Amazon Prime: A Love/Hate Relationship

About a month or so ago, I found out – to my great surprise – that Amazon offered a Prime account for students, and that account was extended not only to undergraduates, but also to graduate students. It was basically free to sign up, and you get free shipping for six months as long as you’re currently enrolled in school, and then after that you get half off of regular Prime. I was mostly interested because I needed to get textbooks for my summer class ASAP and free two-day shipping was calling my name.

However, what I didn’t realize were two things – one good, one bad.

The bad thing first. Super excited about this whole Prime Student thing, I perused Amazon for the exact books I wanted (good prices, good quality, right edition) but when I went to purchase them, the prices were all wrong. It still was charging me for shipping, and I didn’t understand why. So, I investigated, and it turns out that there’s a catch: you get the free two-day shipping, alright, but only on items that have the distinctive blue mark of Prime approval. Everything else you still pay shipping prices on.

Now, that wouldn’t really be that big of a deal if I weren’t a flat broke graduate student living on her own and wanting to buy new books to read and save a couple of bucks in the process. I’ve always been the kind of girl to choose the bargain, the lowest priced item out there, but Prime doesn’t always give you those things as an option. So you can either opt for the lower priced used book and pay full price on shipping, or you can choose the slightly more expensive book and get free two-day shipping. I’m sure in the long run you’re paying about the same amount of money, but it’s easy to forget to look for the Prime stamp of approval.

The good thing, now. Aside from getting free two-day shipping on textbooks, you get free two-day shipping on every kind of book. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dictionary, a textbook, or something you read for pleasure, if you can find the Prime stamp of approval, then you can get it in two days without paying shipping. It’s a blessing and a curse, because now I want to buy all of the books but I don’t have all of the money. Sure, I could opt to read the books as eBooks and cut out shipping and fussing with Prime stamps altogether, but eBooks cost money, too – often more than a paper copy.

While Amazon Prime Student can be a little frustrating at times, I have loved it so far and will definitely try to get more out of it as I start my new job and start making money again so I can have nice things like new books. I would totally recommend students to get it if they can – it saves a whole lot of money on shipping and if you need something in a pinch… you’ll have it on time.


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