I had to put in an Amazon order for printer ink over the weekend and it was my semi-annual reminder that printer ink is still expensive as hell and it makes no sense. So I had to click and watch when I came across this short YouTube clip earlier explaining why printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet.
It’s natural to wonder why this stuff is still so damn expensive. Printer ink is something we’ve all been using for decades/generations. You’d think that someone would’ve swooped in by now to undercut the market with lower prices at smaller margins and went on to make a fortune but the answer of why printer ink is so expensive isn’t that simple.
The people behind the scenes, the engineers and manufacturers, want us to believe that printer ink is worth every penny that we pay for it and they make a pretty compelling case for why this stuff has remained costly after all these years.
A few factors to consider are how printers are often sold well below their actual value and the printer cartridges are a way for the manufacturers to recoup some of that loss over time and eventually make up for it. They can afford to sell a printer for 1/5 of what its worth if the printer cartridges are marked up because they’ll make back that loss in no time at all.
Another reason these cartridges are so expensive is that they also clean the printer. A HUGE chunk of the ink in each cartridge is used by the printer for maintenance purposes and to clean out the inkjets, and this is all ink that will never end up on the page. So as a consumer we might think we’re getting a very small amount of ink when we’re actually getting a lot more than we ever knew.
For what it’s worth, there are third party ink cartridge vendors that sell used and/or refurbished cartridges. You can always look into options that are cheaper than going to the store and buying off the rack.