Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Forgotten Tool of the Trade

I love you laser printer! I love you very much.

I have a Brother duplex laser printer I bought on sale at Officer Depot. As a consumer, any type of office equipment I need, I purchase there. Sometimes they have genuine sales not requiring some rebate I need to go through to “save!”

Another reason is their return policy is king. If I had a problem they would happily take whatever back, it did not matter if whatever was some electronic thing. They did this with an expensive photo printer with a broken feeder out of the box, and apologized for the difficulty.

I love you Office Depot!

I cannot imagine proofreading/line editing a novel without this printer. I cannot! If I want to waste paper, I put it in draft, and in minutes, I have printed like 350 pages and the printer sits there, waiting for more. If I want to conserve paper and amuse the cats, I put it in duplex mode. It takes twice as long to print, but that means it prints like this: ZOOM (turn paper around) ZOOM instead of like this: ZOOM!

Many people I know who had laser printers in the past have switched to color inkjet printers. The modern color inkjet printer is a little marvel. It can print photos reasonably well and for general usage, they can’t be beat. Color printouts are king. Many are all-in-one: printer, scanner, and copier.

For the novelist, inkjet printers are demon spawn. They are sloooooooow and you can almost hear the ink sucking sound from your wallet as you print, even if you print in B&W draft.

Now the ink in a laser printer is not exactly cheap either, until you take in account how long the toner cartridge lasts, and how many pages you get out of it. I’ve had my printer nine months and I am still using the wanker toner cartridge that came with it. I have a real cartridge standing by; it looks a bit lonely sitting on the shelf.

Economic times are hard, but if you are absent a modern black and white laser printer, as a novelist, you’re missing out. Cut down the lattes to three a week instead of daily and save the pennies. You won’t regret it.

And to completely geek out this geek post: my printer isn’t even attached to a computer. I simply plugged it into my network switch, which, in turn, has a wireless switch connected to it. I print to it from anywhere in my house.

I love you laser printer!


  1. Wow, I think I love your laser printer, too....

  2. Anthony, I have EXACTLY the same printer, and I use it in EXACTLY the same way, to edit my novels. When I finish a novel, I print out a double-sided copy, get out my my Dr. Grip roller-ball pen, and start the bloodshed. Words are hacked out, others are added in the margins, so that at the end of the day I can make the changes and know that the story is better for the effort.

    The printer is 3 years old and I'm only on my second cartridge.

  3. Hi Douglas,

    Great minds think alike! :-)

    Does your cat swat at the paper as it is re-fed into the printer to print on the other side too?

  4. Sadly...I lack the funds to purchase a laserjet. Right now I stare at my HP black and white deskjet, and I sob softly into my sleeve. Damn you, inkjet! Damn you!

    Seriously...I want to love a laserjet, and will do everything in my power to purchase one someday.

  5. I agree with Patrick. I need a laserjet. I don't even want to try to print out the rest of my novel on my inkjet printer.

  6. I had to laugh when I read this sentence: "For the novelist, inkjet printers are demon spawn." It is just too true. I actually have one of those scans, copy, print types ones, and it is great - except, when I have to print my MS. Until I can buy a laser printer, it is Kinkos for me.

  7. Nobody I know has ever switched from a monochrome laser printer to a color inkjet. Having both is usually what people do if they want to print color photos or graphics.
    I agree that inkject printers are demon spawn for novelists. They also are for students who need to print that twenty-page report and need to be in class in ten minutes.
    I have a Dell monochrome laser printer that I can set to print in "ink-saving" mode, which prints in gray-scale: while it's still marginally legible, it prints with half the ink.
    As for price, mine was about $250, and toner cartridges (which last about 8 months with a college student's usage) run between $25 (used) to $60 (new). I would say that it was definitely worth it, if you consider NOT having to buy liquid ink cartriges every week AND time saved by printing at home rather than taking my more lengthy print jobs to a place.
    When I tell others about my particular model (Dell MF1125, just so you know) they get hung up on the "But it's $250!" part. ...and then they go to Wal-Mart to buy their next $30 inkjet cartridge.

  8. I am still using the toner cartridge that came with the laser printer.

    I have printed multiple manuscripts, multiple times, must be going on 4,000 pages, easily.


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