Gird your loins (and mailboxes). Amazon Prime Day is coming.
Now in its fourth year, the day-and-a-half digital shopping spree turned global pastime has become a frenzy of online customers eagerly snagging everything from coveted gadgets to some bizarre merchandise.
But before hitting the "purchase" button starting July 16, ask yourself:
Is Amazon Prime Day worth paying to participate in?
This year, the retail giant raised its annual Prime subscription to $119, its monthly rate to $12.99 and its student discount to $6.49 per month. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told investors back in April that more than 100 million paying customers use the service, which includes streaming video and music, free shipping and other benefits.
Starting Wednesday, Amazon Prime customers who shop at Whole Foods between July 11 and July 17 will receive a $10 credit to be used during the Amazon Prime Day sale.
Should I register for Amazon Prime?
If you're a big shopper, you probably already have a Prime account. It makes you eligible for exclusive Prime deals and brands as well as reading material for your Kindle.
One of the tent-pole features of Prime is free shipping. There are some exceptions, including magazine subscriptions, personalized gift cards, shipments to U.S. territories outside of Puerto Rico, and all items that lack the check mark that indicates Prime-eligible.
Entertainment fans will like Amazon movies and shows that rival Netflix and Hulu offerings. (Exclusive streaming of "The Americans," "Downton Abbey" and originals like "Transparent" could be in your future.) And you can watch Oscar-nominated movies like "Lady Bird" and "Moonlight" between binges of camp-tastic "Dynasty" and black comedy "Fleabag."
Is Prime Day a good deal for you?
If you've got the disposable income, feel free to indulge in that fashionable tissue-box cover or jumbo wine glass.
More than 1 million items will be available at reduced prices and it's likely Amazon tech gadgets such as Kindle tablets and Echo smart speakers and exclusive clothing brands will be majorly discounted.
Don't forget that rival sales are going on now, too. On the hunt for electronics? Dell's "Black Friday in July" sale is offering discounts on laptops, with some prices being dropped more than $200.