I don't know why this took so long to write, maybe because it took so long to really and truly kick in.
It isn't a secret, by now; to any fan of horror literature that Dorchester Publishing's horror line (Leisure Horror) has fallen on hard times. They have pulled out of the mass market business and plan on only releasing trade paperbacks and e-books. I certainly won't knock either approach, especially since printed words are destined to be a very niche market as ereaders proliferate and cheapen but it still makes me incredibly sad to see.
You see, dear friends and neighbors, Leisure was my introduction into the horror that I truly adore now. Without their covers leering at me during eight hour mindless slogs in a Kroger photo lab, I never would have discovered the likes of Tom Piccirilli, Gerard Houarner, Jack Ketchum, Charlee Jacob, Gary Braunbeck, Dick Laymon, etc. etc. If I had never discovered them, then I would not have been pulled into the dark tunnels of the independent horror publishers in search of more of their stuff. This, in turn would have deprived me of the huge, ghastly and gorgeous surprises that have lit up my life over the years. I never would have known there was such a thing as the Hardcore movement or met a lively dead cat with a penchant for unvirtuous living. My library would suck!
This loss means a lot to many writers who would never have had the opportunities they currently possess, but it means as much to me as a fan. This is a loss to the art itself, a loss to the horror community. Without a mass market publisher willing to take the risks Leisure took, I am afraid that the chances others have of accidentally tripping over something amazing that lies just over the boundary of easy profit will be practically nil.
I'll be okay. I get free books from amazing writers and publishers all the time just because I talk too much about them. I'll also continue to follow the Leisure line, as their editors have shown remarkable taste. All the same, a glorious time that means more to me than I can adequately convey is over.