Suresh C. Shah, 84, founder of Sapna Book House, the largest bookstore chain in Karnataka, succumbed to COVID-19 in Bengaluru on Tuesday afternoon.
He was diagnosed with the infection on April 24 and had been hospitalised since May 1. He developed cardiac issues and passed away on Tuesday, said Nijesh Shah, Group President, Sapna and also the grandson of Suresh Shah.
Suresh Shah, the son of a cotton broker from Mumbai, hailed from Dhoraji, Gujarat. He started his career as a railway coolie while he was still in high school and went on to head the Bombay Coolie Association. He discontinued studies and joined a distribution company, which deputed him to Bengaluru to open a branch in the early 1960s. He quit his job and started Sapna Book House in a small rented shop in Majestic in 1967, which later grew to become one of the largest book stores in Asia.
Suresh Shah also started publishing in Kannada and is counted as one of the leading publishers of books in the language.
“Though he is not from Karnataka, his contribution to Kannada is immense. He was the first to publish omnibus editions of complete works of Shivaram Karanth, Nisar Ahmed and others,” said Kum. Veerabhadrappa, a noted writer whose works have consistently been published by Sapna.
Sapna has expanded into English publishing, e-commerce and has 16 book malls across Karnataka.