July 15-31, 2005 Edition

Auto Accident

Claims Publisher

Byron Preiss at 52

NEW YORK, NY/07/11/05—Byron C. Preiss, president of Byron Preiss Visual Publications and iBooks, died in an automobile accident Saturday as he drove to his synagogue in Long Island, New York. He was 52.

Known as a visionary of popular culture and a trailblazer in digital media, the Brooklyn native was involved in a number of leading-edge publishing ventures from comic books, to ebooks and electronic games. As a book packager, he produced numerous fiction and nonfiction titles for publishers such as HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Random House, Penguin Putnam and others. He was also one of the first publishers to release digital books. Recent projects include graphic-novel versions of children’s classics such as The Black Stallion and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Preiss graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972, and earned a master’s degree in communications from Stanford. He was a writer for National Lampoon, co-author of the novel Dragonworld. He produced the Grammy Award–winning audio book The Words of Gandhi and also conceived and developed the 1982 armchair treasure-hunt book The Secret, in which readers were challenged to locate 12 secret treasures buried around the U.S.

Funeral services for Preiss were held on July 12 at Sutton Place Synagogue in New York. Preiss is survived by his wife Sandi Mendelson, a partner in the literary public-relations firm Hilsinger-Mendelson, and two daughters, Karah and Blaire. The family requests that donations in his honor be made to the United Jewish Federation of New York.