HP's solution to the death of print media: Buy more ink

HP today announced a partnership with Conde Nast that will deliver a handful of its most popular magazines (Allure, Details, Epicurious, Wired, Self, Golf Digest, etc.) to your home. Well, more specifically to your printer.

HP today announced a partnership with Conde Nast that will deliver a handful of its most popular magazines (Allure, Details, Epicurious, Wired, Self, Golf Digest, etc.) to your home. Well, more specifically to your printer.

Flickr user: chaz6

The press release shapes it as a "new digital content distribution medium that merges rich content and digital-to-print service," which really just means that readers can schedule automatic digital content delivery straight to HP's Web-connected printers , which will then use lots of ink to print out excerpts from magazines...in full color. This is the content solution that will save the print industry? Check your calendars; it's not April.

The service is in pilot testing and is free for now, and goes like this: users choose which magazines they want and when they want to read new issues, and Conde Nast will schedule the delivery accordingly. According to HP, the pricing model will be determined by the response to the pilot program. No word yet on how much less it will cost to produce than just subscribing to the glossy or going to the store and picking up a copy.

And to make sure you never stop spending, HP is also automating the purchase of your next cartridge with its new HP Instant Ink pilot program, delivering liquid cash in the form of ink tanks to your door as needed. Subscriptions for that are available from $5.99 to $10.99 a month, depending on which product you choose.

Oh, you've already forgotten how printer and ink tanks work? The more you spend on the initial hardware cost, the less you'll pay per month on cartridges, but that's not specific to HP printers alone. Higher-end (more expensive) printers carry five separate ink tank cartridges that let you replace individual colors, while lower-end models make you pay more for tricolor tanks that run out of ink quicker. Catch 22? Definitely, but what should we call HP's third layer of ink waste?

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