After Amazon raised the price of Kids Plus, my family’s had enough For several years now, my daughter has enjoyed her Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids tablet. It’s served her well, whether staving off boredom during road trips or giving her a way to game and chat with friends. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s helped her manage screen time and even learn a little bit about responsible behavior online (though with the teen years ahead, I figure even more lessons await on that front).
But despite all that, her time with the Fire HD 10 may be nearing the end. Her elementary school years have ended and that means the toys she associates with that time in her life seem to be getting cycled out. These days, she’d much rather spend that precious screen time with her Nintendo Switch or with a hand-me-down MacBook so that she can stream music. The joys of Toca Life, Shopkins Run, Robbery Bob and whatever other games she’s sampled on her Fire tablet are proving ever more fleeting.
Of course, Amazon may have just given our family the final push it needs to say farewell to its tablet. Over the weekend, we got an email from the retail giant, informing us that the cost of our subscription to Amazon Kids Plus is about to go up. Which makes this as good a time as any to bid farewell to both the subscription service and the tablet it supports.
Don’t confuse Amazon Kids Plus with Amazon Prime, though Amazon hiked up the price of that service earlier this year, too. Amazon Kids Plus is a separate service that gives kids access to books, programs, educational apps and games on assorted Fire, Android, iOS and Kindle devices. The content is split up into different age groups, and built-in parental controls come as part of the package. I’d say it’s a good add-on to pay for if you’re thinking of getting a Fire HD tablet for your young’un.
Kids Plus may be separate from Prime, but Prime subscribers do pay a lower rate for the service. Of course, that doesn’t mean Prime members are being spared from Amazon’s Kids Plus price hike. Our service is jumping to $4.99 a month, up from $2.99. Non-Prime customers see their Kids Plus subscription go to $7.99 from $6.99. The prices go into effect after July 14 the next time you’re billed for Amazon Kids Plus.
Amazon would point out that this is the first time Kids Plus prices have gone up since Kids Plus launched a decade ago. And Amazon isn’t just raising prices on a whim — the retail giant says the collection of content under the Kids Plus umbrella has grown dramatically, with reputable providers like Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS Kids. To Amazon’s way of thinking, it’s merely bringing the price of Kids Plus in line with the product you’re getting for your subscription.
You could also argue that a $1 to $2 monthly price hike isn’t that much in the greater scheme of things, especially if it’s a product enjoyed by its intended audience. What’s an extra $12 to $24 per year amongst friends, after all?
The problem with that line of thinking is that a lot of companies are making that argument these days. Yes, an extra $2 isn’t that much right up until everyone starts asking for an extra $2. And with prices rising all around us, we’re being forced to make choices on which price hikes we can afford to absorb and which ones are an increase too much. You can probably guess which way we’re leaning with Amazon Kids Plus.
It doesn’t help that Amazon is becoming a repeat offender on the rising subscription cost front. Earlier this year, Amazon announced that the cost of a Prime membership was going up by $20 again, the only price increase since 2018, Amazon helpfully pointed out. But if you stick with both Prime and Kids Plus, that’s $44 you’re paying to Amazon that you weren’t previously.
At the time of the Prime price hike, I noted that my family and I wouldn’t be renewing our membership. Indeed, that’s the plan, as our Prime membership doesn’t flip over to the new rate until later in the year. The Kids Plus price hike is just going to strengthen our resolve “I’m twice as quit now,” as Deckard from Blade Runner once observed. We’ll be breaking the news to my daughter that the Kids Plus membership is ending sooner than anticipated, too.
There’s a lesson here, even if you’re not a subscriber to Amazon Kids Plus or if you’re a Prime member who’s made their peace with the higher rate Amazon introduced. Anytime the price goes up on something and believe me, in this day and age, it probably will ask yourself whether the service is worth keeping or if that same service is being offered somewhere else for less. You may even ask yourself whether the thing you had been paying for is something you can do without altogether. You may be surprised by the answers you come up with.