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Byron Preiss

Byron Preiss (1953, Brooklyn, New York CityJuly 9, 2005, East Hampton, New York) was an American writer, editor and publisher. He founded and served as president of Byron Preiss Visual Publications, and later of iBooks.


Preiss graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972, and earned a master's degree in communications from Stanford Film School.

He founded Byron Preiss Visual Publications in 1974 to publish original works, including the "Fiction Illustrated" series of illustrated novels such as Jim Steranko's Chandler: Red Tide, in 1976 and 1977. Other publications included a 1978 adaptation of Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination as a two-volume graphic novel, illustrated by Howard Chaykin, in 1978. As a packager, he developed titles for such publishers as HarperCollins and Random House. He also published children's books by celebrities, including Billy Crystal, Jane Goodall, Jay Leno, LeAnn Rimes, and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as by William Stout and other such established names in that field.

Even before this, in 1971, while Preiss was teaching at a Philadelphia elementary school, he conceived and with 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.

Preiss was co-author, with Michael Reaves, of the children's novel Dragonworld (Doubleday, 1979; see below for many subsequent editions), with 80 illustrations by Joseph Zucker. (Dragonworld was originally planned to be the fifth "Fiction Illustrated" work)

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

Preiss, who lived in Manhattan with his wife Sandi Mendelson and their daughters Karah and Blaire died in a car accident while driving to his synagogue in Long Island, New York.

Both Byron Preiss Visual Publications and iBooks filled for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on February 22, 2006.


Jim Steranko: "For more than three decades, he spearheaded a multiplicity of mediaforms, from comics and ebooks to electronic games and CD-ROMs, that fused words and images like few other individuals would achieve in the entertainment arts. As an author, he generated dozens of books, from hard science and history volumes to profusely illustrated children's literature. As a packager, he produced a stream of quality fiction and nonfiction titles for almost every primary publishing house.... Preiss was a subtle, yet seminal force in contemporary popular culture and specifically in the evolution of narrative illustration".

List of Byron Preiss publications

Published by Preiss, or packaged by Preiss for other publishers

  • The Electric Company Joke Book (1973) ISBN 0-307-64824-9
  • The Silent e's from Outer Space (Western Pub., 1973; Goldencraft, 1974 ISBN 0-307-64821-4)
  • One Year Affair (1976) ISBN 0-911104-86-0
  • Weird Heroes (Pyramid Books, 1975-77)

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

  • Fiction Illustrated #1 — Schlomo Raven: Public Detective ((Pyramid Books, 1976; by Preiss and Tom Sutton)
  • Fiction Illustrated #2 — Starfawn (Pyramid Books, 1976; by Preiss and Stephen Fabian)
  • Fiction Illustrated #3 — Chandler: Red Tide (Pyramid Books, 1976 ISBN 0-515-04241-2; Dark Horse, 2001 ISBN 1-56971-438-X)
  • Fiction Illustrated #4 — Son of Sherlock Holmes (Pyramid Books, 1977; by Preiss and Ralph Reese)
  • The Beach Boys (1979; revised ed. 1983 ISBN 0-312-07026-8)
  • The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon (1981) ISBN 0-345-28449-6
  • The Dinosaurs (1981; revised 2000 as The New Dinosaurs)
  • The Secret (1982) ISBN 0-553-01408-0 - illustrated by John Jude Palencar
  • The First Crazy Word Book: Verbs (1982) ISBN 0-531-04500-5
  • The Little Blue Brontosaurus (1983) ISBN 0-89845-165-5
  • Not the Webster's Dictionary (1983) ISBN 0-671-47418-9
  • The Bat Family (1984) ISBN 0-89845-237-6
  • Time Machine 1 — Secret of the Knights (Bantam Books, 1984; by Jim Gasperini, illustrated by Richard Hescox) ISBN 0-553-23601-6
  • Nuts! (1985) ISBN 0-553-24725-5
  • The Planets (1985) ISBN 0-553-05109-1
  • The Universe (1987) ISBN 0-553-05227-6
  • Time Machine 19 — The Death Mask of Pancho Villa (Bantam Books, 1987; by Carol Gaskin and George Guthridge, illustrated by Kenneth Huey, cover by Jim Steranko) ISBN 0-553-26674-8
  • Dragonsword, 1st edition (1988) ISBN 1-558-02003-9
  • The Microverse (1989) ISBN 0-553-05705-7
  • First Contact: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (1990) ISBN 0-7472-3508-2
  • The Ultimate Dracula (1991) ISBN 0-7472-0552-3
  • The Ultimate Frankenstein (1991) ISBN 0-440-50352-3
  • The Ultimate Werewolf (1991 reissue ISBN 0-440-50354-X)
  • The Ultimate Dinosaur: Past, Present, and Future (1992) ISBN 0-553-07676-0
  • The Vampire State Building (1992) ISBN 0-553-15998-4
  • The Ultimate Zombie (1993) ISBN 0-440-50534-8
  • The Ultimate Witch (1993) ISBN 0-440-50531-3
  • The Ultimate Dragon (1995) ISBN 0-440-50630-1
  • The Ultimate Alien (1995) ISBN 0-440-50631-X
  • The Best Children's Books in the World (1996) ISBN 0-8109-1246-5
  • ''The Rhino History of Rock 'n' Roll: The '70s (1997) ISBN 0-671-01175-8
  • Are We Alone in the Cosmos? The Search for Alien Contact in the New Millennium (1999) ISBN 0-671-03892-3
  • The New Dinosaurs (2000) ISBN 0-7434-0724-5
  • Dying Inside (2002) ISBN 0-7434-3508-7
  • The Ultimate Dragon (2003) ISBN 0-7434-5868-0
  • The Best Bizarre But True Stories Ever! (2003) ISBN 0-7434-4557-3
  • Exploring The Matrix: Visions of the Cyber Present (2004) ISBN 0-312-31359-4
  • Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe (2005) ISBN 1-59687-847-9
  • Year's Best Graphic Novels, Comics & Manga (2005) ISBN 0-312-34326-4


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

  • Doubleday hardcover, 1979
  • Bantam / Dell paperback, 1979) ISBN 0-553-01077-8
  • Spectra paperback (July 1983) ISBN 0-553-25857-5
  • Bantam / Dell paperback (Aug. 1983) ISBN 0-553-23426-9
  • iBooks, Inc. paperback (2000) ISBN 0-671-03907-5
  • iBooks, Inc. ebook (Microsoft Reader; 2001)
  • iBooks, Inc. paperback (2002) ISBN 0-7434-5253-4
  • iBooks, Inc. paperback (2005) ISBN 1-59687-233-0



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