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The Price of Ink Cartridges

May 11th, 2007 · No Comments

Ever wondered why ink cartridges are so highly priced? On a per-pound basis ink is more expensive that Russian caviar. Don’t take my word for it – here’s PC World. Printer manufacturers have traditionally followed what is called the Razor Blade marketing philosophy – sell the razor cheap and price the blades higher than normal – the profits are higher from the supplies that go with the product – two or three years of it. Also, as the PC World article points out, the prices of printers have been falling so steeply that the price differential between the printers and the cartridges is diminishing so much that everyone is noticing it. Earlier no one complained when the printer cost $500 and the cartridge cost $30. Now the printer comes free with your whatchamacallit laptop. The cartridges are still $30. The number of rejects in the manufacturing process is also really high – so even if ink and plastic are cheap, cartridges aren’t cheap to make.

Interestingly, now Kodak is trying to play to the market by introducing printers that are more expensive than, say HP printers, but the cartridges are much cheaper – they think the consumers want that kind of change. You should check out that last link to the spanking new allthingsd.com – that is a new blog by Walt Mossberg, Kara Swisher et al – all professional high-profile journalists. The blog looks really cool too. However, getting back on track, I really doubt if Kodak can really make up for cartridge profits with the higher price for the printers.

Last time I had to get a cartridge, I got a recycled cartridge, or should I say “refilled”? It worked just as fine, and maybe for just a long – who really measures how many pages you print with a cartridge?