11 September 2011

Local Produce

A market driven by collectors is bound to being irrational. And indeed, anything can happen when the actual needs give way to cravings.

Fountain pen inks are one such example. There are many inexpensive inks in the market, and many of those brands offer a very wide selection of colors. However, the business of fancy inks packaged like exquisite perfume is flourishing despite their color charts or their intrinsic quality might not be different from those cheaper ones. Diamine in Europe and Noodler´s in North America could easily be the rational inks of choice if we only paid attention to the actual price per milliliter of ink. And sure enough, their selection of colors is wide and rich—wider, actually, than those by most other brands.

Ink selection in a shop in Tokyo.

Japan, paradoxically, might have a more limited market. Paradoxically I say given the fascination felt in the West for dyes made by Japanese companies. The big three pen companies –Pilot, Platinum, and Sailor— have inexpensive inks for the domestic market, but with a very limited selection of colors. Interestingly enough, the cheapest ink in Japan, other than buying 350 ml bottles by Pilot, is the German-made Pelikan 4001 series.

The table shows the local prices of the inks mentioned on the text. Figures in bold face show the local prices in the local currency for those inks. The exchange rates used for the currency conversions are those of September 11th, 2011, as shown on the following table

The motto “think globally, act locally” might also be a good idea for the ink business in order to regain some common sense. Think globally to be aware of the market variations, and act locally to keep your buying power in good health.

(Platinum Pocket Pen, Atelier Yamada – Pilot Blue Black)

Bruno Taut
September 6th, 2011
[labels: Mercado, tinta, Noodler´s, Pelikan, Diamine, Pilot, Sailor, Platinum]


Anonymous said...

Is this perhaps in response to the mad rush to obtain the new iroshizuku colors :) ?

Bruno Taut said...

Iroshizuku, and Mix Free , and seasonal Sailor inks...

Thanks for commenting.


Julie said...

Fascinating analysis. Thanks for sharing it. As someone who consumes a lot of ink, I just can't bring myself to pay a premium. Already paying too much.

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Julie, for commenting. I just hoped my figures made some sense to someone.

By the way, was this a provocative post?

Thanks again!


Anonymous said...

This WAS a provacative post (I'm the anonymous from above)!

I think one solution is to enjoy cheap samples, but buy bottles of the local (or at least cost-effective) ink.

Living in the US, I've got 6 bottles total right now (Diamine, Noodlers and Herbin) but a much greater trove of samples. They don't come in pretty packaging, but they quell that urge to try something new! :)

Bruno Taut said...

Thanks, Julie.

I never thought this text was provocative, but I am happy to be consider as such.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.



Julie said...

It's provocative only in that some folks don't want to think such things. They, uh, just want to buy. *ahem*

Provocative is good, IMHO.

*Coming back to this again weeks and weeks later!*

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