• Most printer cartridges are expensive. In the business, these are called "consumables" -- they're the true cash cow. The manufacturers may even lose money on the printer itself (isn't it amazing how cheap they are for all those functions?), but they make it back on the consumables. The reason there are SO MANY different kinds of cartridges is simple: the constant changes make it difficult for 3rd-party vendors to offer less expensive substitutes quickly enough to catch market share. It's all a shell game with your ink! :)
  • This is a comment in response to Stableboy. I tried twice to post it as a comment the the system hung up. (Why does it do this, AB managers?) Yes, SB, you are right as usual. A colleague and I interviewed a guy in upper management at a company that makes printer controllers. He said there was no future in cheaper/better/faster. "We can roll the pages out so fast that you'll get paper cuts trying to catch them, but we can't make money doing it." So they charge the earth for ink and specialty paper. HP is the worst, though. My HP printer flashes "genuine HP ink product detected," just in case I try to pull a fast one and use a generic ink cartridge. Same shell game in college textbooks. They don't need to be revised on a 2 or 3-year schedule. They do it in self-defense against the strong used-book market. The student pays - and pays. It isn't right at all. But don't get me started.....
  • I will give an example from a different printer. I purchased Canon PIXMA 1880. When tried to purchase the new ink cartridges, the price was slighly more than the printer itself. You can buy compatible ink cartridges at a lower cost. I have purchased refill kit and learned to refil the ink cartridges. That works out to be the cheapest.
  • Take the HP 21 black ink. It is (3/18/09) $18.92 on for a 5 ml cartridge. That makes it (check my math) $3.784 per milliliter. There are 3785.4 ml in 1 gallon. That makes black ink $14323.95 per gallon!!! (Is gold that expensive???)

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