If you don’t want to pay for shipping on every order from Amazon, the easiest way to do that is to sign up for a $100-per-year Prime membership. For those without Prime memberships, there is another option: spend a certain amount of money on qualifying items.
For quite some time, spending $25 on eligible items would nab you free shipping, but that was raised to $35 in 2013. Now, Amazon has raised the price again, bringing the amount you need to spend up to $50, according to TechCrunch.
Amazon hasn’t yet said anything regarding the price increase, but in its previous earnings report, it said that fulfillment costs has risen by nearly 33 percent. This could be part of the reason, but the company would also likely prefer that customers simply sign up for a Prime membership and be done with it.
Earlier this month a study from StellaService claimed that deliveries were taking longer and longer for those who aren’t Prime members. While the free shipping included with Prime generally guarantees delivery within two days, Amazon states that orders using its standard free shipping will be delivered 5-8 business days after the items become available to ship.
In the recent earnings release, Amazon claimed that Prime memberships had grown by 51 percent worldwide and by 47 percent in the U.S. Whether or not this price increase for non-members will continue to drive Prime memberships upward remains to be seen, but if you order from Amazon multiple times a month, or even multiple times a year, it may be increasingly worthwhile to sign up for a membership.
In a nod to Amazon’s roots as a bookseller, one thing hasn’t changed as result of this price release. Spending $25 on books (as long as they’re eligible) still gets you free shipping, even if you have other items in your order. If you don’t want to sign up for Prime, you might want to hold off ordering from Amazon until you happen to have a few books on your wish list.