Sunday, June 22, 2008

A death in the family

My inkjet printer died yesterday, just as I was preparing to print the first piece of fiction I've completed in more than a month. Today I shopped for and purchased a replacement.

Printers have become disposable commodities, made cheaply and lasting only a few years. The printer I selected--an Epson Stylus CX8400--was on sale for $79.99. (The store next door to where I purchased had the same printer on sale for $102.99. Go figure.)

The box containing the printer also contained four ink cartridges, which sell individually for $17.99. Therefore I paid $71.96 for the ink and $8.03 for the printer. So where do you think the manufacturer makes its money?

I'm tempted to purchase another $8.03 printer to keep on hand as a backup. Even if I never need it, I'll certainly use the ink that is packed in the same box.


Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Michael,

A lot of time the starter ink cartridges contain less ink than the retail ones.

(Still using the laser he bought in 1994)

Susanne said...

Michael -

As prolific as you are in terms of output, suspect an inexpensive (under $100) laser printer would be much more economical in the long run. All those ink jet cartridges have to cost more than a laser toner cartridge.

Susanne (whose HP Laser 4L is even older than Stephen's!)

Michael Bracken said...

A fair bit of what I do requires color and I've yet to find a decent color laser for a price I'm willing to pay. Perhaps what I really need are two printers: a black-only laser for manuscripts and a color inkjet for everything else.

Stephen D. Rogers said...


You have a 4L too?

Except for the small paper tray, I do love that printer.


Last week I saw color laser printers for a hundred bucks, but didn't price the toner.