A porter who revolutionised the publishing passes away! – Suresh Shaw the founder of Sapna Book House

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Suresh C Shah, the founder of Sapna Book House, a large, Bengaluru based book chain, died on Tuesday, 25 May. The 84-year-old was diagnosed with COVID-19 on 24 April and had been hospitalised since 1 May.

He developed cardiac issues and passed away on Tuesday, his grandson and Sapna group president Nijesh Shah told The Hindu.

Building a Brand from Scratch

In 1967, Suresh Shah opened the first Sapna Book House in a rented store in Bengaluru’s Gandhinagar after working at a pocketbook distribution company. Originally from Mumbai, Suresh had started his career as a railway luggage carrier while he was still in high school. He went on to head the Bombay Coolie Association.

He then discontinued his studies and found work at PocketBook Distributing Company in Mumbai. He began his work in sales department and finally moved to become the manager of the company. Shah later headed a new branch of the company in Chennai.

Firmly grounded in the book business, he decided to venture out on his own after he had his stint as a manager. He moved to Bengaluru in 1965, at 27-years-of-age. Two years later, he opened his first shop Sapna Book House, which later became one of the largest book stores in Asia.

The Book House Legacy

“Sapna is today a brand name that is synonymous with books. It is the only place in India where you can find over one lakh titles on a variety of topics under one roof,” Suresh once said.

Sapna Book House now has showrooms across Karnataka as well as in Tamil Nadu. The 40,000 sq ft showroom in Gandhinagar once held the distinction of being the largest bookshop in India, according to the Limca Book of Records.

Suresh is also known for championing Kannada authors and literature. Sapna stores feature a wide range of books by Kannada authors and the self-publishing unit of the book house focuses on Kannada works as well.

The chain is now run by Suresh’s descendants, including his grandson Nijesh Shah.

Condolences Pour In

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and many of his cabinet colleagues including Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani condoled Shah’s death.

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