Sonny Mehta, venerable publisher known for spotting great books, dies at 77

He published the work of nine Nobel literature laureates, including Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Remains of the Day' (1989), and of winners of Pulitzer and Booker prizes and National Book Awards

Robert D. McFadden | NYT
Sonny Mehta

Sonny Mehta | Photo: Screengrab from a Youtube video published by Amazon Books

Sonny Mehta, the literary savant who guided the reading hours of millions of people and the fortunes of the venerable publisher Alfred A. Knopf for 32 years at a time of changing tastes, aggressive merchandising and demands for profits, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 77.
The cause was complications of pneumonia, a Knopf spokesman said.
In an age of blockbuster best sellers by presidents and prime ministers, of sometimes surreal and shocking literary breakthroughs,  and of cutthroat competition in a shrinking industry, Mr. Mehta was an almost ideal editor and publishing executive: a voracious reader and instinctive decision maker who could spot great books and, coming from a paperback world, had no qualms about aggressively marketing them.

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Topics : Publishers

First Published: Jan 01 2020 | 10:52 AM IST

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