This article isn't really targeted at any specific manufacturer of ink in particular, all the major printer manufacturers seem to be just as bad in the consumers eyes. Lexmark, Canon, HP, Epson, Dell, Brother, Kodak and the rest of em all seem to be, in a way, despised by most consumers, yet we all still have to deal with them if we want to print.
The main reason for all this hatred of the big guys in the ink industry is the price of cartridges... but in my own honest opinion I think they're not the ones to blame, in fact I think it's the consumers fault. Hear me out.
As I understand it there are two reasons that printer consumables cost what they do. The first is that you are not just paying for the ink, you are paying for the technology. The second reason is that the cartridge industry is set up similar to the razor-razorblade model: one good is sold at a discount, the second good that the first depends on costs more.
What am I paying for when I buy a cartridge?
As I previously mentioned, you are not simply paying for the ink that a cartridge contains. There are a few graphs on the web that have compared the cost of HP ink to the likes of human blood and petrol, and although it's nice to have a rant about HP every now and then, the graph itself is very inaccurate. Using the cost of an ink cartridge to calculate the cost of the ink itself would be like using the cost of a car to calculate the cost of petrol.
So what is it you pay for exactly? Well the ink that the cartridge contains is only part of what you pay for, you are also buying the vessel that holds the ink, the chip that controls the ink distribution and even the in built print head depending on the type of cartridge. It's all these things combined that you are paying for, not just the liquid inside.
In what way is the consumer to blame for the cost?
As stated earlier on, the printer consumable industry is mostly based on a similar business model to that of the razor-razorblade industry. They manufacture a product and a consumable, the product is priced at a discount and the consumable is then overpriced, as long as the customer keeps the printer they carry on making a decent profit.
You can walk to your closest PC World or Best Buy and pick up a printer for less than £30, a bargain, until you run out of ink and realise that a set of new cartridges will cost you more than £30. Yet for some reason this happens all the time, too many people are bothered about how much it will cost them in the moment to even consider purchasing a more expensive printer with cheaper cartridges.
How can this be changed? Well it probably won't, even if a manufacturer were to bring out a new line of printers that were a bit more pricey yet the ink prices were actually reasonable (in fact printers like this are already out there), people would still go for the cheapest printer they can find.
So that is why printer cartridges are expensive, they are not just liquid in a container, they contain a fair bit of tech, and the industry is set up in such a manner that the cartridges have to be pricey for the big companies to make money.