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Amazon lets users give Prime memberships as gifts

The e-tailer rolls out the new feature -- the ability to purchase the $79-a-year membership as a present -- just before the holidays.


Amazon will now let customers buy a one-year subscription to its Prime program as a gift, the company announced Friday, just before the shopping frenzy of Thanksgiving week.

The Prime membership costs $79 a year and includes free two-day shipping for more than 15 million items, according to Amazon. It also covers the streaming of select videos from Prime Instant Videos and access to the Kindle Owner's Lending Library and the new Kindle First program, which lets members read select books from Amazon Publishing before they're published.

After a customer purchases the membership, Amazon will send an e-mail to the recipient with instructions. If the recipient is already a Prime member, he or she can exchange the gift for a gift card. The purchaser can choose which date the recipient is e-mailed.

This is something Amazon Prime members have been asking for, according to VP of Amazon Prime Greg Greeley.

"Members have told us they want to give the gift of Prime and we are delighted to offer this new capability in time for the holidays," he said in a press release.