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Choice Stationery Supplies Blog - for all the chat on printer inks and cartridges

  • Welcome to Choice Stationery Supplies

    Choice Stationery Supplies is a family business formed by Paul Andrews in 1998. To this day it is still a family business owned and run by the Andrews Family doing what it set out to do back in 1998 - provide quality inkjet cartridges and supplies at competitive prices.

    Choice Stationery Supplies started its life in Minehead, a small town in West Somerset.

    Following expansion we relocated about 10 miles up the road where we had a bespoke warehouse and remained there until 2008 when we relocated again through expansion to bespoke premises in Taunton, Somerset. We employ local people with a vast knowledge of the different aspects of the trade, to include both printer consumables and stationery, some of our staff have been with us since Choice began and are an important part of the company’s success.

    We provide inkjet cartridges and toners for all home and office printers, alongside an extensive range of stationery items. We supply original branded items from manufacturers like Epson, Canon, Hewlett Packard, Pentel, Bic & Sharpie, along with our own brand of cartridges under the Think range.

    Our Think inkjet cartridges are very popular with our customers due to the savings they offer against the manufacturer’s original product and also the quality of printing they offer through their vivid colours.

    When we started Choice back in 1998 we knew we were entering a competitive market where a lot of other companies existed, already offering similar products and a good service. We continuously strive to match and beat the levels of service available, and feel we are succeeding with our 100%, no quibble guarantees, and our delivery inclusive prices* . We keep all our advertising as simple and accurate as possible.

    We also try to make it as easy as possible for you to place an order, with orders accepted via post, fax, email, over our secure web site or by using one of our freephone lines. Of course, we always endeavour to dispatch your items the same day, via Royal Mail, or for commercial accounts, our own vans and drivers locality permitting.

    One area where we have become market leaders is in the effort we make to ensure the quality of the products is foremost, whilst keeping the retail prices the lowest on the UK mainland.

    The loyalty of our customers, who order from us time and time again, goes to prove that both our pricing and customer service speaks for its self.

    It was these service and pricing efforts, plus our customer’s loyalty, that helped us to receive, for the 5th year running, the honour of the Computer Active Reader's Award for 'Best Specialist Consumable Supplier'.

    Also this year we reached the shortlist, along with Amazon,, & PC World for 'Best Retailer'. These are achievements we admit to constantly shouting about. Why not? We are still excited by them, after all, with a circulation of around 245,000 readers every fortnight and the numbers of you who took the trouble to vote, (for which we thank you), I think we should be proud, enjoy it and work at being the customer's favourite next time too.

  • Are cheap ink cartridges any good?

    Buying cheap printer ink - Are cheap ink cartridges any good?

    If, like 38% of people we surveyed, you only use printer-branded ink because you don’t think the quality with cheap ink won't be good enough, you may want to reconsider.

    More than 85% of people who use third-party ink in their printer told us that the text print quality is good or excellent.

    And more than 60% are equally pleased with colour print quality.

    While it’s true that some cheap ink brands don’t produce great prints, our tests have found that some produce quality comparable to printer-branded ink, while saving up to 80% in ink costs.

  • Refillable printers may spell the end for expensive ink cartridges

    We have put up with this for decades and while ink-cart business practice has never precipitated inner-city riots, there has been oodles of low-level disgruntlement.

    Over the years, printer manufacturers have reduced the amount of ink in each cart while still charging the same price. When competing firms tried to undercut that price, the industry came up with “intelligent” carts and printers that would recognise and reject impostors. Said intelligent carts are also supposed to inform us when the ink has run out, but evidence shows that they’d happily keep printing when “empty” if only the printer permitted them to do so.

    No wonder that companies who refill old carts such as Cartridge Care are doing such great business; aside from injecting ink into the empty carts ourselves using a syringe, it’s the only way to beat the exploitative system.

