Leisure Books

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Leisure Books
Parent companyDorchester Publishing (c. 1982–2010)
StatusDefunct (September 2010)
FounderHarry Shorten
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City
Key peopleJean Marie Stine (book acquisitions & development editor)
Don D'Auria[1][2] (Executive Editor, 1995–2010)
Publication typesBooks
Fiction genresHorror, Thriller, Westerns

Leisure Books was a mass market paperback publisher specializing in horror and thrillers that operated from 1957 to 2010. In the company's early years, it also published fantasy, science fiction, Westerns, and the Wildlife Treasury card series.

Leisure Books offered a book sales club service. Typically two free books were provided as an initial inducement. After that two books were sent on a monthly basis. Readers would have ten days to keep or return. If kept there would be a discount on the purchase price.

From around 1982 onward, Leisure Books was an imprint of Dorchester Publishing, shifting the company's focus away from fantasy and science fiction and more towards horror. As such, Leisure published novels and collections by a number of horror's notable authors, including Douglas Clegg, Stacy Dittrich, Ray Garton, J. F. Gonzalez, Brian Keene, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, Deborah LeBlanc, Edward Lee, Ronald Malfi, Graham Masterton, T. V. Olsen, and Sarah Pinborough.

Leisure horror titles won numerous awards, including the Bram Stoker Award[3] and the International Horror Guild Award.[4] In addition, a Leisure title was given the 2002 World Fantasy Award.[5]


Harry Shorten founded Leisure Books in 1957.[6]

Leisure's Westerns line notably featured re-issues of the work of Max Brand, among others. The company published six titles in Nelson DeMille (as Jack Cannon)'s Joe Ryker Series in 1975–1976.

Leisure Books published the Wildlife Treasury educational animal encyclopedia for young children between 1975 and 1981.

Beginning in 1976, Leisure Books published Gardner Fox's fantasy series featuring the barbarian Kyrik: Warlock Warrior, Kyrik Fights the Demon World, Kyrik and the Wizard's Sword, and Kyrik and the Lost Queen.[7]

Founder Shorten retired in 1982 and the company was acquired by Dorchester Publishing.[citation needed]

By the year 2000, Leisure Books was the only American publisher with a line of horror books.[1]

Effective September 2010, Leisure Books, along with the remainder of Dorchester's mass market paperback lines, were canceled as print publications. Future titles were slated to be available only as e-books.[8] After pushback from authors over cancelled and unfulfilled contracts,[9][10] Leisure suspended operations entirely; the parent company Dorchester shortly went out of business.

Selected list of titles by author[edit]


  • R. V. Fodor and G. J.Taylor, :
    • Impact! (1979) ISBN 0-8439-0648-0
  • Gardner Fox:
    • Kyrik Series:
      • Kyrik: Warlock Warrior (1975)
      • Kyrik Fights the Demon World (1975)
      • Kyrik and the Wizard's Sword (1976)
      • Kyrik and the Lost Queen (1976)
  • Lloyd Kropp:
    • The Drift (Doubleday, 1969; mass market paperback reprints in 1971 [Belmont Books] and 1979 [Leisure Books])


  • Douglas Clegg:
    • The Halloween Man (1998)
    • The Nightmare Chronicles (1999)
    • You Come When I Call You (2000)
    • Mischief (2000)
    • The Infinite (2001) — sequel to The Nightmare House (which was published by Cemetery Dance)
    • Naomi (2001)
  • John Everson:
    • Covenant (Delirium Books, 2004; Leisure Books, 2008)
    • Sacrifice (Delirium Books, 2007; Leisure Books, 2009)
    • The 13th (Necro Publications, 2009; Leisure Books, 2009)
    • Siren (Bad Moon Books, 2010; Leisure Books, 2010)
  • Brian James Freeman:
    • (as James Kidman) Black Fire (Cemetery Dance Publications, hardcover, and Leisure Books, paperback 2004)
  • Nate Kenyon:
    • Bloodstone (Five Star Publishing, 2006; Leisure Books, 2008)
    • The Reach (2008)
    • The Bone Factory (July 2009)
    • Sparrow Rock (May 2010)
  • Deborah LeBlanc:
    • Family Inheritance (2004)
    • Grave Intent (2005)
    • A House Divided (2006)
    • Morbid Curiosity (2007)
    • Water Witch (2008)
  • Edward Lee:
    • Infernal Angel (2003): Cemetery Dance Publications. Published as a 26-copy leather-bound hardcover and 750-copy limited hardcover. (January 2004): Leisure Books. Published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • Messenger (August 2004): Leisure Books. Published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • The Backwoods (October 2005): Leisure Books. Published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • Flesh Gothic (February 2005): Leisure Books. Published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • Gast (2007) (October 2009): Leisure Books. Revised, retitled Black Train, and published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • House Infernal (October 2007): Leisure Books. Published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • Brides of the Impaler (September 2008): Leisure Books. Published as a Mass Market Paperback.
    • Golemesque (March 2009): Necro Publications. Published as a 26-copy leather-bound hardcover and 300-copy limited hardcover. (April 2009): Leisure Books. Published as Golem as a Mass Market Paperback.
  • Al Sarrantonio:
    • The Orangefield Cycle
      • Halloweenland (Leisure Books Mass Market Paperback 2007; Cemetery Dance limited edition hardcover, 2009; Crossroad Press e-book, 2012) - A novel length book that includes elements of The Baby and much more new material (the Leisure paperback also includes the original version of The Baby as a bonus).
  • John Skipp:
    • The Long Last Call (2006, Cemetery Dance Publications; Limited edition hardcover / Leisure Books, 2007; paperback)
  • T. M. Wright:
    • Sleepeasy (Victor Gollancz 1993, Leisure, 2001)


  1. ^ a b Shindler, Dorman T. (July 31, 2000). "Small Presses Stand Out at Horror Confab". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  2. ^ St. John, Warren (March 26, 2006). "Market for Zombies? It's Undead (Aaahhh!)". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Horror.org Archived April 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "International Horror Guild". Horroraward.org. Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  5. ^ "2002 World Fantasy Award : Winners and Nominees". Worldfantasy.org. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
  6. ^ Shorten entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928-1999. Accessed Feb. 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "Kyric series By Gardner Fox". GoodReads. Retrieved 2014-06-11.
  8. ^ Dorchesterpub.com Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Boog, Jason (March 25, 2011), Dorchester Publishing Boycott Launched, GalleyCat, archived from the original on January 11, 2015, retrieved December 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Milliot, Jim (March 29, 2011), "Dorchester Promises to Do Right by Authors", Publishers Weekly.