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Byron Preiss

Byron C. Preiss
Born (1953-04-11)April 11, 1953
Brooklyn, New York City
Died July 9, 2005(2005-07-09) (aged 52)
East Hampton, New York
Occupation Author, editor, publisher
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University
Genre Fantasy, illustrated novels, audiobooks, digital publishing
Notable works The Words of Gandhi
Spouse Sandi Mendelson

Byron Preiss (April 11, 1953 – July 9, 2005)[1] was an American writer, editor, and publisher. He founded and served as president of Byron Preiss Visual Publications, and later of ibooks Inc.


Early life and career

A native of Brooklyn, New York City, Byron Preiss graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972,[2] and earned a master's degree in communications from Stanford University.[2]

In 1971, while Preiss was teaching at a Philadelphia elementary school, he conceived and with Jim Steranko produced an anti-drug comic book, The Block, designed for low-level reading skills. Published by Steranko's company, Supergraphics, it was distributed to schools nationwide.[3]

He founded Byron Preiss Visual Publications in 1974[citation needed] to publish original works, including Weird Heroes (1975). His 1976 Fiction Illustrated series of illustrated novels began with Schlomo Raven: Public Detective, a Preiss collaboration with Tom Sutton, followed by Starfawn, illustrated by Stephen Fabian, Steranko's Chandler: Red Tide and the 1977 Son of Sherlock Holmes, illustrated by Ralph Reese. Other publications included a 1978 adaptation of Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination as a two-volume graphic novel, illustrated by Howard Chaykin.

Publishing career

As a book packager, he developed titles for such publishers as HarperCollins and Random House. One such project, created in conjunction with the Bank Street College of Education, resulted in a series of educational comic books adapting well-known genre authors: The Bank Street Book of Creepy Tales, The Bank Street Book of Fantasy, The Bank Street Book of Mystery and The Bank Street Book of Science Fiction.[4]

He published children's books by celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Jane Goodall, Jay Leno, LeAnn Rimes and Jerry Seinfeld, and worked closely with such established illustrators as Ralph Reese, William Stout and Tom Sutton.[citation needed]

Preiss was co-author, with Michael Reaves, of the children's novel Dragonworld (Doubleday, 1979), with 80 illustrations by Joseph Zucker. Dragonworld was originally planned to be the fifth "Fiction Illustrated" title.[citation needed]

Beyond traditional printed books, Preiss frequently embraced emerging technologies, and was among the first[citation needed] to publish in such electronic forms as CD-ROM books and ebooks. The Words of Gandhi, an audiobook he produced, won a Grammy Award in 1985.[citation needed]

Both Byron Preiss Visual Publications and ibooks Inc. filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on February 22, 2006, after his death.[5]

Later life and death

Preiss was married to Sandi Mendelson, with whom he had daughters Karah and Blaire.[6] On July 9, 2005, he died in a traffic accident at East Hampton, New York, on Long Island, while driving to his synagogue.[2]

List of Byron Preiss publications

Published by Preiss, or packaged by Preiss for other publishers

Vol. 1 (ISBN 0-515-03746-X) to Vol. 8 (ISBN 0-515-04257-9); collections of illustrated, pulp-inspired stories


This illustrated children's novel by Byron Preiss and Michael Reaves was published in several editions from 1979 to 2005:


  1. ^ Byron Preiss at the Social Security Death Index via Retrieved on May 20, 2014. Archvied from the original on May 20, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Byron Preiss, 52, Digital Publishing Pioneer, Dies". The New York Times. July 11, 2005. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ Steranko, Jim (July 10, 2005). "Comics Loses One of its Major Visionaries: Byron Preiss". Archived from the original on June 5, 2008.  Additional Webcitation archive, June 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Babylon Gardens to Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon". The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 1984–1998. Archived from the original on May 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  5. ^ "ibooks & Byron Preiss Visual Publications File Chapter 7; Creditors Confab Set for Apr. 4". February 24, 2006. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Preiss Was Influential Publishing Figure". Publishers Weekly. July 11, 2005. Archived from the original on January 5, 2006. 

External links

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