Expensive Ink

Posted on December 18, 2007  Comments (4)

$8,000-per-gallon printer ink leads to antitrust lawsuit

For most printer companies, ink is the bread and butter of their business. The price of ink for HP ink-jet printers can be as much as $8,000 per gallon, a figure that makes gas-pump price gouging look tame. HP is currently the dominant company in the printing market, and a considerable portion of the company’s profits come from ink.

The printer makers have been waging an all-out war against third-party vendors that sell replacement cartridges at a fraction of the price. The tactics employed by the printer makers to maintain monopoly control over ink distribution for their printing products have become increasingly aggressive. In the past, we have seen HP, Epson, Lenovo and other companies attempt to use patents and even the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in their efforts to crush third-party ink distributors.

The companies have also turned to using the ink equivalent of DRM, the use of microchips embedded in ink cartridges that work with a corresponding technical mechanism in the printer that blocks the use of unauthorized third-party ink.

Tip – by a printer from a company that doesn’t rip you off as much for ink: The Kodak 5300 All-in-One Printer, which uses ultra low-priced ink to help you save up to 50 percent. Kodak has made the strategic decision to compete with the entrenched printing companies by not ripping off customers as much. Ok I am not really sure how this really fits one this blog but I want to put it here so I will 🙂

Related: Kodak Debuts Printers With Inexpensive CartridgesPrice Discrimination in the Internet AgeZero Ink PrintingOpen Source 3-D Printing

4 Responses to “Expensive Ink”

  1. Bill Elward
    October 16th, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

    A good alternative is inkjet refill kits. Instead of throwing away empty ink cartridges, consumers can purchase inkjet refill kits which contain all the necessary tools to refill an empty ink cartridge in a matter of minutes.

    The quality of ink refill kits has improved considerably over the last couple of years. Gone are the days of ink spilling out everywhere, soiling clothing and carpeting.

    Most refill kits contain about 120ml of ink (120ml black is $17.99 and 120ml color is $27.99), enough to completely refill a cartridge up to 6 times. Using the HP Officejet 5610 printer as an example, it costs about $7 per refill to refill both a black and color HP cartridge. It’s clearly worth the elbow grease when you compare this cost to the $53 charged by Staples for genuine HP replacements, and even compared to the $38 for remanufactured cartridges.

    The benefits of using inkjet refill kits extend beyond cost savings; the use of refill kits goes a long way in helping to preserve the environment. Each year, millions of empty toner and inkjet cartridges are thrown into the trash, ending up in landfills or incinerators. Inkjet cartridges are constructed out of plastic, petroleum-based products and take about 1,000 years to decompose. By refilling ink cartridges consumers can help reduce solid waste and conserve raw materials and the energy needed to produce a new product.

    Most inkjet cartridges can be recycled up to six times and typically produce the same quality and output as new cartridges. Given the environmental impact and cost savings, Inkjet refill kits are truly a sensible alternative.

  2. Steve Bobbler
    February 17th, 2010 @ 10:23 am

    There are lots of third party ink cartridges that get around all of HP’s, Epson’s, and Lenovo’s attempts to block out imitators. I’m sure that being forced to get around these measures increases the cost of the imitation ink cartridges, which is to the benefit of the original companies, but the cost is still much lower than the officially branded ink cartridges.

  3. garet
    April 15th, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

    Kodak has some printers with really cheap ink cartridges, but unfortunately, these ink cartridges run out really fast too. Without really looking into the amount of ink in each cartridge, it’s hard to say which ones are cheap and which ones aren’t.
    You could always try using an inkjet refill to save money, though. It’s worth trying once, at least. If you hate it or it doesn’t work for you, then don’t use it again.

  4. A Pen That Prints in 3D While You Draw | Curious Cat Gadgets
    February 20th, 2013 @ 6:09 am

    Using ABS plastic (the material used by many 3D printers), 3Doodler draws in the air or on surfaces. It’s compact and easy to use, and requires no software or computers…

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