That was my last printer.
It wasn't my last because I had no more printing to do, it was my last because I used cheaper printers. The college I went to has many large laser printers (even a few color laser printers) throughout campus, and even one in my dorm. I learned where they were, how to print to them, and their reliability. At times, I found myself in a lecture finishing papers 20 minutes before they were due. Before I left, I printed the essay and picked it up on the way to class.
Several changes in technology have made the printer less of a necessity.
- Network ubiquity
- Network speed
- PDF ubiquity
Following these advances, it has become possible to outsource printer needs. Companies that do a large amount of printing can afford printers that are faster, higher quality, and use cheaper ink.
Here are some tips to survive in a somewhat more paperless world:
- Try to cut back on printing. If you need to store a copy of something, digital copies take less space, can be secured, and can be stored on a server that keeps redundant copies. Send emails when you can. That said, I think most people reading this already do those things.
- Print documents at work. This one is a little ethically questionable, but it will save you money.
- For documents, a Kinkos (and possibly other companies) offer services that allow you to print to one of their printers from home.
- Need to send a letter to someone? USPS offers a service called NetPost that will mail a document you supply.
- For pictures, there are many companies out there that will print your photos. If you print any pictures, this tip will probably save you the most money. Between the amount of ink it takes and the cost of photo paper, a company that specializes in printing photos can commoditize the process and save you money.
- Think about how often you print, and if you can even justify owning a printer. If you think the prices at Kinkos are high, consider how many pages you'd have to print to pay for that $60 HP inkjet. They charge around $0.10 per page, but that also includes the paper. If the life of a printer is 3 years, you'd have to print 200 pages per year to break even, and that assumes the half filled cartridge the printer came with lasts.
- If you find you really need a printer, opt for a black and white laser printer. Since you really need it, you undoubtedly print enough to justify a $200 (at least) printer. While it isn't completely true that the per page cost of laser printers is lower than inkjets, it generally is.