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The 7 best perks of your new Amazon Prime subscription

Make sure you take full advantage of these benefits, some of which may surprise you.

amazon-gift-of-prime

As Larry David might say, the gift of Amazon Prime is pretty, pretty, pretty good!

Amazon

Did Santa leave something Prime in your stocking? If you're new to Amazon's subscription service, you may think the only benefits are two-day shipping and streaming video -- both of which are awesome, no question.

But Amazon Prime affords you a lot of other perks as well. Let's take a look at seven of the best (and, in some cases, the most surprising).

Free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming video

Like I said, these are the best-known -- and arguably best -- reasons to have an Amazon Prime subscription. The shipping option will change the way you shop, in part because there's no minimum order; if you need a pack of AAA batteries, you order a pack of AAA batteries. Bam: They show up two days later.

Not in a rush? Very often you can opt to forgo two-day delivery in exchange for credit that can be applied to digital purchases (e-books, movie rentals, etc.) or other things. Look for this option on the checkout page where you select your shipping method.  

As for the video, Prime offers not only TV shows and movies (some of which aren't available for streaming elsewhere), but also original content. Much of it can be downloaded to your phone or tablet for offline viewing.

Streaming music

Amazon Prime Music affords unlimited, ad-free access to a song library stocked with over 2 million tracks. That's a far cry from, say, Spotify, but it's not nothing. You can stream them to various devices, and songs can be downloaded to your phone or tablet for offline listening.

Prime Music should not be confused with Amazon Music Unlimited, which offers a much larger, Spotify-like library, but costs extra. Prime subscribers do get a break on the price, though: $7.99 per month instead of $9.99.

Unlimited photo storage

Much like Google, Amazon Prime offers subscribers unlimited cloud storage for photos. For most users that means using the Amazon Drive app to upload pictures from phones and tablets, but there's also a desktop app (for Windows and Mac) that can archive photos from your hard drive.

In addition, Prime Photos gives you 5GB of storage for documents and videos.

One free e-book per month

As part of your Prime subscription, you get access to the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which lets you check out one e-book per month and read that book on any Kindle e-reader or Fire tablet. The catch: This particular library offers a relatively small selection; don't expect a lot of new titles or bestsellers.

Another free e-book per month

Kindle First works like this: Each month, Amazon editors curate six new, yet-to-be-released books and give Prime subscribers the chance to pick one of them -- for free. And it's for keeps, too; you're not just borrowing the book. 

Still more free books, plus magazines and other stuff

Prime Reading differs from the Lending Library in a few key ways. First, it's not limited to Kindles: You can access the catalog of free ebooks on phones, tablets and anything else capable of running a Kindle app. Second, the selection includes not only books, but also a rotating selection of magazines, comics, travel guides, Kindle Singles and more.

Free audiobooks

Kind of like Prime Reading for audiobooks, Audible Channels for Prime (a $60-per-year value, according to Amazon) gives you unlimited access to a selection of original audio series and select audiobooks. Just keep in mind these are limited to streaming; you can't download them for offline listening.

What's your favorite Prime perk? Something listed here, or something else? Learn more about Prime goodies in "Amazon Prime: 20 benefits every member gets."