The gradual demise of the trusty old home office printer

There was a time when my printer was an absolute essential in the home office. Back in the early 1990s, my Epson dot matrix printer was regularly printing out letters to mail or fax, or stuff to file in folders. Since then I’ve had a series of inkjets which I’ve also used to print out photos, lists, colour flyers, etc.

But times have changed here. In these days of digital communication, my latest Epson inkjet rarely gets used – brought home to me as I tried to print something out last week and found the nozzles were seriously clogged through lack of use. Haven’t been able to clear it yet – but there’s no rush; nothing pressing for it to do. In hindsight, I should have been printing off a test page or two each week, but these things creep up on you. Besides, why should I have to print out test sheets just to keep the thing serviceable? Waste of paper and ink. Wish there was a way to seal inkjet cartridges and nozzles when not in regular use.

Interestingly, I’ve seen an inverse relationship between the printer and my Epson scanner. Although I don’t have a paperless office here, nothing like it, I do find I’m scanning more and more stuff into notebook apps like Evernote and Microsoft OneNote rather than printing stuff out on paper. I stopped printing out photos years ago. Makes a lot of sense to me to store digitally rather than on paper.

Well that’s what I thought. While I was thinking over this topic, I did a Google search and came across a post The slow demise of the printer by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. Here’s a short excerpt:

Another indication of how rarely I use my printer is the fact that the last few times I’ve used it, I’ve had to clean the print heads because some of the nozzles had dried out. I change ink cartridges so rarely now that not only do I not know the part numbers, I’d even forgotten what make of printer I had!

…I’m not alone when it comes to using my printer less. It’s a pattern I see all around me. In fact, I’d say that the decreased use of the printer is also responsible for fewer home users/small office users buying and using suites such as Microsoft Office. As people create fewer paper documents (and in my opinion spend less time fussing over formatting, fonts and layout), they also realized they could do without expensive tools to create and format their documents.

While the desktop printer isn’t dead, it sure is en route to retirement.

I broadly agree with his post, but the blog comments were worth reading. There were 91 comments and only about 20 were in agreement with Kingsley-Hughes. Seems that business is still consuming paper at an alarming rate and many others who commented felt that printing and printers are not dead yet.  Some had worries over the risk of digital storage and would like a hard copy, just in case. And as to my problem, looks like I should research a laser printer rather than inkjet next time. I guess I should have some kind of printer in the home office, at least for a while yet.

Do you feel that the home printer is on the way out or will it be around for years to come? Drop a comment below.

The gradual demise of the home printer is a post from Tech and Life. If you’re reading it in full elsewhere, it’s been copied without consent. Please go to Tech and Life to read the original post and many others in the archive.

One Response

  1. Suresh Subramaniam Says:

    Nice article. I agree with you absolutely. I used to work as a technician with a special affection for the Epson LX 800, which I was using personally for several years. For the last 2 years, I have stopped using printers completely and in my office (around 20 tech workers), we have one printer which is hardly used. I think it is a good trend, being eco-friendly and all. One small tear shed for the trusty and crusty Epson should do :-)

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