Amazon Prime subscriptions just rose by 25 percent to $99 a year

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Launched in 2005, Amazon’s Prime service offers free two-day shipping on certain products, a Netflix-like Instant Video service full of free content, and the Kindle Lending Library. For active Amazon customers, the $79-a-year fee can pay for itself rather quickly.

On March 13, Amazon sent out notices that Prime will soon cost $99 a year, a $20 increase. Amazon Student Prime isn’t left out of the price hike fun, with its price raised from $39 to $49 a year. The Prime Fresh membership, meanwhile, will remain at $299. The price hikes begin in a week. Current customers will pay the increased rate when their service renews.

We heard Amazon consider such a price hike earlier this year, with the increasing price of fuel and other shipping costs to blame. In addition, Amazon’s rumored music streaming service might factor into the increased prices, though that has yet to be officially announced.

If a poll conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) is any indication, Prime customers may have no problem with the price hike. Wall Street does not, though. Amazon’s stock jumped almost 2.5 percent on news of the rate increase.

Amazon claims that more than 20 million items are available at free shipping rates through Prime, 500,000 titles are available for free in the Kindle Lending Library, and 40,000 movies and TV episodes are available for free viewing to subscribers.

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