Where do you go to watch TV? Not long ago, most people would have said “The lounge of course” (well, unless you call it a living room, front room or whatever!)
Some people had TVs in kitchens or even bedrooms, too. I was too worried about the consequences of being engrossed in a programme whilst chopping peppers with a big sharp knife to want to do that – I like all my fingers!
Nowadays, with tablets and laptops, you can watch them in any room you like – or even in the garden if your wifi signal stretches there.
But how about if I started talking about watching TV in a bookshop? That’d sound a bit strange, I grant you. So you might not be surprised to hear I’m not talking about a real bookshop – I’m talking about a web bookshop.
What on earth is Amazon Prime?
You’ve probably heard of Amazon – they started as an online bookshop, where you go onto the site, find the book you want, buy it online and they post it to you. And they still do that.
But they also do a lot of other things now – from selling groceries to storing bits of other companies’ websites for them.
And one thing you’ll see promoted from time to time is Amazon Prime.
The only thing is, I’ve never seen a decent explanation of what it is. Not even on Amazon’s own website.
They’ll mention some parts of it and leave out other bits – so you never get a straight answer to the question “But what actually is it?”. So here you go:
It’s actually made up of several things – you pay a monthly or annual fee and get all of them – how you use them is up to you:
Next Day Delivery
The first thing is you get free next day delivery on most physical things you buy from Amazon. Books, CDs, DVDs and other things like kitchenware or board games. You only get the free delivery if you’re buying it from Amazon themselves, not from someone else advertising on Amazon, but it is very quick – in some cases I’ve ordered something in the evening and had it before lunch the next day. (I think when Amazon Prime first started, this was all it was – a way to buy delivery for everything you order for the year)
You also get Prime Music – access to lots of music that you could buy from Amazon – but you don’t have to buy it, you can play it on your computer/tablet/smartphone whenever you want (while you stay a member). Obviously a lot of the music won’t be to your taste as there’s a real mix there, but it has over two million pieces of music there, so whatever you like, there’ll be some there. And you can search for whatever you want and start playing it straight away.
TV (in a bookshop)
Probably the bit they advertise most is Prime Video – where you can watch TV on it. This is why I’m talking about watching TV in a bookshop – you go to Amazon, which started as a bookshop, to watch TV. But this isn’t a way to watch normal channels that you could see anyway – they have programmes that aren’t shown elsewhere, made specifically for them. Again there’s a real mix and you are unlikely to want to watch all of them (just as well or you’d never have time to do anything else) but there are likely to be some to your taste. I really enjoyed the series of Ripper Street that they had and also the first series of The Man in the High Castle (though I’m finding the second one more complicated and harder to follow – maybe because Edward’s been waking up lots at night again so I’ve been tired – I even find it hard to follow a complicated TV programme when I’m tired!)
Anyway, you watch these programmes over the internet on your PC, laptop or tablet (or smartphone but the screen is a bit small unless you connect it to a full sized TV).
If you like reading books as ebooks, you can also “borrow” ebooks from the Kindle Library if you’re a prime member. It only works on an actual Kindle ebook reader or on one of Amazon’s own Fire tablets, not on (say) an iPad with the Kindle app. I’ve no idea why they haven’t made it work on everything, but that’s the way it is! But if you do have a Kindle, you can borrow one book each month – it’s exactly the same to read it as any other book you’ve downloaded. You keep it as long as you want and return it when you’re finished – and after that you can borrow another one. Not all ebooks are included in the Kindle Library, but quite a lot are.
Bits and bobs
There are also a couple of features for Prime members: you can read a few books before they’re generally released without having to pay anything for them, you get access to unlimited storage space for your photos and they have what they call “Lightning” sales that are only available to members.
Phew – so that’s what Amazon Prime is.
I want to stress, though, I’m not trying to convince you that you should join – I don’t work for Amazon or anything! It’s just since no-one seems to tell you in a straightforward way what is actually included, I thought I’d do it!
Well, that’s all for this time. More next week (including something I’m not working on).