I saw quite a few comments that made it quite clear there is still a lot of confusion about this, for Prime and non-Prime members.

One way it has caused problems is really a combined result of us - as consumers - always being in a hurry, and Amazon's unfortunate lack of explanation & poor placement of the Prime member line. In skim-mode, many people see the big $0.00 and think, "Yeah! Free! Buy it!"  Doesn't matter that the BUY button has BUY FOR $2.99 on it. They don't have a Prime account & maybe don't understand that the Prime logo means at all - so they click and get upset when they realized they were charged for it.

I do think Amazon could handle this better - instead of the Prime line being so central, it should (IMHO) be moved aside and made clear it's not a free book, just a loan.

The second objection I read today is that many Prime members think the book is free to OWN, and so click buy... and are upset to find out they were charged. It is not free to own. It is free to read on a loan basis only.
In addition, to make it even more confusing, you cannot borrow it from the website. There is no 'borrow' button or even a 'How to' button.
FYI - You have to go to your kindle, turn on wireless, go to the kindle store and borrow from there. (Either from Menu > Library, or from the book itself & click the borrow button).

So... what is Prime membership?  Prime membership is a type of shipping account that has been around for years - long before Kindles were on the scene. For $79 a year, you & a few other accounts in your family, can get free 2-day shipping on orders. Well worth the money if you buy a lot online, which I do, especially around Christmas.

As a recent BONUS, prime members also have the option of free and discounted video streaming and the option to BORROW a book a month from the Prime library.
It is a great deal IF you manage it well - with shipments and/ or streaming and/ or loans. If you did it for the library alone - no shipping or videos - it is only worth the $$ if the books you borrow average at more than $6.59 a month. To view the books available, see

Personally, I have had Prime for years because I have a lot shipped to me, so even before streaming and the book library, I got my money's worth. If I did not use it for shipping, I would really have to look at what kind of books I might borrow and whether I would use the streaming before deciding on membership.

For more info see
View book library at

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