Amazon UK Prime price rise to £79

It’s all being billed as good news. Here in the UK, the Prime service (which offers shoppers unlimited discounted postage for the year), is being expanded so that subscribers can all get all-you-can-eat access to the Kindle library and also membership to the Lovefilm streaming service.

All good news? There’s a catch. The annual fee will be going up from £49 to £79 a year.

The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones writes about how Amazon seem to be hiding the price rise behind the service enhancements and he makes a good point. But equally, the package at that price also seems quite attractive if you have a Kindle and watch films and make regular Amazon purchases.

Prime really serves as the “entry drug” for Amazon. It ensures loyalty because subscribers come back to Amazon when they’re buying over the course of the year. And it works. Industry analysts say it clearly drives loyal buyers who buy more.

But are the extras worth it? Especially with services like Netflix enjoying huge success with their original series, I’m not sure how Lovefilm squares up. The Kindle extras will be attractive for the avid reader Kindle owner.

But overall, it’s further evidence that Amazon has many fingers in many pies and I wonder that lack of focus might be debilitating. And surely the rise in price will serve as a disincentive to many.