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The Internet is buzzing this week over the unveiling of Amazon Prints, a new photo-printing service that just might give Shutterfly, Snapfish, and the like a run for their money. Amazon's price points are super-competitive (more on that in a bit), and they're currently offering free standard shipping; free expedited shipping comes with a $15 charge.
The new service is available through Amazon Drive, an existing program that gives users unlimited photo storage. If you're a Prime member, you already get this for free. Non-Primers have to shell out $59.99 per year for access to Amazon's cloud drive service—just $40 shy of the $99 annual Prime membership fee. (Editor's note: If any of you are currently Amazon Drive subscribers but not Prime members, you should definitely consider spending the extra $40 to get Prime.) If we had to take a wild guess, we'd speculate that Amazon is hoping to land some Prime newbies here. Non-Prime members can also opt into a free three-month trial.
Amazon Prints taps into your saved photos on Amazon Drive, then allows you to customize and print them on the cheap. Single prints and photo books are currently on offer, with calendars and stationary slated to come next.
So how does it measure up to other photo-printing services? We'll let you be the judge. Here's a side-by-side breakdown.
Pros: Competitive prices and free shipping.
Cons: Prints and photo books are currently the only items available.
Pros: A wide variety of products, including cards, stationary, calendars, personalized gifts, and home decor.
Cons: Not all Slickdealers think Shutterfly's shipping fees are all that reasonable.
Pros: Lots of photo options (canvas prints, home decor, photo gifts, cards, calendars and more), and their 4x6 prints are the same price as Amazon Prints.
Cons: Shipping certainly isn't free.
Pros: If you're already an Apple person, printing photos from your iPhoto library is super-simple.
Cons: People who don't use iPhoto are out of luck (plus Apple charges shipping fees).
Pros: In-store pickup means no waiting for delivery.
Cons: Higher price points. You'll also have to make trips back and forth to the store.
At this point, Amazon Prints definitely offers up the best prices—if you're a Prime member or are ok paying that $59.99 annual Amazon Drive membership fee. Some would argue it's worth it, others might not. Amazon Prints is also lacking a bit when it comes to product variety and offerings. Time will tell how Amazon's presence in the photo-printing game plays out in the long run. In the meantime, we'll be keeping our eye on it.
Don't forget to check for coupons or discounts on photo prints to help you save some money. Next time you're ready to place an order, check out our coupons pages for Amazon, Shutterfly, Snapfish, Apple and CVS.
Which service do you think delivers the most bang for your buck? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
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