Human blood costs about $17.27 an ounce, silver about $34 an ounce. But both are bargains compared to the ink sold to the owners of inkjet printers, which can exceed $80 an ounce. Meanwhile, the ink used to print newspapers costs about 16 cents an ounce.
Today, color inkjet technology offers essentially photo-realistic output from consumer or home-office printers that cost less than $100. But even those who print out as few as 20 pages a week will probably have to buy several ink refills a year, at minimum, costing way more than the original price of the printer. Those who understand the issues can avoid the worst shocks. (See “Shopping advice,” below.)
“Everyone complains about the price of ink, but consumers do not do a net-present-value analysis when shopping—we only do it with higher-ticket items,” explains Federico De Silva, an analyst at Gartner, a market research firm. “They are going for a $49 printer, but when they have to refill it they realize they are spending $50 to $60 just on ink.” [read]