Less photo storage, more prints: Amazon kills Unlimited Photos plan, starts Amazon Prints service
posted Saturday, September 24, 2016 at 2:42 PM EDT
In March 2015, Amazon announced a plan costing a mere US$12 a year that let subscribers store as many photos as they wanted on their cloud-based storage system, Cloud Drive. The Unlimited Photos Plan also included five gigabytes of storage for videos, documents or other files. Indeed, this plan marked an unprecedented value for photographers looking to store their images online.
Unfortunately, after roughly a year and a half, Amazon has started informing customers that the plan will no longer be available. At least not to people who aren't Amazon Prime members, as it appears - for now - that Prime members still have access to unlimited photo storage through Prime Photos (which like the Unlimited Photos Plan, includes five gigs of storage for non-photo files).
In lieu of the unlimited image storage service, Unlimited Photos subscribers are being offered varying lengths of service for Amazon's Unlimited Storage plan as compensation. Some users have reported receiving an email giving them three months of free access to Amazon's Unlimited Storage plan, which regularly costs just under $60 for a year. Another customer was given 12 free months of the Unlimited Storage subscription.
This news is troubling enough to users storing their photos with Amazon, but what about customers who don’t want to upgrade to the Unlimited Storage plan and pay nearly $50 more per year than they were previously paying? Those users have 90 days to view, download or delete their files, however they cannot upload any new photos to Cloud Drive. After 90 days, user's content may be permanently deleted with no means for retrieval or recovery. So if you're an Amazon Unlimited Photos subscriber and you don't want to upgrade, you will want to back your photos up elsewhere as soon as possible.
Amazon also launched their new Amazon Prints service last week. With the low-key announcement, Shutterfly felt the hurt with their stock plummeting.
Part of the explanation for the precipitous drop in Shutterfly stock prices is that Amazon Prints offers crazy low prices for small prints. As SLR Lounge's Kishore Sawh says, "And being Amazon, they've gone for the throat by undercutting pretty much every single print service out there." A matte or glossy 4" x 6" print costs only $0.09 and an 8 x 10 is just $1.79. This is less than half of what you pay for an 8 x 10 print from Shutterfly, which was itself previously a very affordable option. Amazon Prints offers photo books as well, starting at just under $20.
To use the service, you need to be an Amazon Cloud Drive or Amazon Photos customer (Amazon Photos comes with Amazon Prime). For a limited time, you can get 50 free 4 x 6 prints using the code "BABY50FREEPRINTS." You can learn more about the service here.