Q: I'm way too busy to go out shopping for printer paper, diskettes and other computer supplies. Isn't there a better way?
A: There may be, indeed, and it's as close as your computer. Just get on the Web, and you'll find numerous sites for buying computer supplies. Check Web directories like Snap (http://www.snap.com) and Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com). You'll find many local and regional retailers, as well as national chains and specialty dealers, selling everything from diskettes and paper to toner cartridges for laser printers.
The three biggest chains doing business online are Office Max (http://www.officemax.com), Office Depot (http://www.officedepot.com) and Staples (http://www.staples.com). Each has an extensive online catalog and delivers product orders of $50 or more for free.
As convenient as Web shopping may be, it still pays to shop around. When we looked, a box of 10 PC-formatted Iomega-brand Zip disks ranged from $97.90 to $149.95. The lowest prices for the widest range of supplies--and all kinds of computer gear, too--may be found at New York's J&R Computer World (http://www.jandr.com). Meanwhile, check out BizRate (http://www.bizrate.com) for loads of useful information about the quality and reliability of specific Web merchants.
AlphaBlox, (888) BLOX-NOW, http://www.alphablox.com
Forrester Research Inc., http://www.forrester.com
SAC Technologies Inc., (702) 798-9777, http://www.sacman.com
Soundstone.com, (617) 576-9306, http://www.soundstone.com