Suresh Shah, founder of Sapna Book House in Bengaluru, dead at 84

Suresh C Shah, the founder of Sapna Book House, one of the largest book chains in the country, died on Tuesday in Bengaluru after testing positive for the coronavirus. The 84-year-old had been diagnosed with Covid-19 on 24 April and had been hospitalised since 1 May. He developed cardiac issues and passed away on Tuesday.

26 May 2021 | By PrintWeek Team

Suresh Shah

In 1967, Suresh opened the first Sapna Book House in a rented store in Bengaluru’s Gandhinagar after working at a pocket book distribution company.

Originally from Mumbai, Suresh had worked as a porter at Dadar railway station in the city. He later found work at Pocket Book Distributing Company in Mumbai, beginning in sales and later, moving to manager, and finally heading a new branch in Chennai.

He moved to Bengaluru at 27 in 1965 and two years later, opened his first shop at a tiny location in the city.

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

Suresh was not only known for his dedication to the book business but also for championing Kannada authors and literature. Sapna locations feature a wide range of books by Kannada authors and its self-publishing unit focuses on Kannada works as well. The bookshop frequently marked Karnataka Rajyotsava Day, and in 2011, released 55 books in Kannada as part of the 55th year celebrations of Karnataka Rajyotsava Day.

“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 reportedly once said.

The chain is now run by Suresh’s descendants, including his grandson Nijesh Shah. It heavily focuses on selling educational textbooks for students. 

(Courtesy: Agencies)

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