The announcement quietly trickled out as an email to some members and can be found tucked away in a Prime help document. Rumors of a potential rate increase have been swirling since Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak broached on the subject during an earnings call in January. If you’re a current member and up for renewal be sure to re-up before the rates increase on 4/17! New members can start a 30-day free trial within the next 7 days to secure the lower rate. (smart move). Prime members receive free 2-day shipping on millions of items offered by Amazon direct, and deeply discounted 1-day shipping options. Shipping savings alone (especially during the holidays) can justify the price of a Prime membership, but members can also enjoy unlimited streaming of 41,000 movies and TV shows, and over 350,000 Kindle books for free.
Update (3/13 8:30 am): Amazon is now boldly owning the increases with an announcement on its homepage (above).