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Amazon Prime membership jumps to $99 per year

Amazon Prime membership fee  will increase by $20 for the next renewal. It's the first price increase for Amazon Prime since Amazon introduced the program in 2005. 

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An Amazon.com package awaits delivery from UPS in Palo Alto, Calif. Amazon on Thursday, March 13, 2014 said it is raising the price of its popular Prime membership to $99 per year, an increase of $20. It's the first price increase since the online retailer introduced its Prime membership program in 2005.

Paul Sakuma/AP/File

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

It's the first price increase since the online retailer introduced its Prime membership program in 2005. The company said it would probably raise the price in January.

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The hike will apply to users when they renew their membership.

Amazon has spent heavily to grow its business and expand into new areas, from movie streaming to e-readers and groceries. Prime membership also includes two-day free shipping on many products.

In an e-mail Thursday to members, the Seattle company stressed that it has not raised the price on Prime in the 9 years since its launch, even though shipping costs have increased and it has added new services, such as video streaming.

Amazon's e-mail to Prime customers read: "We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews.
Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library." 


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