    Lexmark and Kodak have already quit the home-printer business and now Epson is taking the extraordinary move of selling a new model of inkjet printer at a price that certainly could not be described as “knockdown”: £249. Even more bizarrely, it doesn’t have cartridges; just an ink tank, which Epson has rather generously permitted us to fill with whatever ink we like, not just the £5,046 per gallon stuff that sits on the shelf at PC World.

    This all adds up to a drastic overhaul of printer economics that may leave us in the unusual position of no longer being able to whine about the price of ink. So let’s get ready to whine about the price of printers instead.

    To save money on your printer supplies see with savings of up to 90% on their Think Alternative range compared to the originals on the high street.

  • 16 Interesting Office Stationery Facts You Can File Under Amazing

    It’s estimated that 25% of the UK’s workforce are office workers. Therefore a huge number of us are used to working with office stationery day in, day out. To prove your everyday essentials are more interesting than they may seem, here are 16 facts about office stationery you can file under amazing.

    You would need 477,710 Bic ballpoint pens to draw a straight line to the moon

    According to research conducted by Bic in 2008, each of their ballpoint pens can produce up to two miles of writing. As there are 238,855 miles to the moon from earth, it would require nearly half a million ballpoint pens to draw a straight line to our only natural satellite.

    The pencil has been proven mightier than the pen

    As a counterpoint to Bic’s research, another group decided to find out how long the typical pencil lasts. They concluded that the average lead pencil can draw a continuous line for roughly 35 miles. However, if you wish to prove this yourself, we’d advise taking your best sharpener along with

    Paper clips were used to help fight the Nazis

    During the Second World War, Norwegian resistance fighters attached a single paper clip to their lapel as a subtle indication that they were taking the fight to Hitler’s troops.

    The world’s first rubber was made from stale bread

    Rubbers, as we know them today, were first used around 1770 and were given their name by a man called Joseph Priestly. Yet the first known rubber for removing graphite markings was made out of stale bread. Trust us, this works – so next time you leave a loaf of Hovis in the cupboard for too long, why not give it a try?

    Yellow fluorescent highlighter ink accounts for around 85% of all sales

    Yellow is in the middle spectrum of visible light, and thus works well for people with colour blindness. This is one of the biggest reasons why yellow is the most popular colour of fluorescent highlighter ink.  So, as Chris Martin of Coldplay fame might say, “It’s all yellow”.

    Pen lids cause an average of 100 deaths a year

    We all have work colleagues that spend most of the day incessantly chewing on their pen lids – heck, you might even be one of them. Unfortunately though, this habit has racked up a significant global death toll. To help people breathe, many pen manufacturers introduced a small hole in the lid to help prevent choking.

    The ballpoint pen first gained popularity because it didn’t leak at high altitudes

    Laszlo Biro, a Hungarian journalist, first invented the ballpoint pen in 1938 when he filled his fountain pen with ink from a printing press to avoid leaks because it dried faster. However, success for the ballpoint pen first took off (literally) when the RAF adopted it during World War II because it wouldn’t leak at high altitudes.

    The post-it note wasn’t invented, it was created by accident

    In 1968, Spencer Silver, who was an employee of 3M at the time, was trying to create a super-strong adhesive. Yet despite his best efforts, all he could come up with was a very weak adhesive that could be removed without leaving behind any residue. This accidental discovery was then used to create the world’s first post-it note.

    The production of a modern laser toner cartridge requires 3.5 quarts of crude oil

    Ink cartridges are made of oil, around 3.5 quarts to be precise. A quart is a little more than a litre, which is a big reason why printer ink is so expensive throughout the world.

    Typists’ fingers travel up to an average of 12.6 miles each working day

    This means that, on average, typists’ fingers could do nearly two-and-a-half marathons each and every working week.

    The world’s first printer was invented in 1440

    Okay, officially this refers to the world’s first printing press, which was invented around 1440 by Gutenberg for the Holy Roman Empire. Nonetheless, the same press-type technique is still evident in many of today’s office toner printers, which press ink onto paper from a roller rather than a flat surface.

