Why Printer Ink Is So Expensive?

Every one of us has questions he or she wants to have answers for. While most of those questions are quite specific ‘Will I pass this or not?’ others are rhetorical ones – ‘What the purpose of life?’, ‘What is love?’ or ‘How are you doing?’ There are also questions that at first glance seem specific, but turn out to be rhetorical under closer examination.

One such question – why is printer ink so expensive? – has been haunting me from the first time I ever bother getting a refill for my printer. If I ever find the answer I guess I will be sure to have lived a meaningful life.

Now that the issue is still of present interest, I’m looking for any information that could shed some light onto it.

Chris Gaylord of The Christian Science Monitor asks just the same question (which makes me suppose that the issue of overpriced ink is relevant to all confessions) and he tries to answer it. However, I deem his answer as misleading.

High-quality ink is expensive to make. It’s packaged in specially designed cartridges that are difficult for others to replicate. And it comes saddled with patents and copyrights that the companies staunchly defend.

Take a note: those “specially designed cartridges” are not such because special design improves quality or performance. It seems like the technology capacious cartridges only exist to prevent others from making money on compatible ink.

Hewlett-Packard alone spends $1 billion a year on printing and ink research, a figure that no generic vendor could easily match.

$1 billion is incredible money, but let’s think of this. All studies where OEM ink cartridges outperform those of third-party manufacturers will gill you only a 2-3-fold supremacy (like 2 times more inks in HP OEM cartridges). I don’t know the exact figure, but pretty sure that side ink makers hardly have 1/10 of what HP can afford. From the point of view of effectively spent money, this is a wasted $1 billion.

We have witnessed some explanations of why printer ink is expensive, still they are no clue as to why it is so expensive.

Although, some customers are already taking legal actions against some ink cartridge manufacturers, there must be economical measures taken to force the state of thing change in the favor of customers.

So far all is quiet in laser printing and no storm is raging about currently cheap toner cartridges. However, I wonder if it remains the same when color laser printer become as widely available to common public as color inkjets are.

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