Today, I learned that people still buy brand new dot matrix printers. You know, those extremely noisy printers I thought we ditched as soon as it was possible to do so. Well, except for the nutcases who turn them into "musical instruments" and start a YouTube channel:
But, no, sales of brand new(!) dot matrix printers are apparently still, relatively-speaking, alive and well:
Dot matrix printers on Newegg
After doing some research, it turns out that, for bulk printing where output quality and "professional" appearance doesn't matter at all, dot matrix printers can be anywhere from 4 to 8 times cheaper than laser printers per printed page (the next cheapest technology) when amortized over the cost of maintenance of the lifetime of each type of printer. With dot matrix, you're not going to get the speed, accuracy, or the quietness of laser, but you'll supposedly save a boatload of money on toner.
Maybe one day we will get a printer that combines the best of all printing technologies in one compact, affordable device: Dot matrix, laser, inkjet, 3D, and a bunch of other print heads. Ideally a single device that won't care about and automatically adapt to the type of material being printed on, including bulky and strange shapes. And also doesn't fall apart after two months of use and doesn't cost an arm and a leg to maintain (inkjet printers - I'm looking at you). Basically, I'm asking for a StarTrek replicator.
I don't ask for much.