    The world’s first stapler was created for King Louis XIV

    The first stapler known to man was created for the king of France during the 18th Century. Not only that, but according to records, each staple was inscribed with an insignia of the royal court – which is all very fancy, even by the opulent standards set by France’s royal families.

    In the UK, 45 million ink cartridges are sent to land-fill sites a year

    To help you visualise this fact, that is enough ink cartridges to stretch the length of Hadrian’s Wall (73 miles) 15 times. Or, alternatively, to cover the football pitch at Manchester United’s ground, Old Trafford, 17 times.

    The world’s most expensive pen sold for $8 million

    The Fulgor Nocturnus, manufactured by the famous Florence pen makers Tibaldi, sold for $8million dollars at a Shanghai auction in 2010. Are you asking yourself how? Well, the pen is decorated with 945 black diamonds, 123 rubies and, quite frankly, some people are just crazy.

    If everyone in UK offices saved one staple a day, it would equate to 72 tonnes of metal each year!

    72 tonnes in metal weighs more than two and a bit train carriages, which is a lot of metal.

    The average office worker handles around 10,000 sheets of paper every year

    As you know, most paper is made out of trees.

    This article
    calculates that the average tree is capable of producing around 80,000 sheets of paper, which is enough to sustain around eight office workers every year.

    So there you have it, 16 fascinating facts about stationery. For an extensive range of office stationery and printer ink with
    free next day delivery on thousands of items, check out
    Choice Stationery now


  • How to be more Productive at Work

    1We can all be more productive whether we work at home or in the office. Concentration can be hard at times, especially in a world where there are so many other distractions. However, there are numerous things you can do to ensure that you can remain on task even when there’s a lot happening around you.


    One of the biggest problems when trying to work is answering emails. A lot of us tend to flit in and out of email and this can lead to problems for us in terms of concentration. One of the best ways to stay on task and still answer emails in a reasonable time is to spend five minutes at a set time every hour doing so. This will ensure they are answered and you still get stuff done.


    One of the best timers out there and one that there are plenty of great apps for. Pomodoro is a routine, where you work 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break. This is done in sections of four and then you take a break of twenty minutes. It has a lot of advocates and is well worth considering if you find it hard concentrating.

    For Work

    There are a number of programmes out there now that will block certain distractions such as social media on your phone and prevent you from seeing them when at work. During times when concentration is needed these can be turned on and then turned off when required. It’s a great way to remove distractions and ensure you get plenty done.

    Follow these tips and you can be sure that you enjoy more concentration at work.

  • Why Offices Need to Improve your IT Infrastructure

    Professional businesses understand that there are peak times in business and there are times when the business slopes down. During the down time, many companies utilise their time by implementing new marketing methods. However, in peak seasons the company’s efforts are focused on one goal and that is sales. Did you know that marketing campaigns rely on how your IT performs? During these peak times is critical, especially if your website is a necessary part of your lead generation, in which you should be anticipating a spike to your traffic flow.

    Using substandard services can be both costly and have a negative effect upon your business. An IT new analyst from Computer World UK wrote about how Oddbins ran into IT infrastructure problems during a national campaign that proved to raise challenges they hadn't even considered in contemplating. This was, could their I.T support cope with the marketing interest derived from their multichannel campaign?
    About ODDBINS I.T problems
    Oddbins, which is known for their calibre of high quality wines, is an eCommerce company which they have 45 physical stores with plans to expand to over a hundred by the end of the year. The company relied upon a weak eCommerce infrastructure which when a highly strategical national TV campaign went live resulted in costing the company great financial losses.

