Here’s the deal: You can either sign up for an annual plan at $79/year or you can sign up for a monthly plan at $7.99/month. Obviously, it’s cheaper to go with the annual plan if you want the service for the long term. But if you just want to try it out, or use it seasonally, then the monthly option is great.
Actually, if you’re not currently a member, you can start out with a 30 day free trial, and then convert to either the monthly or annual plans. If you time it right, the 30 day trial would be enough to cover much of the holiday shopping season. If not, you can extend it for a month for just under eight bucks.
I’m guessing that they’re doing this to compete more effectively with the likes of Netflix since Amazon Prime now includes video streaming (as well as a free access to the Kindle Lending Library). But the real value as we approach the holidays is the access to free two-day (and cheap next-day) shipping.