The Printer Cartridge Game
Think you got a great deal on a printer? Like the rest of us, you probably paid $50 to $75 for a decent Epson or Lexmark printer. What’s the catch, you might have asked? Most salesmen would say there is no catch. They’d probably go into a rant about how the printer market has gotten more competitive, driving prices way down. While that’s a true statement, it isn’t the primary reason for such inexpensive printers these days.
So, why are printers so inexpensive? It’s pretty simple – printer manufacturers need you to buy their printer model so you’re forced into buying their outrageously-priced ink cartridges. It’s kind of like the relationship between a gasoline company and car manufacturer, except in this situation the printer company is supplying both the automobile and the fuel. Gas companies wouldn’t make any money if no one owned an automobile. In the case of printer manufacturers, things are a little different. They don’t make any money on selling printers – they make their money by selling you the replacement ink cartridges.
It makes a lot of business sense when you think about it. A consumer buys a printer every few years, but may buy ink as much as once every three months. Printer manufacturers would much rather have this steady stream of income. Consumers don’t factor ink cartridge costs into the equation when they buy a printer. They look at the features and price tag. Sure you’re getting a great printer and not paying a lot. But if you use your printer on a fairly regular basis, the cost of ownership over a year or two (thanks to high priced ink cartridges) may exceed $500.
Before you buy your next printer, remember to do some research on printers, paying particular attention to the cost and longevity of the ink cartridge replacements. A little research ahead of time can save you hundreds of dollars. We don’t recommend Lexmark printers because Lexmark ink cartridges are generally mc more expensive than those of other brands, like Canon or Hewlett Packard. Because Lexmark embeds a special chip right into the cartridge, the cost of buying replacement Lexmark ink is astronomical.