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Price Jump for Amazon's 'Prime' Membership

By Matthew F Smith, Digital Producer, msmith@ktuu.com
Published On: Mar 13 2014 08:26:11 AM AKDT
Updated On: Mar 13 2014 08:31:07 AM AKDT
Amazon

Reuters

NEW YORK -

Online retail giant Amazon.com is raising the price of its popular Prime membership to $99 per year, an increase of $20.

A student membership will cost $49 annually.    

It's the first price increase since the online retailer introduced its Prime membership program in 2005.

In February, Amazon said it was considering raising the price to $119 a year, but in the end, the company went with a smaller price jump.
    
The hike will apply to users when they renew their membership.

The program has been popular with Amazon's Alaska customers primarily due to it's reduced rates for shipping. The Seattle-based company says it's Prime membership includes two-day free shipping on many products, including larger items that could otherwise be costly to ship to Alaska.
 
Also part of the Prime membership are newer areas of the compnay's business. Amazon has spent heavily to expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and groceries.

In an e-mail Thursday to members, the company said it had not raised the price on Prime in the nine years since its launch, even though shipping costs have increased and it has added new services to the program.