Something called Inksaver, out next week, could reduce consumer inkjet printing costs by up to 75 percent.
The £30 software analyses data before it is sent to the printer and reduces the amount of ink needed to print.
A survey by Strydent Software, developer of Inksaver, found four out of five inkjet owners think their printers are too expensive to run. Inksaver allows greater control over the amount of ink needed for each page.
The user chooses a saving level, between zero and 75 percent for colour and black, after seeing a sample print. The greater the saving, the lower the quality — but for everyday use 40 percent saving on black and 25 percent on colour is acceptable.
Drawing parallels to the razor blade industry, where cheap initial purchase is offset by expensive consumables, Strydent claims printer companies make up to 60 percent of their profit from ink sales. The software works with popular Canon, Epson and HP printers.
Mark Nicholson, UK Marketing Manager for Canon Consumer Imaging agreed that "ink costs are an issue with consumers", but could not comment on how much Canon stood to lose without further information on the product.
Concerning Inksaver, he said: "Canon spends a lot of time and effort developing photographic output. To introduce a third-party product would mean we could no longer guarantee output would meet expectations."
When asked if Canon is looking at developing a similar technology, he replied, "Our drivers are not designed specifically to overuse ink, but to give exceptional output. It is possible that some of the developments in this software could be useful, but it is not possible to say without more detailed information or sample product."
Epson and HP were unable to comment until they had evaluated the product.