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Three Reasons Printer Ink Can Be So Costly For Even A Small Company

2010-12-05

There are many reasons that printer ink can be so costly even for a small company. Printer ink is one of the most expensive products in the world. Printer ink costs more per milliliter than Don Parrington champagne. The cost of printer ink by weight is more than that of imported Russian caviar. Yet, it is not by coincidence that printer prices fall while ink costs remain relatively high.

One reason that ink costs are so high is because of the business models that printer manufacturers have been following. Printer manufacturers follow the model of cell phone and razor blade vendors; sell the initial equipment at a low cost, then make money from additional and ongoing fees. Low initial costs always entice consumers to buy the product in the first place. Many people are willing to buy a cheap printer because they are unaware of the associated ink costs. The majority of the revenue that many printer manufacturers receive comes mostly from selling ink.

Ink costs for small business can be so high because of other practices by printer manufactures. Many printer manufactures want to prevent their consumers from having their ink refilled by third parties for a fraction of the cost. To do this they implement the use of what some call a "killer chip." These chips are integrated into the printer ink cartridges of certain printers. The chip expires after a single use, forcing consumers to either send back their used cartridge to have the manufacturer refill it and reset the chip or to buy a new cartridge from the manufacturer altogether.

Something that is too often overlooked and adds to ink costs in nearly any business is the way the company itself manages the ink it has already bought. For example, what kind of printer ink settings is the company using? If the printer is set to print at a higher resolution, this will drastically reduce the life of the cartridges one is using. Many people in small businesses often overlook the fact that they have settings that will allow them to save ink. Black and white text, for example, is very legible at comparably lower resolutions. This is another reason printer ink can be so costly for even a small company.

Clearly, there are many reasons that printer ink can be so costly for a small company. More than two decades have passed since the world's first true inkjet printer was introduced. Although printers and ink have been around for quite some time, ink costs have remained relatively high because printer manufacturers know they can earn revenue this way. However, mismanagement of ink adds to the overall cost of ink as well.

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