Love/Hate Relationships With Printers

Writing novels consumes a lot of paper, and unfortunately, most printers seem designed to get the consumer to do one thing:  Buy more ink.  That’s where the companies make their money.

Inkjets are generally for recreational use, where you’re not going to be doing a lot of printing.  They’re not really made to handle the heavy duty work of printing an entire novel.  When I had inkjets, I’d sometimes go through an ink cartridge once a month.  At $50, it adds up really fast.  There was the added problem that several of the different brands had an ink monitor to tell you it was out of ink–before it ran out.  While I was researching one printer, I discovered the maker had been sued for this!

Lasers get more for the mileage, though the cartridges are more expensive.  But they have their problems, too.   One printer I had to replace once it needed a drum because the part was more expensive than buying a new printer.  Another signaled it was out of toner before it was out.  The one I just bought eats toner at the default settings.  I had to go into the properties and change the settings to draft and set the black level a lot lower.  I can always adjust it if I need better quality.

If you’re thinking of buying a printer, start with the reviews of the cartridges, not the printer.  That’ll tell you more about what you’re getting than checking on how it prints.  If it’s a toner hog, reviewers will tell you work arounds.  One workaround is using different fonts.    The TNR everyone likes a lot (and which fights are started in writing circles) uses a lot of ink.  Calibri or Courer New doesn’t.  There’s also EcoFont, which is made to conserve ink.  Not pretty to look at, but it’ll help stretch the cartridge a little longer.