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Tuesday, August 21. 2012
In The Secret of Amazon.com I reveal how one can buy older books for upward of an entire penny, assuming your
Well, I found out something even more amazing about Amazon.com the other day. This tale won't just introduce you to some new product or service; it'll introduce you to an entire new genre of item that you probably never even knew existed...
...and, if you own a printer and do much printing, you might want to very much.
You probably know the feeling.
What happens is that every time you turn the printer on, or even in mid-print if it feels the need, it cleans the printer heads. And every time it cleans the heads, it shoots a little ink down the nozzle and, after you add up a bucketload of cleanings, you're out of cyan. Or magenta. Or yellow.
So you cruise into Office Depot. $63 for the 4-pack. Hmm. Clearly, there must be a better way.
You check the Office Depot online site. $56. Hmm. Clearly, there must be a better way.
(you're repetitious, but thorough)
So you check Amazon.com. Ah-ha! $31. Now we're talkin'. You sniff around the page and see an "11 new from $27.20" link and figure you've hit rock bottom. $63 down to $27 in five minutes? Not bad, you old pro, you.
Then it happens.
That's when you spot the link next to it, and you humbly realize that, as smart and seasoned a shopper as you are, there's an entire genre of ink cartridges out there that you never even knew existed:
Used ink cartridges.
And, no, I just couldn't stop myself. The ad's gone now (there was only one in stock), but I grabbed the 4-pack listed for — are you ready — $9.95.
It arrived yesterday and all four cartridges are brand new inside of their factory-sealed vacuum packs. The reason they're sold as 'used' is because they're not in their nice little 4-pack box.
Learn something new every day, eh?
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... and shipping is "free" if you are Amazon Prime. We think it's worth the yearly charge. I made a similar discovery when shopping for replacement ink cartridges a few months back. We paid about half what the local Office Max was asking. And got it delivered in 2 days. If anybody uses Keurig Coffee "K-cups" (seem to recall BD talking about this some time back), we found the Amazon price for the type we drink to be cheaper than the Keurig website price. And, again, you get it in 2 days, while Keurig always takes about 10 days or so.
If you're not regularly printing in color, B&W laser printers are now amazingly cheap. On sale (Newegg, Office Depot, Staples, etc.) decent Brother and Samsung laser printers are regularly under $100. And they are usually significantly faster than ink jet printers, and warm up faster. Beyond that, the per page cost tends to be 20 - 35 % of the ink jets.
You can get one of these for about the cost of two ink refill packs.
I have one of each, but find that I do most of my printing on the laser.
Gary - That's actually great advice. If I were going to do it all over again, having watched innumerable color cartridges drain without printing a damn thing in color, I'd go the split route. These days, about the only things I print are PDF files where somebody wants a faxed signature, and that's pretty rare.
As an aside, would you guess the head-cleaning process is on some kind of timer? I remember once trying to outfox the color ink loss by simply not turning it off, but it'd still run through its routine when I went to print something. But I suppose it's necessary for the health of the ink. After all, you certainly wouldn't want it to hit its expiration date. You know, just like milk.
My only caveat about buying non-branded ink is that several years ago I bought cheaper than Epson but compatible ink carts and the printed pages smelled awful. Didn't order from that place again!
plus you lose the warranty on your printer, many of the no-brand ones tend to leak, have bad ink that clogs up the nozzles or causes nasty stains on the paper and the printer internals, etc., etc..
Maybe were I to print a lot more I'd go for them, but if I did that I'd also buy a laser printer which is a lot cheaper per printed page.
As to running out of colour ink when never printing colour: check your printer settings, you've most likely set it to print everything in colour, causing it to compose black out of the coloured inks instead of the black cartridge.
Or you have a tiny little coloured monogram you out of vanity told it to always print in the background, which does the same thing.
There is another trap on ink jet printers. Many Canon printers, for example, refuse to print after a certain number of cleaning cycles. The error message is "ink tank full", which is nonsense because the "tank" is just a pad.
The cost of having the ink tank "cleaned" (actually the pad replaced and the counter reset) is typically as much or more than a comparable new printer. And unless you are a mechanical wizard, it's very hard to do it yourself. More fodder for the landfills.
Ink jet printers have a stupid price model, under priced printers and hugely over priced ink, plus forcing users to junk perfectly good printers. Bah!
One of my offices still has a 1995 vintage Laserjet 5L, still going strong after 16 years. It isn't used a lot, but it works every time. I would have run through four or five ink jets by now.
New and direct from China. That smell, well China does have an awful large amount of toxic waste and really what better way to eliminate that problem than export it to America!
While ink may be the most egregious, those links show on almost everything. The "buyer beware" factor increases a bit, but not really all that badly.
- - - - rant 1
I use Amazon for buying lots of stuff, averaging about one shipment per week - not bad for a single retired guy, yes? But there are indeed some things... One item (see rant 2) I use a lot of occasionally shows up on Amazon from some non-Amazon seller, and invariably for over twenty percent more than I pay at the supermarket (Before shipping cost added!) - it is an unusual occurence, and I have not a clue why it happens, but it has made me doubly cautious about stuff that does not qualify for the Amazon shipping breaks because it is another company actually filling the order. Even if the vendor has great rating overall, any single item may not "fit" with the company-wide profile.
- - - - rant 2
The item is, for whatever reason, one of those thing not sold to individuals by the manufacturer.
The first time I ran into this (other than where required by law, as with tobacco or alcohol) it seemed wierd that I could not buy a wastebasket from the manufacturer, and with the added fillip that they would not tell me where I could buy it. Heck, it STILL seems wierd thirty years later. And as far as I know, is still that company`s policy.
