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Updated: July 14, 2013 08:13 IST

Publisher Padmanabhan who founded Westland passes away at 77

Staff Reporter
Comment (3)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
K.S. Padmanabhan
The Hindu K.S. Padmanabhan

Veteran publisher and distributor K.S. Padmanabhan, who was the founding father of Westland, passed away on Saturday morning after a prolonged illness. He was 77.

In a career spanning over five decades, he has also been an active force in bringing together booklovers in the city through the Madras Book Club. His first job was at the International Book Shop in Bombay. He quit the job to be by the side of his father, who had suffered a heart attack, in Calcutta.

There he took up a job at an automobile company, but 18 months later moved to Delhi, where he set up the Affiliated East West Press, the Indian arm of scientific textbooks D Van Nostrand.

In the mid-seventies, he moved to Madras, diversified into distribution of general books, and started publishing literary works under the title ‘Manas’ whose titles included the first translations of writer Paul Zacharia and Mahesh Dattani’s first collection of plays. He also started the Madras Book Club, which continues to promote literature by hosting book launches and reading sessions.

With chronicler S. Muthiah as editor, he started the Indian Review of Books in 1991. It was Mr. Padmanabhan, whose Affiliated East West Press had first published Mr. Muthiah’s ‘Madras Discovered’ (subsequently reissued as ‘Madras Rediscovered’) in 1981. In the mid-nineties, Mr. Padmanabhan set up his own company, East West Books (Madras), and got into a 50-50 partnership with Landmark, the chain of bookstores, to form a new distribution company, Westland.

Westland, which went on to become a prestigious publishing house, was taken over by the Tata group in 2008. Even though Mr. Padmanabhan retired in 2011 at the age of 75, he stayed connected to the world of publishing and the Madras Book Club.

He is survived by his wife Chandra, son Gautam (who is the CEO of Westland), daughter-in-law and his grandson.

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This is indeed a major setback to the Indian publishing industry. Mr Padmanabhan was a gentleman, a book lover and a decisive publisher... As a writer, I owe a lot to him.
May his soul rest in peace.

from:  Eshwar
Posted on: Jul 16, 2013 at 23:36 IST

Sri K S Padmanabhan was a respectable publisher who had an abiding interest in making good books available at reasonable rates to the reading public. The Indian Review of Books for which I had the honour of reviewing a number of books on a host of subjects was one of its kind with excellent reviews by writers all over the country. The publishing industry has lost a stalwart in the demise of Sri Padmanabhan.

from:  C V Aravind
Posted on: Jul 15, 2013 at 05:58 IST

Respectful farewell to K.S. Padmanabhan.

from:  Dr.Cajetan Coelho
Posted on: Jul 14, 2013 at 11:00 IST
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