Amazon’s new photo service is casually destroying Shutterfly

Yay for me.
Yay for me.
Image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Last week, Amazon quietly launched Prints, a new service for printing digital photos and creating custom photo books. But the market appears to have only taken note today (Sept. 21)—specifically, a bit before 3pm on the east coast.

The Nasdaq-listed shares of Shutterfly, a popular site for printing photos and creating personalized photo gifts, plunged in late afternoon trading, ending 12% down on the day. It was Shutterfly’s worst single-day decline in more than eight years.

With photo prints as cheap as $0.09 each, Amazon Prints significantly undercuts the prices on Shutterfly. On the other hand, Amazon says its photo books will start at $19.99, a good bit more than Shutterfly’s cheapest option ($15.99). Per the Amazon Prints site, stationery and calendars are “coming soon.”

A company spokeswoman confirmed that Amazon launched Prints last week and said the service will be available to anyone who uses Amazon Drive, an online storage platform.

Unlimited free photo storage is a perk of Amazon Prime, the company’s $99-a-year membership program. Analysts estimate that Amazon has between 45 million and 63 million Prime subscribers in the US alone. Growing Prime is a key priority for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the company has stuffed the program with benefits like free same-day delivery and streaming video to attract members. With Prints, the online e-commerce giant has come up with a new way to monetize those users, and muscle in on yet another smaller player’s turf.