Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cricut Image Library Subscriptions - Monthly, Annual or none, what is right for you?

When I bought my new Cricut  Explore last month from HSN, it came with a free three month image subscription.  This was an "extra" that I didn't think I would really need since over the years I have purchased a very large number of cartridges (I got my first machine over six years ago).  But it was part of the deal and as soon as I registered the machine, the subscription was activated.

I have to say that having the subscription has been amazing.  There are a large number of digital only cartridges that I hadn't really paid attention to because I wasn't able to access the Cricut Craftroom for many months (it works fine for me now and I don't really know exactly what the problem was...). The digital only cartridges or image sets include many smaller sets of very specific types of images - like Greek letters or chess pieces.  I don't know if I will have a need for these particular sets but if I discover that I need them, they are available to me as part of the subscription.

These image sets can also be purchased and the cost varies depending on the size of the set.  Many of them seem to be between $4.99 and $9.99.    By choosing to pay the subscription fee (either on a monthly or annual basis) you can use ALL of these sets as well as all of the single images, cartridges and fonts that are included in the subscription package.

In looking through the items included in the subscription, I realized that there are quite a few more recent cartridges that I never bought that have some images that I really like and will enjoy using through the subscription, even if I never buy the physical cartridge or the digital rights to it.

As new images, sets and cartridges are added to the library, these will also be available to use with the subscription (exclusions include exclusive or licensed cartridges which must be purchased separately and linked to your account).  For instance, there is a new cartridge called Home for the Holidays, Spring and Summer that is already available to use in the subscription.

I noticed tonight that the subscription options have been added to the Cricut site and are available to purchase - you can find them HERE.

While I have heard some people object to the subscription plan because you are only renting access to the images and won't own any of them outright to use when the subscription ends I think it is actually a much more cost-efficient way to use your machine.  Instead of buying a lot of cartridges, you can just budget for the monthly $9.99 fee or pay the annual fee of $99.99 (about $8.34/month) and have access to a huge number of images.

Here is just the top of the first page of the three page list of images, sets and cartridges included in the subscription.  Of course, any cartridges that you own and have linked will also be available to you to use, with or without a subscription.

You can download the PDF with the full list of the items included in the subscription on the Cricut site.  Go to the subscription page HERE, choose a plan and then click on the link in the description for the download.

What are your options?  Here are some important things to know...

1.  You do not have to purchase any subscription - if you own the Explore, you can use all of the cartridges that you own and have linked to your Cricut account.  You can not use the cartridges directly in the machine.  The port on the machine is only used to link cartridges.  You will also be able to import and cut other images, including SVG files, and to cut the fonts on your computer.

2.  You can subscribe on a monthly plan for $9.99/month.  There is no contract but you will need to take action to cancel the monthly payments.   If you do not cancel the subscription before it renews each month you will be charged for the next month (however, you can cancel at any time and have access for the remainder of the period that you have paid for).

3.  You can subscribe for the annual fee of $99 which is about $8.34/month.  This plan will not auto-renew and you will have to take action to purchase the annual plan for the next year.

You must have a high speed internet connection and a payment method on file with ProvoCraft to use the subscription service.  There are no refunds for partial periods on either the monthly or the annual plan.

Be sure to read the Terms and Conditions to understand exactly how the subscription service works.

How does the Cricut Image Library Subscription compare to the Silhouette Subscription plan?

There are a variety of levels for the Silhouette subscription plan.  To compare by price, for the same fee of $9.99 a month you can download $25 worth of images.  These images will be yours to keep when the subscription ends so if you remember to download to your limit, you will have approximately 250 additional images in your library at the end of the year (this could vary if you get some of the images on sale or get some images that cost more than 99 cents).  The Silhouette plan is an annual plan and you are committed for the entire year when you sign up.  For a 6-month subscription you need to add 10% to the price and for a 3-month subscriptions you add 15% to the price.

Even though you don't own the images in the Cricut subscription plan, I think there is a greater value because you have unlimited access to over 25,000 images and 200 fonts.  If you added images at the rate of 250 a year to your Silhouette library it would take you 100 years to get 25,000 images - not to mention the fonts!

My advice is to purchase a subscription plan - either monthly or annual - to get the best possible use from your machine.  In the long run, I think it is more economical and you will have the thrill of discovering images you never realized were available.  The image search in the Design Space program will pull up images on cartridges you have had for years but you may never have realized that the image was included.  The ability to see the fully layered image in color really calls your attention to some long lost (or unknown) treasures!

One more note - I saved the best news for the people who don't have an Explore for last.  The Image Library Subscription will also be available to use in the Cricut CraftRoom so you don't have to miss out on the great chance to have access to so many images for a very modest fee.

When I log into the Craftroom I can see all of the images and cartridges that are included in the Design Space as part of my three month free subscription in bold letters.  If I understand correctly, as soon as you complete the purchase of a plan (click HERE to go to the subscription page) your account will be updated to give you access to all of the content included.

Update on Creative Memories Cartridges...

It looks like the Creative Memories Traveler cartridge is now sold out as well.  If you read my post yesterday, you know that the re-released Creative Memories cartridges are sold only in physical form, while supplies last, and won't be available as digital cartridges or as a part of a Design Space subscription.  So this is your last chance to get these images (and the price with the sale is great!).
You can read all of the details in my Friday post HERE and find the re-released Creative Memories cartridges HERE.
We were out and about most of the day on Saturday so I wasn't able to do any projects.  I did manage to find the scoring stylus for the Explore while we were out so on Sunday I'll be staying in from the rainy weather and trying that out on a few rosettes, boxes and bags.  I hope your weekend is going well...happy crafting!

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  1. Thank you Diane, for is very informative and just what I needed. I use the expression and ccr. I am saving for the explore.

    1. Hi Lou Ann - There is a lot of information to wade through so I tried to condense it into this post - glad it helped! It's great that you will be able to use a subscription with the Expressions and CCR that you currently are using. I think that the Explore will keep getting better and better as they add new features and updates - so when you have saved enough to buy it you will love it!

  2. Thanks for the great information Diane.

    1. You are most welcome - I think it is really exciting to be able to use so much content for such a small price!

  3. Thanks. Do you think Design Space will ever be compatible with an E or will ccr be updated to include the images and layers the way they are in design space? I am saving for an explore now but it might be awhile. Thanks again for all the great info.

    1. I really don't know if that is possible - I am not a programmer but I believe that the two programs use different platforms so it wouldn't be a simple update - more like a total rewrite of the CCR. Maybe they will find a way to have Design Space communicate with other machines - I just don't know if it can be done. It would be nice but frankly the Explore has such improvements in the quality of the cuts that most people will eventually want to switch over to that machine. At least you could take advantage of the subscription plan while you are saving for the Explore. I'll see if I can get any more information about this and post it if I do.

  4. I greatly appreciate all the information you gathered for us here Diane, that was a lot of work! I have to say I'm still not sold on the Cricut subscription plans because in your example, after paying Silhouette for 100 years ($11.988) I would only own 25,000 images but after paying Cricut for a 100 years I would still own nothing. I'm a bit jaded perhaps because I'm still smarting about paying $400 for the Imagine which product & support are being discontinued for. I swore I would never buy a nothing thing Cricut in my life but I'm eating my words now because 3 weeks ago I had to have major abdominal surgery for 3 hernias & my loving husband wanted to do something nice for me so he gifted me a Cricut Explore! I'm still bed bound but will see if my heart defrosts once I get to playing with it.

    Thanks for all your hard work, I'm a super fan of your blog and you have taught me so much! My favorite read of the day


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