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HP Offers Ink Subscriptions, Magazine Service

'Instant Ink' will supply you with a steady flow of ink to print out the Conde Nast magazines flowing from your printer.

HP doesn't just want to sell you printers, it also wants to sell you ink, its other cash cow. That's why it's offering to send all the ink you need for a monthly fee. And if you're not blowing through your ink cartridges that fast, the company will be happy to commandeer your printer and do it for you with a new "print-to-home" service.

Subscriptions for HP "Instant Ink" start at $5.99 a month and range up to $10.99. The service "automatically delivers replacement ink to customers," which HP claims could mean as much as a 50 percent annual savings in the cost of printer cartridges.

To help make the whole thing worth your while, HP is also kicking off a new partnership with Conde Nast that will deliver content from titles including Allure, Details, Epicurious, Glamour, Golf Digest, Self, and Wired direct to your HP printer. With all that content coming straight to your home or office, you'll be sure to need an HP Instant Ink subscription.

HP claims that "…with scheduled delivery to HP web-connected printers using HP print tools, publishers can reach readers more frequently than with print magazines and more tangibly than via e-mail."

It sure does sound like a great thing for publishers, but what about for we consumers? It seems like HP has called on its publishing friends to spam users with newsletters, articles, and presumably a little advertising in order to dry out printer cartridges faster and justify a steady stream of revenue in the form on Instant Ink subscriptions.

Then again, if you can't get enough Golf Digest, and you absolutely can't bear to read it on your laptop, phone, tablet or Kindle; or if you simply prefer your magazines in paper form -- then this is the service you've been waiting for.

HP says both "Instant Ink" and print-to-home will be rolled out as pilot programs offered on a trial basis this fall.

Follow Eric on Twitter, and at ericmack.org. Follow PCWorld on Twitter, too.

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