The short answer: Because printer manufacturers can get away with charging you that much. Without ink, your printer is just a big paperweight, and companies like Canon, HP, and Lexmark know it. That's why they can afford to sell printers for under $100; they're betting that most printer owners will continue to invest in ink cartridges that may cost $20 to $40 a pop over the course of several (or many) years. Third-party refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges may be a lower-cost alternative, but some are messy to install or deliver inferior print quality.
That's because printer ink is surprisingly difficult to replicate. But perhaps we shouldn't find this difficulty so surprising. Even consumer-grade printer ink is a technological marvel--capable of remaining fluid at extremely high temperatures, and then drying instantly on paper after being shot through a tiny nozzle at a speed of roughly 30 miles per hour. Good luck getting your ballpoint pen cartridges to match those requirements!
Of course, printer ink is less expensive if you buy a printer that matches your printing needs. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld senior editor and printer aficionado, has spilled plenty of ink in the process of reporting on the printer industry over the years; her testing suggests that purchasing a more expensive printer ($200 or above) is usually a smart decision if you print more than 250 pages per month, as ink and toner replacements for expensive printers tend to cost less than replacement cartridges for cheaper models. However, if your print output is less than that, stick with the cheapest printer that meets your needs.
Next: Why does iTunes lose track of my music?
Why does iTunes lose track of where my music is?
If iTunes often forgets where your music is stored and displays a 'File Not Found' exclamation mark, the reason may be that you store your music on an external device iTunes can't always connect to. When I use iTunes to load music onto my iPod, I have to tell iTunes where I keep my files, by dragging them into the iTunes library. This creates a link for each song, informing iTunes of where to find itÂ--but when I disconnect my portable hard drive, the links become invalid; so iTunes displays a 'File Not Found' error and asks me to reconfirm where the file is on my hard drive.
To stop this problem from happening, open the File menu in iTunes, navigate to the Library section, and select Organize Library.... From here, check the box next to Consolidate Files, and iTunes will create copies of every media file played via iTunes in the iTunes Media folder, which ought to be located on your PC's internal storage. This method may cause your hard drive to fill up with media files in the long term, but it will eliminate those annoying 'File Not Found' errors.