USB IEEE 1284 Centronics Cables are readily available for personal computers.
The best cables will support the bidirectional signalling but low cost cables are useable for less sophisticated printers. Generally birectional cables will be more expensive but they are worth the added expense with higher-end printers.
USB bidirectional printer cables generally work at 12 megabit speeds. This is fast enough for most printers that use parallel ports. Even old high-speed dot matrix printers do not need that much bandwidth.High speed laser printers are also handled easily. Printers generally all have buffers so that printing can be controlled carefully.
USB cab support longer cable lengths which is helpful if the printer table is a few feet from the work area. Old printer cables are heavy and harder to place compared to the thin USB cable.
Many Laser printers and even inkjet printers are still working when USB became available. By changing the cable to USB allows for backwards compatibility when a new machine is purchased. USB grew quickly when the new conversion cables became available.
Some lower cost laptop machines do not have serial or parallel ports so USB conversion cables are ideal for those type of situations. A USB hub can allow several printers to be used together in a print shop.