    The company was not prepared for the spike in traffic to their website. Therefore, when during this holiday season a particular bottle of wine was offered on television, customers were unable to place their orders due to a “traffic overload”. However, the clients did not understand that there were just too many people trying to access the eCommerce site. Instead the potential customers got a message that there was a problem, complained or resulted in leaving a sour taste in their mouth about the brand and website.
    What is Infrastructure?
    Infrastructure is the actual physical hardware that makes your company work. Ecommerce sites are on the internet, but somewhere there is a computer and software that has to process all the information and relate back to the client. The server which your company uses plays a huge role in the way in which your eCommerce site functions or fails. As seen with Oddbins, an infrastructure that is weak can have several negative effects on a company primarily:
    • A complete crash of your eCommerce site – If your infrastructure is not robust, than when there is an increase in your traffic, the system could overheat and information could be lost. In some cases this could mean that vital information about your site gets lost. If this happens your eCommerce site could crash or (as in the case of Oddbins) your clientele could get an error message.

    • A decrease in the overall reputation of your company - One thing that kills a company quickly is bad publicity. When your eCommerce site cannot cater to your clientele then the mentality which is sure to form in the potential client’s mind is that your company is insecure and unstable. The professionalism is also called into question.

    Oddbin’s Solution
    Upon having the unfortunate happen, Oddbin changed to a more secure infrastructure. Cloud business manager Andrew Flavell from Keytech commented on the Computer World review said: The new infrastructure will be a number of cloud based I.T solutions which may include hosting, load balancing, cloud monitoring. These services offer resilient security and faster performance and an overall, a better way of utilising their I.T.
    What can your eCommerce business learn from Oddbin’s mishap?
    Although Oddbin has switched their IT infrastructure and saved the company from more negative feedback, the damage will take time to recover. Those in eCommerce should take notes of the following lessons to learn from the Oddbin’s mishap:
    • Get an IT service that has a disaster plan – One of the things that we can see is that Oddbin’s framework did not appear to have a disaster plan. The traffic peaked and there was no back up or way to re-route traffic to ensure sales. Because of this, potential customers were not able to place their orders and finances where therefore lost. Examples are the KeyCloud I.T disaster recovery plan.

    • Test your infrastructure to simulate peaks in traffic - One way to ensure that your company’s infrastructure can handle peaks in traffic is to have the capabilities tested. Generally, it is a great idea to have your IT services on the cloud as well as on a physical server. This will ensure that information is not lost and that traffic is not stifled due to peaks.

    • Communicate with your IT service frequently – eCommerce businesses have a tendency of setting up an IT service which manages their infrastructure and then leaving those professionals to do their job without ever contacting them to see how their business is performing. The folly in this is that a business needs to understand how to make the site run smoother and quicker frequently in order to maximize potential sales. I.T should not be kept at arm’s length until a problem arises. Doing so will surely result in negative publicity and an increase in financial losses.
    Get advice about your I.T choices
    Ensure that your company’s infrastructure is secure, stable and that your I.T services are working to their fullest by simulating the peak times of your business. It is one thing to have your business running smoothly during the down or slow season. Test your structure before the peak season so that time can be allocated to areas that will greater enhance your company. In the case of Oddbins, the switch to a new I.T management company has allowed them to have the around the clock support needed for companies who employ tactical marketing campaigns.

  • How to Decide on a Photo Paper Finish

    One of the most important parts of creating great photos that last the test of time is in the paper. Choosing the right sort of printer paper makes a massive difference to the quality of the print.

    The traditional form of matte paper that we use in our printers doesn’t tend to provide the high quality finish that many of us want, or for that matter are used to in our images. Even in a world where an increasing number of our prints are digital, we still need proper paper for printing.

    So, we found a great printer infographic that shows the best way to make the most of the paper you’re printing with – take a look and let us know what you think.

    How To Choose Photographic Paper Finish Infographic

  • Amazing Tech Shown at TED Vancouver

    A 3D printer that’s capable of using light and oxygen has been showcased at the TED conference in Vancouver. The device, which is made by 3DCarbon is a gam changing device that could be used to manufacture cars, parts of planes and even shoes.

