Standard black ball-point pens are available on Amazon.com for 7 cents per pen or Staples.com for 10 cents per pen, as of December 2015. Pens can also be purchased at a discount from brick-and-mortar liquidation stores, dollar stores and office supply stores, or from bulk retailers such as Costco and Walmart. Major pen manufacturers such as Pilot, uni-ball, Sharpie and Bic occasionally offer coupons but do not sell pens directly.
In addition to standard retail, large volumes of pens can be ordered wholesale. As of 2015, sellers on Amazon marketplace offer bulk quantities of 1,000 pens of varying styles for 5 cents per pen. Sellers on Alibaba occasionally offer pens at prices below 5 cents per pen from China for orders of more than 1,000 pens. Due to cost, discount Internet sellers and bulk retailers have become more popular than traditional office supply stores for business purchases.
For office use, standard black ball-point or roller-ball pens are considered to be conservative cost effective options. Ball-point pens are the least expensive and do not smudge on paper, while roller-ball pens are easier to use because they require less pressure. Every employee in an office should have at least five pens or pencils.
Individuals looking for free promotional pens can find them at local banks, real estate offices, universities and doctors' offices. Another procurement method is to mail the human-resource departments of large pen manufacturers.