Wait — aren’t you signed up for Amazon Prime at birth? That’s how it works, right?

I don’t remember when I first signed up for Amazon Prime. Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. It’s kind of like, I dunno. Shaving. It was a thing that you just started doing at some point. (Erm, and that I stopped doing a few years ago.)

Probably it had to do with faster shipping. That’s a pretty unsexy answer, but years ago that was the main perk, right? Free two-day shipping, and inexpensive options for next-day shipping.

The easier question is why I’ve continued re-upping Amazon Prime every year. That’s become an easier decision, and it’s never been one that I had to spend too much time on.

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Yeah, the shipping options are still important. We’re ordering more things these days, not fewer. I don’t always do next-day delivery. (We don’t have same-day where I live.) Sometimes the free option is just fine, and you can’t beat free. But if I do need something as soon as possible, I don’t mind ponying up a few extra bucks to do it.

(OK, if I really need something as soon as possible I’ll drag my butt out of the house and go to one of those “store” places the old folks tell me about. But that’s such a hassle.)

The real reason I’ve so readily kept Amazon Prime, though? It’s got to be the digital services.

Start with Amazon Prime Video — probably the one we get the most use out of. For one, you get a ton of free shows. And for another, it’s a great babysitter. (Don’t judge, you do it, too.) Loads of old shows, for grown-ups and kids alike. And if you’re bored of the same old stuff, there’s a world of original content, too. (The wife and I are currently making our way through The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which is as good as you’ve heard.)

See what’s new this month on Amazon Prime Video

If you’re like me and you’ve got a few Amazon Echoes (of various ilk) laying about, you also get a fair amount of free music through Amazon Prime. Yeah, I hit a wall pretty quickly on deep cuts. But if you’re just looking for some free ambient music, it’s a great option. So add that into the mix.

Another cool find I discovered this past year is Amazon Prime Photos. It’s a surprisingly good digital photo service, much in the same vein as Google Photos. It’s got a good amount of storage (with plenty of paid options), automatic backup, image recognition — and it turns the Echo Show into a great digital picture frame. (Which is really the only thing it’s good for.)

And finally, I’m a huge believer in the importance of reading, both for fun and for information. Amazon’s got a bunch of free reads, including a sort of old-school lending library.

And maybe even more important is that an Amazon Prime subscription gets you a free six-month subscription to The Washington Post. (The newspaper is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos but is a separate entity from Amazon itself.) And, yeah, I’m now paying for my WaPo sub.

So, yeah. That’s why I’ve still got Amazon Prime. Figure I’m easily getting back the $ 99 a year I spend to be a “member.” That part’s on me, though. If I wasn’t taking advantage of all that free content and those services, I’d be wasting the money.

For me and my family, though, it’s absolutely been worth it.

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