    The device, which bears a resemblance to the technique used to create the robot T-1000 in Terminator 2 is an amazingly impressive one with huge potential. Of course, the device has to live up to its potential, but if it does then it’s quite a piece of technology.

    On stage at the show the device made a plastic ball from a piece of resin within 10 minutes – far faster than any current technology possibly could. It would usually take around 10 hours to print the same thing according to Carbon3D chief executive Prof Joseph DeSimone.

    The device uses the technology to produce materials at a rate that’s 25 to 100 times faster than the traditional manner and could be 1000 faster potentially. The device works by applying different levels of light and oxygen to the pool of resin. In turn, this light hardens the resin and the oxygen stops the hardening.

    There are all sorts of uses for technology like this and specialists hope that it can be used for objects such as medical stents, teeth and items of automotive firms and clothing companies. Of course, it will need to show it can work – but if it can then it is a big leap for the technology.

    See it in action here.

  • Improve Employees Out of Office Morale with these 5 Tips

    The world of a travelling employee isn’t easy. Working away from home, travelling and then having to work in strange spaces outside of the usual office one is quite the task. However, there are plenty of things that a business can do to improve employee’s morale and keep them on top of their work – here are some ideas.

    Access to a Car

    Whether it’s a rental car for the period they are there, or alternatively a permit to use the like of Zipcar and others to get around, this is a good idea. Providing workers with something to get around with when in a strange place gives them the freedom to do things and explore and is a good idea.

    Serviced Office

    If they’re there for a while, then provide them with a serviced office with all their needs and wants. This will ensure that they have no problems and have all they need at hand. Additionally, it also gives them a space in a different place that they can call their own and this can help with productivity.

    Serviced Apartment

    Hotels are all well for short periods of time, however if you have workers in a city or place for a period, it’s nicer to have your own space. A serviced apartment can provide this and means that they have all their amenities in one spot – something that can really help improve happiness and contentedness according to . It’s nice to have home comforts when away for a period of time.


    Providing the individual with cutting edge IT services and organisational and managerial tools makes a big difference to the quality and ease of their work. There are numerous tools out there and types of infrastructure that can help an individual to a smoother time when travelling and working. The addition of these and a Wi-Fi hotspot can take a lot of the pressure off a travelling worker.

    Flexibility with Time

    Working away from the office or in a different nation or time zone can pose all sorts of challenges, so a little flexibility with time can make a big difference.

    Follow these tips and you can be sure you make your employee’s life a whole lot easier when working away.


  • HP X551DW Review

    Printers tend to be reactionary to other technologies in a lot of ways. Printer manufacturers tend to add extras to their machines in reply to the changes around them.

    Even the differences and changes of inkjets and laser have remained relevantly stable when the world around it turns and turns. Printers have been the same for a long time and will most likely be for a long time too.

    However, the HP X551DW is a machine that has changed things a little for the better and is a printer that can create rich colour images and great content at a very fast rate – the Holy Grail for printers.

    The device also comes with HP’s Page Wide technology, which sees the inkjet move around the piece of paper rather than the traditional mechanism. The printhead in these devices is much wider which allows it to cover the whole page uniformly instead of moving and adding ink one row at a time. This means that you can produce inkjet quality at under a page a second in a draft mode – quite impressive.

    The device is also able to produce imagery clearly and quickly and text comes out uniformly and crisply and on par with the quality you would expect from the best printers.

    Installation is easy and the device feels sturdy. It’s not tiny at 51cm by 39cm by 41cm, however it’s still small enough for a small office. The HP also comes with a 4.3inch touch screen and this is responsive to use and also comes with an array built in apps. There’s also connectivity to a variety of sources for printing.

    The only chink in its armour is the fact it doesn’t have a memory card slot. Other than that it’s a very good printer that is quite the evolution.

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