Last time I ran out of ink in my Canon I tried to find cartridges. None local. Online price about $30. Went to Walmart and bought a new HP for $32.
The game is just like razors. Give away the handle and charge for the blades. Guy I've known for more than 50 years spent many years with HP. He says that HP is now an ink company. That's where the money is.
Dr. Merc: I don't get it. If the toner cartridges you bought were sealed in their original packs straight from the factory, why are they said to be "used"? Why aren't they labeled "new"? What is "used" about them? To me, a used cartridge would be one that has been opened and is either empty or partly filled. If they have been completely refilled, I would call them "refurbished". If they are still factory-sealed, they may be "old" or "surplus" but I would not think of them as "used".
Dr. Merc got himself a janyouwine Rolex for ten bucks and you're questioning the deal?
AC - I agree, it didn't seem to make any sense, but since I didn't believe they'd actually be "used" cartridges, I had to go ahead and try. They weren't in the official 4-pack box, so maybe that's where the 'used' part comes in.
If original packaging has been opened, especially if destroyed or damaged, many things cannot be sold as "new".
Also, think of those "pre-owned" car lots. In the case of cars they are always "used". In the case of Amazon the product may simply have been pre-owned. Someone else purchased it and is now reselling it on Amazon. Maybe somebody had a supply of ink cartridges on hand, printer went belly up, sells the ink cartridges on Amazon. The product itself may not have been used but it is no longer new.
Why not in the original 4-pack box? Printer ran out of cyan when the kids were printing homework (or, more likely, some dopey photos of the dog). Unused cartridges tossed into drawer. Other stuff goes in drawer atop cartridges. Days or weeks later, Dad is in a hurry to print something for work. Magenta is N/A. Dad quickly looks for ink while muttering foul language. No ink anywhere to be found.
Dad rushes to nearest store and pays top dollar for 4-pack, runs home, rips it open in a near fury, slams home the magenta cartridge just as wife and child walk through door and ask, "why did you buy new ink, there's some in the drawer.
Just a thought. I wouldn't have any actual experience of this sort of thing.
As long as the vacuum packs are okay, that's good enough. And these were sold by companies both times. The first time they only had one in stock, but this last time they had five. Where they come from is anybody's guess. Maybe the outer boxes got damaged by water during shipping and they're sold as 'damaged'? That would seem likely. Either way, it's a great discovery.
I'm switching back to Kodak for my printing, once I have the money About 10 dollars for black ink cartridges, fifteen dollars for color.
Along with being cheaper than most other printers, Kodak ink seems to last longer.
The Canon I now have is going to the Salvation Army where I think it'll find a good home.
I gave up on inkjets a couple of years ago. I don't do much printing and without use the color cartridges would go bad even though they still contained ink. I now have a laser printer and should have gotten one ten years ago. If I need the occasional color print I run down to Walmart or one of the many other stores that offer color printing.
Years ago I bought an Epson inkjet printer/scanner. After purchasing one set of replacement cartridges and calculating the cost per page of an inkjet versus a laser printer, I spent $50 on a laser printer six years ago. Imagine it will still be running six years from now.
I still use the Epson for scanning. Unlike many old scanners, this Epson has a driver for Windows 7. It scans slowly, but since I scan about a page a month, I can put up with it.
As I don't print color pages, I don't miss that capacity.
I have considered buying a small scanner for $10-$20 on Craigslist to replace my humongous Epson, but there are very few pure scanners at that price which also have drivers for Windows 7. It appears I will keep the Epson for scanning. Por ahora.
Given how cheap printers are, an easy compromise would be to have both. Use the laser for the B&W stuff and the fancy printer for the occasional color text or charts, color photographs on glossy paper, disc labels, etc. A little extra shelf space and problem solved.
I use a CISS (continuous ink supply) with my Epson color printer. I print every day as I am an artist and often print note cards for the customer buying an original painting. It takes very little time to set up the tanks, tubes and chip-sets which replace the cartridges. The ink in the good units is ISO 9001 and dye based, the same as that in the expensive little cartridges. Check feedback before buying. I bought my system a year ago on Amazon for under $60.00. I may have to buy more ink NEXT YEAR ($30).
Tsk, tsk, tsk. Tell me, no Costco members here? For those lucky enough, peruse the photo section - they are rolling out refills at very nice prices...
Well maybe. I'm a big reader. I typically order 10 to 20 books a month from Amazon but I can't remember the last one I got for a penny or a quarter or even a buck. I get lots of Kindle books for free but almost all of them are very old and many are unreadable. If you do a search for a specific topic or author Sort by relevance, Low to High and you'll see all the cheap books first. Many times though you'll find that buying a more expensive book and using Amazon Prime is cheaper than the cheap book and days faster.
As far as the ink cartridges go it's hit or miss. I have a brand new set of 6 I ordered about a month ago for my HP printer. They are brand new, not refilled but my printer won't recognize them so they weren't cheap at all.
The penny books, as noted in the article, were fairly old. That's one of the great things about books compared to movies, though. An old movie will actually look and feel old, with the corny music and editing and all that. A book written anywhere from the 70's on remains just as fresh as today, with the only glaring anomaly being the description of the computer gear of the day. I remember reading one old Michael Crichton novel where he was describing some 'super-computer' that had -- and I hope you're sitting down -- a whopping two megs of Ram(!). I glanced over at Task Manager, noted the four gigs on my system, smiled, and read on.
As for ink cartridges, I knew my Epson was on its last legs a year ago so I figured "what the hell" and bought a 4-pack of the refills. Worked fine. The reviews are a big help. If something's a piece of shit, someone'll usually bitch about it.