The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 June 2006

Drip, drop, ka-ching

File this under "Wouldn't It Be Nice":

Given that you are essentially subscribing to Hewlett-Packard's or Brother's or whatever your brand's printing subscription program, you should be privy to a little more information on how much your subscription is going to cost. Few people really need to know how many Pages Per Minute their printer is going to spit out. As long as it's above ten, the average consumer can be content. Pages Per Minute is a stat that is similar to the time it takes to go from zero to sixty, featured in car commercials. Whose driveway is a highway onramp? What consumers need is a statistic that is more similar to the gas mileage stat. Consumers need to know about how many pages their printer will print before exhausting a cartridge of black and a cartridge of color ink. And we need that stat in both draft and standard modes. It should be listed on the informational card so that the office supply store employees can provide you with useful information.

Gwendolyn does zero to sixty in eight and a half seconds — not in my driveway, which is fairly long, but not that long, and you've already seen how I deal with onramps.

Still, absent any consumption specs, we're at the mercy of the printer makers, and they'd pretty much like to keep us that way. Once I did the math:

An HP 56 cartridge (black and white) for the DeskJet I use at work runs $35 and contains 19 ml; one liter of the stuff — 52.6 cartridges full — comes to $1842. Multiply by 159.05 liters per barrel, and you're looking at $292,900 for a barrel of ink.

By comparison, $70 oil is cheaper than dirt. And it adds a whole new dimension to that old saw about "Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel."

I have a very old DeskJet at home: a 720C. It takes the HP 45 cartridge, which holds a startling 42 ml and costs less than $35. No wonder it's been discontinued.

(Seen at BatesLine.)

Posted at 6:16 AM to PEBKAC


I've quit using my inkjet printer because it runs out of ink so quickly.

Now I send all my print jobs downstairs to the wife's business-expense-tax-writeoff laser printer.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:59 AM on 30 June 2006

It dawned on me at long last that inasmuch as the HP 56 doesn't actually contain white ink, characterizing it as B&W was rather dumb.

There is a black photo-print cartridge (58) that fis this machine, but I have no idea what's in it either.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:18 AM on 5 July 2006