Amazon announced on Wednesday (Oct. 5) the introduction of Prime Reading, a new reading benefit available for U.S.-based Prime members.
With the new benefit, Prime members can get access to unlimited reading from a rotating selection of books, magazines, comics and more without paying an additional cost. Amazon said Prime Reading joins the list of all-you-can-eat benefits for Prime members, including unlimited fast, free Prime shipping, unlimited access to Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Photos, Audible Channels, early access to Lightning Deals and more. Members can start reading now by downloading the Kindle app for iOS and Android or using any Kindle or Fire tablet.
“Prime is the best deal in the history of shopping, and today, it got even better,” said Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime, in a press release announcing the new feature. “Prime members can now enjoy an awesome selection of books, including 'The Hobbit,' 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,' 'The Man in the High Castle,' plus magazines and more with Prime Reading — all for free on any device.”
According to Amazon, some of the benefits of Prime Reading include access to over 1,000 popular books, access to premium magazines, exclusive short content and all of customers' favorite Kindle features.
The move on the part of Amazon comes at time when some are questioning the treatment Amazon gives to its Prime members and big spenders. A report from nonprofit investigative news organization ProPublica revealed that the online retailer’s price-comparison pages actually rank products in favor of items either sold by Amazon or merchants who pay the company to ship products for them. Amazon sorts products by price, including the shipping fees, for some products but not for others. The products sold by third-party merchants that do not participate in Amazon’s shipping service were ranked based on the price and shipping price together. Those products sold directly by Amazon or the third-party merchants that participate in its shipping service were ranked without the shipping price, which made them show up on the price-comparison page as much cheaper.
“We found that the practice earned Amazon-linked products higher rankings in more than 80 percent of cases. Amazon’s offer of the Loctite glue, a respectable number five on the comparison list, dropped to the 39th best deal when shipping was included. (The prices Amazon shows are ranked correctly for those who pay $99 per year for Amazon’s Prime shipping service and for those who are buying $49 or more in eligible items.),” ProPublica explained.