After the publication of my article on Micron, I expected it to gain a little bit of traction, but to see that I have had nearly 80 hits in less than 24 hours has really made me smile. Perhaps I am not just shouting into the ether after all.
Now I have had some really interesting feedback from a few people and it has also led me to a really good article by Steve Holland about the Paul Temple library which turns out to be yet another Micron Publication.
It appears that this is a bit of a rarity in Picture Library circles and it has to be as I had not heard of it until yesterday morning and I am in my 40s! Copies are very few and far between, but one of my friends is fortunate enough to have a copy and gave me this picture to use. And once again, we can see another mention of Mitcham but this time, we know that this is definitely from 1964 as this was when the Paul Temple libraries were published. And yet again, we see another company mentioned in relation to Micron Publications. This time, it is the printers Love and Malcomson from Redhill Surrey which I had overlooked in my first article as it is clear from the picture of the last page of the Combat Picture Library in the first article (Love and Malcomson are another printer that are no longer with us as they were dissolved in 1993).
But in this article I am going to look at a different aspect of Micron and that is how their price differed in comparison to one of their competitors. Commando managed from 1961 until 1971 before changing their price from 1/- (or 5 pence new money) to 6 pence.
However, Micron had already increased the price of their picture libraries by March 1963 to 1/3. To us youngsters, it does not sound a lot, but for the kids of the 1960s, this was a 25% cover increase. However, this increase did not last long, but for the rest of the 1960s, the price would vary from 1/- to 1/6 which was decidedly expensive.
On conversion to decimalisation, the price immediately went to 6 pence, a full year before Commando increased their price to that level. And the price for Combat Picture Library was increased as follows:
Issue 653 7 pence
Issue 702 8 pence
Issue 747 10 pence (circa 1975. I know this as I have issue 748. Commando only went up to 7 pence in this year)
Issue 806 12 pence
Issue 918 15 pence
Issue 1083 18 pence
Issue 1109 25 pence
Issue 1179 28 pence (until Combat Picture Library folded at issue 1212 in 1985.)
In 1985, Commando was increased from 22 pence to 24 pence and would take another two years to get to the price of 28 pence.
My problem with researching this has been that my own collection of Micron issues is so limited, so I have been reliant on the cover gallery over at the Grand Comics Database which has allowed me to see when most of the price increases has taken place for the issues. And I have been relying on the work of my esteemed colleague Jeremy Briggs for his work in cataloguing the price changes for Commando on Bear Alley.
So it appears that while Micron had a very generous margin in the early days as their products were significantly more expensive in the 1960s and 1970s. But as inflation bit in the 1970s and 1980s, it appears that no price increase could keep ahead of the rising cost of publishing a picture library.