Amazon Prime May Get Much More Expensive

Subscription fee could be hiked $20 to $40 in the next year or so
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2014 6:29 AM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2014 7:25 AM CST
Stacks of boxes with merchandise for shipment, at the fulfillment center in Fernley, Nevada.   (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

(Newser) – Amazon Prime may cost you more in the near future—quite a lot more, in fact. Thanks to rising fuel and shipping costs, the company revealed in yesterday's quarterly earnings call that it's looking into bumping up the current $79 subscription fee $20 to $40 in the next year or so, VentureBeat reports. It would be the first price hike for the annual membership—which comes with "free" 2-day shipping plus access to Prime Instant Video and the Kindle's library-lending program—in nearly a decade.

USA Today reports that Amazon's stock took a 10.6% hit in after-hours trading yesterday after the company reported Q4 revenue of $25.59 billion, a good deal below the expected $26.06 billion; net shipping costs increased 19% to $1.21 billion for the quarter. "They can't keep losing so much. This is their profit margin," an analyst tells USA Today. "Drones aside, they have to find a way to get the package from the warehouse to the user in a timely way but also in a cost-effective way." He suspects most subscribers will likely swallow the price hike—"Where are these customers going to go?" VentureBeat notes, however, that a $120 price tag might turn off only occasional buyers. A way around that? It suggests making Prime Instant Video as tempting as Netflix. (Read more Amazon Prime stories.)

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