No So Do-It-Yourself Fast

Today’s New York Times story, “Why-Do-It-Yourself Photo Printing Doesn’t Add Up” presents premise: Home printing costs anywhere from 28 to 50 cents a print, depending on who you believe (manufacturers or Consumer Reprorts). Consumers can get their digitals printed elsewhere for as little as a dime a print. More consumers are choosing the lower-cost options.

The story cites some analyst numbers showing a sharp decrease in home photo printing (48 percent of the photo prints made, down from 64 percent during the previous 12 months). From the news story: “Despite the ceaseless efforts of manufacturers to convince consumers that printing at home is fast, convenient and a whole lot of fun, the evidence shows that many people are tuning out the marketing”. 

Uh, not so fast. The story fails to show any shift to in-store printing. Just the opposite, the story cites figures that put home and in-store printing as dead even. Hel-l-o-o-o.

Printing at home isn’t just about the cost of the ink. There are other considerations, weighing in on the price. For example, what about the impact of souring gas prices, which could make that jaunt to the drug store a whole lot more expensive that it used to be.

No doubt, plenty of people get their digitals at the local drug store. But I see nothing in the story to really suggest fewer people use printers less. The digital camera market is on the upward growth path. I could suggest plenty of equally reasonable explanations for why home printing dropped over 12 months, such as more people keeping pics digital. If the story had shown an accordingly shift to in-store printing, I wouldn’t write this rebuttal. There wouldn’t be need.

I’ve never used in-store printing, nor would I. I have two printers, a Canon PIXMA ip6000D and Epson Stylus PHOTO 2200. The Canon doubles as all-around printer and for some photos. I use the Epson for producing quality images, stuff given away to other folks or for large prints.

In-home printing isn’t for everyone. But it’s what I recommend for anyone truly interested in getting the most out of their digital cameras. If you own a digital SLR, you also should have a good printer to go with it.

As for the New York Times, today’s story doesn’t make its case.